The final week of workouts for the University of Hawaii football team’s spring training camp got underway on Tuesday as the ‘Bows tore up the turf for the thirteenth time in preparation for Saturday’s Spring Game on lower campus.
Rainbow Warriors fans will have much to look forward to as the green-and-white go live action this weekend. It will mark the first chance for fans to see the return of the run-and-shoot offense on full display.
One of the gears to the machine that has certainly stood out in practices thus far has been junior college transfer Cedric Byrd.
Timed with a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at the junior college level, the 5-foot-9 speedster at slot back scored 15 touchdowns in 20 games for Long Beach City College.
This Saturday, he intends to formally introduce himself to the “Pride Rock faithful” in the Spring Game.
“I’m thinking I’m going to score a lot of touchdowns. I like (this offense). I really like the offense. It just fits my play style really, so that’s what I like,” Byrd told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
As a student of the game, Byrd says he has paid close attention to the route running of slot backs that found major success with UH in the run-and-shoot offense under former head coach June Jones and current head coach Nick Rolovich, who was offensive coordinator for the Warriors from 2009-2011.
“We’ve been watching a lot of film of past years. It’s basically, we all just have to work together as a team. Basically, I’m running routes to get my X-receiver open. I’m running routes to get my Y-receiver open. It’s like that. We just have to work as a team. We’ve just got to have a lot of fun,” said Byrd.
Entering the Spring Game, sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald has taken the lion share of first-team snaps at QB. The on-field relationship between McDonald and the slot backs has been a clear positive in the team’s training camp.
“It’s just more weapons on the field, more ways we can get the ball out to our fast guys. It’s comforting for me knowing I can rely on guys like that, such as Byrd, Tristin (Kamaka), (Jason) Sharsh, and John Ursua, and all the guys. It’s a real positive feel,” said McDonald.
When asked about the reputation of speed he brings to the program, Byrd says he takes great pride in his athleticism.
“I take a lot of pride in it basically. When I was younger, I was playing flag football. A kid walked to my dad and told him, can you tell your son to slow down? So basically I’ve been fast since I was young, so it just built up after that over the years,” he said.
When asked if his father told him not to slow down, Byrd quickly replied, “Yeah, he did.”
Byrd and his ‘Bows will keep the pedal to the metal this Saturday when the team hosts the annual Spring Game at Clarence T.C. Ching Field.
Gates open at 3 p.m. with the Spring Game practice scheduled to run from 5 to 6:30 p.m.