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Keys To The Game: Hawai'i Edition

After last weeks deflating loss at home, the Broncos travel to the Islands to take on the Warriors. Will the Broncos bounce back, or will they continue to pull mediocrity?

A disclaimer: For devotees that are missing my post game wrap ups, I decided not to put together a post game. I am not jumping off the bandwagon. There are some great post game write ups by Kevan, Nate Peters, Drew, and others. Not to mention, with being invited onto the podcast lately, I did not want others to feel like I was being too involved. For now I will stick to my keys to the game.

With the only shred of BCS hope gone, the Broncos try to gain some momentum as they close out the season. The big question remains, can the Broncos focus and make the most of whats left? I am not sure if I have the answer to that question, but I can say the remaining schedule is not exactly something I lose sleep about. Hawai'i is a team who once struck fear into every defensive coordinator in the land, but things have changed, coaches have changed, and offenses have changed. No more is Hawai'i lead by the run and shoot pass happy offense, rather the Warriors have instituted the west coast offense with the hire of coach Norm Chow.

Chow has been all over the map in terms of coaching. There was a time when Norm Chow was the most sought after offensive coordinator. He called the shots for offenses like BYU for 27 years. During that time the Cougars were lead by the likes of Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Ty Detmer. Chow, also coached at USC, UCLA, Utah, NC State, and had a stint in the NFL with the Tennesse Titans. This past off season Chow was brought in to lead a Hawai'i program that appears to have fallen on hard times.

What has Hawai'i done so far? They have amassed a 1-7 record, with their lone win coming against Lamar. Hawai'i gives up 42 points a game on average, and they have a hard time scoring points. Hawai'i is led by a junior quarterback Sean Schroeder. From the games I have seen Hawai'i play, this isn't exactly a polished quarterback running a smooth system. The offense that once was, is struggling to find momentum. Hawai'i now seeks to establish the run, work off of play action, and run screens. The athletes of the previous system aren't exactly jiving well with the schemes of the current system. That is a polite way of saying the rebuilding process is in full swing. Can Hawai'i pull of an upset? Yes. I am not arrogant enough to suggest otherwise, however, things don't look great for the Warriors.

What does Hawai'i need to do in order to win? They must establish the run. If they saw anything from last weeks game it would be that running the ball is a good option. Hawai'i must put up at least 150 yards on the ground. Not only do they need to run for yards, but they need make our guys miss the first tackle. In the two games we lost this year we gave up substantial yardage on the ground and the running backs made our first and second defenders miss tackles. Hawai'i must also get some positive things going through the air. Its tough to see Hawai'i pulling an upset with less than 250 yards through the air.

What about the Broncos? Well, we have issues of our own. We cannot find consistency in our offense, especially with passes over the middle. Our play calling hasn't been what we are accustomed to in recent years, and we lack focus on offense at times. It goes to show that all 11 guys must be on the same page in order for the team to succeed.

Offensively, what do we need to do in order win this game. First things first, the running game. We must establish the ground game. There may be some readers who think that I cannot think of anything better to write each week, however, look no farther than last week. We ran the ball good at times, however, we never truly established the run, and we paid for it. Also, we need to take care of the ball. Winning the turnover battle is always crucial. We need to get some flow on offense. All year long we have struggled with flow, in order to maximize our flow, it is crucial we score on 3 of our first 5 possessions. Can we win the game without achieving that? Yes, but we have a golden opportunity to get momentum and make some things happen this week against an opponent who is down and out.

Hopefully the Broncos can rebound and maintain a high level of focus on the Islands. Giving the curve ball that happened last week, I am at odds with myself about what I should predict for this weeks game. My pick, 38-14 Blue.