After months of anticipation, the wait is nearly over as the University of Hawaii football team returns to the practice field on Wednesday for the opening of training camp for the 2022 season, which starts on Aug. 27 when the Rainbow Warriors take on Vanderbilt at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex.

The Rainbow Warriors, under first year head coach Timmy Chang, received some motivation earlier this week at Mountain West Conference Media Days in Las Vegas. UH was tabbed sixth in the six-team west division of the preseason poll and did not have a single player represented on the preseason All-Conference team.

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According to Chang, it’s understood that with a new coaching staff and over 70 percent of the statistical production from last season no longer on the roster, many would question the possibilities of the 2022 team. However, he’s looking forward to camp kicking off and allowing his team to compete for something bigger than themselves.

“I’m excited about those guys going out there and competing. As a coach, you still get those butterflies, you still get that itch to compete and that’s what I love about practice. I love that for our guys that they get to go out there and showcase their God-given abilities. I’m excited for our fan base to just know that these guys, they put them on their back. They are representing them,” Chang told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello

Since Chang was named head coach following the resignation of Todd Graham, the rallying cry of playing for the state of Hawaii has been heard loud and clear, as evidenced by the numerous events held to bring the team and community together. For Chang and his team, it’s at the core of what fuels his football team.

“They know that when they got to make a block or they got to make a tackle or they got to catch that ball, it’s about the state,” Chang said. “You’re doing it for other people. You’re doing it for the most isolated place in the world with beautiful people and a beautiful culture. It’s all about the people and our guys know that so when they come out on Wednesday, we’re doing it for each other in this locker room, but we’re doing it for this state.”

When training camp opens on Wednesday, many positions will be experiencing battles for depth chart positioning, most notably at the quarterback role. Brayden Schager enters as the player with the most UH experience after starting three games as a true freshman while serving as the primary backup to previous starter Chevan Cordeiro (who transferred to San Jose State in the offseason). Schager is joined by transfers Cammon Cooper (Washington State) and Joey Yellen (Pittsburgh/Arizona State), who both bring Power-5 experience to Hawaii. Joining them are the likes of Jake Farrell, Connor Apo, Ephraim Tuliloa, Armani Edden and Chad Owens Jr., who appears to have been moved to slotback but is still listed as a quarterback/receiver.

“As far as quarterback and even the other positions, we recruited so all the way into July, so getting these guys in and letting them be able to compete, as for as quarterbacks go, we’re not set in stone until we watch these guys compete for about two weeks and then we’ll start to flip into our Vanderbilt game plan, but they got to go out there and compete. There are six on the roster and all of them can throw. They all do things a little bit different but at the end of the day, it’s the guy that distributes the ball and makes the best decisions. That’s the guy that is going to get the nod,” said Chang.

The Rainbow Warriors will hit the practice field for the first time in training camp on Wednesday, exactly a month before its nationally televised game against the Commodores on the CBS Sports Network.

Stay with KHON2 Sports on-air and online for continuing coverage of the Rainbow Warriors football season.