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UCLA Football Preview: Bruins Must Stop Hawai'i QB Cordeiro
The Rainbow Warriors' quarterback led the team in both rushing and passing last season.
Before I get started with our offensive preview for this week’s Hawai’i game, I have a bit of housekeeping to do. We remain tremendously grateful for all the support everyone has provided by subscribing since we debuted at the start of a pandemic.
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Now, onto this week’s Hawai’i offensive preview….
For those of you who may have missed yesterday’s coaching and special teams preview, one of the most important things to note is that the Rainbow Warriors have a new offensive coordinator in Bo Graham. The younger Graham has never been an offensive coordinator before. So, there may some on-the-job training going on here.
As a result, don’t be surprised if we see Hawai’i get called for a few delay of game penalties because they didn’t get the play called in time.
That said, let’s go position by position to see what the Bruins will face on Saturday.
Junior Chevan Cordeiro will start at quarterback for the Rainbow Warriors. Cordeiro is a true double-threat quarterback. Not only did he complete 62% of his passes last season, but he also led the team in rushing.
How much of a rushing threat was Cordeiro last season? Well, he gained almost as many yards as the team’s next two rushers combined.
But don’t assume that Bo Graham will simply have Cordeiro running all over the place. Last season, Cordeiro averaged 231 yards per game passing. So, it’s clear that the offense begins and ends with Cordeiro, assuming that the younger Graham doesn’t perform a complete offensive overhaul.
The good news is that Hawai’i’s top running back, Miles Reed, entered the transfer protocol last season and will not be back this year.
The bad news is that the change will probably result in Calvin Turner, Jr. doing his best impression of Demetric Felton as the junior from Savannah, Georgia will play both running back and wide receiver.
Sophomore Dae Dae Hunter will look to fill Reed’s shoes. Hunter’s yards per carry were similar to Reed’s last season. So, an increased number of touches may allow him to step up and replace Reed’s production, even if it is still less than Cordeiro’s when it comes to running the ball.
Cordeiro’s favorite target last season was, unsurprisingly, Turner, Jr. He averaged 16.55 yards per catch last season for a total of 546 receiving yads.
Senior Jared Smart is Cordeiro’s other favorite target. With 36 receptions, Smart actually caught more passes last season than Turner, Jr. who caught 33. Smart’s yards per catch were about half of Turner, Jr.’s, though, with an average of 8.89.
Look for tight end Caleb Phillips, H-back Solo Turner and receiver Nick Mardner to also contribute to the passing game.
The Rainbow Warrior offensive line will start five seniors tomorrow. Ilm Manning will anchor the left side at tackle and will be joined there by guard Micah Vanterpool. On the other side will be tackle Gene Pryor and guard Solo Vaipulu. Kohl Levao will be the starting center.
Let’s be real. There is absolutely no way UCLA should lose tomorrow. In fact, if Chip Kelly cannot beat Hawai’i, Martin Jarmond might as well show him (and Jerry Azzinaro) the door and name Justin Frye and Brian Norwood co-interim head coaches for the remainder of the season.
The Bruin defense needs to shut down Chevan Cordeiro. The best way to do that is for the defensive line to get into the backfield and tackle Cordeiro hard for a loss several times. It will make him think twice about running the ball and make the Rainbow Warrior offense one-dimensional.
I’m expecting a big day from the defensive line and few points for Hawai’i.