Now what at quarterback?

Hawaii’s defense did a very credible job and didn’t wear down at altitude in the 21-12 loss at Colorado today — in fact, it got better after intermission and shut out the Buffaloes following the break. It was the UH offense’s failure to get the ball into the end zone that cost it the game.

That much is obvious … but what does coach Norm Chow do now at quarterback?

Starter Ikaika Woolsey has turned in three consecutive underwhelming performances.

No. 2 Jeremy Higgins may have a broken hand.

Before today, No. 3 and former starter Taylor Graham hadn’t played since throwing one incomplete pass against San Diego State last November.

Receivers have dropped too many passes and there’s a lack of speed at the skill positions. But UH’s most glaring weakness after four games is at quarterback.

For the most part, the defense and special teams have done their part to give UH the ball in good field position, and 46 of Hawaii’s 85 points have come after opponents turnovers.

Hawaii has scored just six touchdowns in 17 trips to the red zone.

The 1-3 Rainbow Warriors now have a bye before a road game at Rice and then the start of Mountain West Conference play the following week. Again, the burning question: What should UH do at quarterback?


  1. Bigislandkurt September 20, 2014 11:31 pm

    Ikaika Woolsey plays like a kid whose overzealous, agro dad is on the sideline waiting for him to mess up. It’s not hard to tell that so far, his development has been stifled by trying to keep him honest in the pocket. What a fatal mistake this has been. Ikaika needs to be able to be Ikaika. Freelancing ala Johnny football would drive the old man nutso. But in all reality, a QB like Woolsey needs to freestyle and add lib in order to truly capitalize off of his strengths. The more success he can see, the better his chances of actually improving as a passer. Also, Ewaliko must see the field more often. Chow needs to let them do their thang. What does he have to lose at this point? What a demoralizing game against the buffs this was. They were more than beatable.

  2. Brad September 21, 2014 12:02 am

    Let Graham start against Rice. He’s 6’5″ and can see over his line man. He doesn’t have to roll out all the time to find someone open. He can sling it as soon as he gets it like the Oregon offense. Of course he is not mobile like Woolsey or Higgins but I think the O line is better this year and will give him more time to throw than last year. Hopefully with Lakalaka healing and getting better with reps maybe we will have better luck with Graham with the play action completing the deep ball especially the ones the receivers were wide open the past games.

  3. kkv3000 September 21, 2014 3:06 am

    Put simply, UH does not have a division I quarterback.

  4. Amosilatus September 21, 2014 4:54 am

    Re-mold the offense around Taylor Graham. He can pass. He just needs the time playing. The offensive line can protect. Lakalaka can run. If the receivers could catch a little better we could win.

  5. 96789Dude September 21, 2014 5:56 am

    I sure hope Coach gives Graham a chance. The offense needs a boost that Woolsey just hasn’t been able to deliver. We’ve seen glimpses but only in spots.

  6. Old School Dave September 21, 2014 6:52 am

    Warriors need to get their first road win at Rice and put this to rest. Even the national media had a blurb about their lack of wins on the mainland during yesterday’s highlights. Team needs to regroup, rehab, and heal up.

    Houston was listed by many former UH players as their favorite WAC city to visit.

  7. Old Diver September 21, 2014 7:50 am

    Fact is there was a failure by Norm Chow to recruit QB’s. This leaves the team with no good options this year. One thing about Graham is he actually looks like a QB despite being as ineffective as Woosley and Higgins. Will have to vote on looks on this one.

  8. Ilio September 21, 2014 9:45 am

    Brad is right. Even in the TV booth they mentioned how much of a better passer Graham appeared to be. Graham was doing well before he got hurt and the line is doing better this year. I like Ikaika, but his lack oo proper footwork when he throws makes the pass go all over the place. With an offense that uses 3 downs to get the first, you can throw under 50% and get the job done. Give Graham a chance.

  9. Preston September 21, 2014 11:21 am

    We can all just rejoice in the fact that we’ll have Wittek under center next year and well have a real D1 quarterback

  10. Kanakula September 21, 2014 12:06 pm

    Let Grahm play! Next year Wittek.

    What if JJ was OC?

  11. Dave Reardon September 21, 2014 12:06 pm

    I felt the light was going on for Taylor Graham when he got injured in the Nevada game last year. He looked like he was starting to dictate the action instead of reacting and thinking too much. But then he got hurt and lost a lot most if not all that game-speed rhythm and confidence. Maybe he can get it back quicker now.

  12. amela September 21, 2014 12:18 pm

    Without a doubt Graham should be given the starters job. Only a fool would play Woolsey till he gets it. Why wait do it now, would be a totally lost season. Hold Woolsey out for another year.

