Does Norm Chow have the key to Hawaii's turnaround?

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday August 27, 2013

Last season 3-9 record was Hawaii’s worst in more than a decade, and the problems could be traced to the offense.

The Warriors, usually known for their firepower, were No. 102 in scoring offense and No. 123 in yards per play last season. So Norm Chow had to make changes, and those continued into August, when new offensive coordinator Aaron Price was dismissed on the first day of fall camp.

The personnel has changed, too. There are new receivers and big quarterback Taylor Graham - a former four-star recruit - finally will get on the field after redshirting and backing up at Ohio State and then sitting out last season at Hawaii due to transfer rules.

Chow joined SiriusXM College Sports Nation and hopes that his new quarterback will be the key to the turnaround. Hawaii was No. 118 in yards per attempt last season.

“When I was at UCLA, we recruited a man out of Wheaton, Ill., Taylor Graham,” Chow said. “He opted to go to Ohio State and things didn’t quite work out the way he wanted them to and they made a coaching change. When I got the job here, he was the first call I took and first scholarship we really offered. He’s 6-foot-5, about 235 with a real nice arm, very studious, a junkie. He’s always in the meeting room.

“He hasn’t played for a while. He sat on the bench for a couple years at Ohio State and redshirted and had to (sit out a year) here. So he gives us some real hope. He throws the ball really well. We went out and recruited a bunch of receivers we needed. Our offensive line is back, but he hasn’t played for a time. There’s going to be a lot of rust to knock off, and hopefully he’ll hang in there, take a hit and realize it’s college football.”

Don’t sleep on the quarterbacks in the Mountain West. The SEC may have the most notable names, and the Pac-12 has a lot of potential, but there are some very good quarterbacks in the Mountain West, and Chow thinks his guy can get in that group.

“I know the SEC has Murray and McCarron and those kids, but the Mountain West is full of good quarterbacks,” Chow said. “As we all know, football is quarterback-driven. (Nevada) has a guy, Fresno State has a guy, San Jose State has one I think will be a first-round pick, and I think our guy can be there. He’s not there yet, obviously. But hopefully he’ll be in that league given a little time to get some experience and game time under his belt.”

The Warriors will open the season hosting USC on Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to