  13. Andrew September 21, 2014 1:21 pm


    I agree, It was a shame he got inured last season because he was real starting to get it going at that game. I thought he did pretty well on that last drive @ Colorado except for the INT although cant really blame him for that. It’s tough coming off the bench for the first time in a season in the 4th Qtr on your own 5 yd line (or whatever yd line it was)

  14. Derek September 21, 2014 3:28 pm

    Here are Woolsey’s key passing stats:
    Completion Percentage – 45.9% rank: 252 in Division I
    Passing Efficiency – 86.8%, ranks 242 in Division I
    Yards per Pass Attempt: 4.8, ranks 224 in Division I
    Touchdown Passes: 1
    Inteceptions: 1

    compared to Marcus Mariota:
    Completion Pecentage – 74.0%, ranks #2 in Division I
    Passing Efficiency – 218.0 %, ranks #1 in Division I
    Yards per Pass Attempt: 11.4, ranks #3 in Divsion I
    Touchdown Passes: 13
    Interception: Zero

    You can come up to your own conclusions, but it’s not rocket science. It’s in black and white and that you can translate wins and losses and how a team’s offense is doing. The search for the Holy Grail continues. Aaron Zwahlen, where are you? Beau Reilly, where are you?

  15. NYUH September 21, 2014 7:03 pm

    Bigislandkurt made some good points. IW got everyone’s attention with that 60+ scramble.

  16. NYUH September 21, 2014 7:04 pm

    Scramble in practice that is.

  17. 808 September 21, 2014 7:08 pm

    9 more games in the season. Hope someone steps up at the QB position. UH is still 0-0 in the MWC.

    If UH can get 6 out of the last 9 wins, they would be 7-6 and eligible to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Of course, that is a big IF. Looking forward to see how UH does in the MWC. Go Warriors!

  18. 808 September 21, 2014 7:10 pm

    …6 wins out of the next 9 games…

  19. tsboy September 21, 2014 11:54 pm

    at this point, Chow needs to give Graham a shot. i like Woolsey but just isn’t accurate enough to be the starter. if Beau Reilly can sling it, give him a chance. we got Wittek and Zwahlen coming next year so its going to be between those three for the QB position.

  20. Hank September 22, 2014 5:46 am

    Coach is probably going to give IW another start @ Rice. After the first quarter, he will get pulled for TG for passes going to high, to low, to far and to short. I love the effort of IW, but when you don’t have it, you don’t have it. He now plays nervous. He needs to sit. As one commentator noticed – “he’s passing with the hope of it getting there.”

    Starting IW will make it harder for TG to get a rhythm. It’ll take time for him to get into a comfort zone. I’m pulling for him to start. IW (bless his heart) has been given his shot. Time to give TG (and the team) a different option.

    BTW, I’m not opposed to go to IW when we plan (as we should) to run in the red zone. That’s our strength (the run not the pass) down there. He should go in with a plan to run the option.

  21. Hank September 22, 2014 7:37 am

    TG is not a certainty. Bo Reilly needs reps as well.

  22. Tom September 22, 2014 7:45 am

    I’m surprised how much indecision coach Chow has shown in handling his quarterbacks, receivers and offense considering how much he is credited with molding high quality quarterbacks before coming to UH. His UH quarterbacks have shown tentativeness and don’t appear comfortable in the backfield. There is little time left to showcase a productive quarterbacks/receivers corps and a decent passing game.

  23. 808WarriorFan September 22, 2014 7:48 am

    One game left in the “preseason” before conference play. Give that opportunity to TG and IW has proven he can’t hit open receivers. “Taylor” the game plan vs Rice around what Taylor can do mobility wise; no question about his throwing arm.

  24. Former UH Athlete September 22, 2014 9:01 am

    Part of Graham’s issues last season, before he got hurt, was the Oline was very poor in protecting him. Graham and SS were getting pounded on almost every dropback.

    This year’s line is doing a much better job in protection and the QB has, for the most part, had ample time to throw. Graham’s going to be better than last year because he should have confidence that the pocket isn’t collapsing in under 2 seconds and there have been fewer unblocked blitzers.

  25. cocobean September 22, 2014 9:30 am

    I’d tweak the offense before I’d change the QB. The way the offense is set up it’ll be hard for any QB we have to succeed. The hit UH took in their receiving corp during the off season is hurting them now. There’s no speed among the starters at every receiving position. The other team is not respecting our deep threat and is packing the box to stop the run. Theres’s too many defenders clogging up the middle area of the field. The throwing windows there are too small given the accuracy of our QBS. There’s little scramble room with so many defenders near the line.
    The coaches must find a way to loosen the defense and spread them out more. In obvious passing situations I’d go 4 wide or at least 3 with the TE slotted 2-3yds out. In this age of explosive college offenses we’re still playing grind it out football – run run dink run dink dink bomb run run run dink. We need to get yards in chunks not 4 at a time.

    Coaches you can only coach up a player so much to fit your system. It may be time to tweak your system to better fit your players. Find a way to get more speed on the field at the right time.

  26. HawaiiMongoose September 22, 2014 10:33 am

    I agree with both Brad and cocobean. Either give Graham his shot, or retool the base offense to substitute a second slot for the tight end. But don’t come back and start Woolsey again with the same base formation. We’ve tried to do it for four games and it doesn’t work.

  27. Balut September 22, 2014 10:42 am

    The mainstay of the offensive failure is with Chow. The offense stinks. He hasn’t recruited any decent quarterbacks since he arrived. Chow please do us a favor and resign.

  28. Hon2255 September 22, 2014 10:46 am

    The offensive is ineffective and lethargic Time to find a new coach. The season goin down the tube.

  29. Dave Reardon September 22, 2014 2:19 pm

    Wasn’t it kind of weird how the opening script worked fine the first two games and Woolsey looked pretty good on the first drive? But that had a lot to do with the presence of Joey Iosefa.

  30. JustinLurkin September 22, 2014 3:30 pm

    Wasn”t the current offense build around the mobility of Woolsey? If so, how does a pocket passer in Graham fit into the offense? Isn’t it kinda too late to effectively change the offensive scheme to fit Graham’s attributes now, and does one do this knowing Graham is gone after one year? If Wittek is the answer next year, then perhaps they should make the change now, unless Prater, Reilly and Zwalein are dual threat type QBs and they plan to go with a different offense with those guys.
    Thinking long term, which type of offense does Chow want to be his offensive identity, and which QB fits best? Do you think that Chow even knows what type of offense he wants to have?

  31. NYUH September 22, 2014 5:03 pm

    I’m Chow – neutral although I hope he is successful because UH can’t go firing coaches every couple of years and giving them fat paychecks as they leave. But also because we have good kids who deserve to have a rewarding season. We can still make the Hawaii Bowl and win the MW for that matter.

  32. MakakiloGuy September 22, 2014 5:31 pm

    Woosley is accuracy is woeful…I’ve seen better aim at my 2yr old son’s daycare toilet…with that being said Graham is the”next man up”…he gets the look by default, which doesn’t say much

  33. cocobean September 22, 2014 9:22 pm

    #30. Justin L. Don’t know where you got the impression the offense was tailored for Woolsey. The formation is the traditional spread O with 2 wides, one slot, one TE and one Rb. They’ve been using it since last year. There are several problems I see right off.

    The first problem I see is the offensive coordinator they brought in last year to help install it was fired before fall camp started. That left Chow to do it himself with help from Jordan Wynne. While Chow knows a lot about offenses he had no experience installing the spread O let along coaching it. Wynne is a bright young coach but the bulk of his knowledge is what Chow has taught him both here as a GA and while he was at Utah running Chow’s pro set.

    The second problem I see is related to the first. They’re using the spread o to run pro set style plays. Establish the run, short passes off of play action, try to hit one long every so often. The TE is mainly a blocker for runs which is the priority and must chip a blocker before going into a pattern. The H back is a de facto fullback. The spread O was meant to SPREAD the defense, to force them to cover a larger area of the field. Chow’s spread O is not doing this. Defenses are packing it in close to line of scrimmage jamming the middle area between the hash marks.

    Third problem is related to the first two. Chow and Wynne has not shown the ability to evolve the offense to keep up with the defensive adjustments made to defend it. It seems they’re read the book Spread Offenses 1st edition and have not read the 2nd or 3rd editions.

    Chow needs to step back and take a look at what has transpired. He’ll find the problem with the O is simple. Besides demanding that each player get better at doing what he’s suppose to do. He should also ask himself, “what can I do to loosen the defenses we’ll be facing and have them defend more of the field?”

  34. jkjones September 23, 2014 2:32 am

    This team has grit and is taking a beating because our O is too inept to sustain drives .
    let’s face it, no matter how much we chatter with the possibilities, unless we move the ball with consistency, the warriors are underwater in the next nine games.

  35. jc September 23, 2014 9:13 am

    #22 Tom, mold is not correct. Chow, as a QB coach, babysat those QBs. Those QBs
    were ‘molded’ by their previous coaches. A QB coach on any staff is there to monitor
    the teams QB fitness and progress. No HC would allow his QB coach to dinker with
    his teams ‘investment’. Unless his QB coach was a Unitas, or a Manning. Certainly not a former linesman.

  36. JustinLurkin September 24, 2014 12:45 pm

    #33 Cocobean, Mahalo for your response/insight. So, Chow does not know how to install, run, nor troubleshoot a spread offense program. As the girl says on the AT&T commercial with that Masterchef, “That’s terrifying”.

  37. Goofyfoot September 29, 2014 10:24 am

    It seems everywhere Chow has been, he’s had a good running game. So actually he is a run first then pass manage second type of play caller. So if he lacks a consistent running game it is all over. Whomever can release the ball quicker will get the nod. I think Chow still has dreams of making Woosley a Steve Young, Young was a different gazelle.

  38. Hkpadua October 8, 2014 2:12 pm

    Why is Keenan Ewaliko not being groomed as a backup qb? Seems to me to be a logical grooming choice to prepare him for the upcoming future seasons.

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