The 2020 college football season has already proven to be perhaps the most erratic in the sport’s history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With games getting canceled every week due to positive tests across multiple teams, not much is in control for players and coaches. For the University of Hawaii football team, its eight-game 2020 season is set to begin a week from Saturday at Fresno State. Only time will tell if the Rainbow Warriors get to play all eight contests, but to defensive tackle Jonah Laulu, one of the biggest goals of the season is to seize the moment every time the ‘Bows do take the field.
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“The biggest thing I need to do is stay focused and I really need to step it up and start trying to and elevate everyone else around me,” Laulu said in a Saturday conference call to media. “Whenever I’m feeling down or whenever I need to stay focused or try to keep a good mindset in a game, that’s what I really need to do and just mature more and just try to keep everyone around me elevated. and play to the best of my abilities and not take plays off here or there and constantly play 110 percent.”
After winning the team’s Coach Hank Vasconcellos Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year as a freshman in 2018, Laulu has seen his role increase each season after that. As a redhisrt sophomore in 2020, he figures to be one of the anchors of an experienced defensive line.
Laulu appeared in all 15 games in 2019. He hopes to be the same durable player in 2020, although it will be under a brand new scheme under the new coaching staff in Manoa.
“When we were practicing at first, we were really hitting each other because (head) coach ( Todd Graham) hadn’t seen us in pads yet,” Laulu said. “They wanted to see what we were able to do and see what we do under any type of adversity so practices are definitely getting more mental, making sure our minds are right, making sure we know the backfield for Fresno and making sure we know what they’re gonna do and make them run plays that they’re not comfortable running.
“That’s our mindset: get to the quarterback every play. Getting off on the ball and those critical third downs and passing downs, we definitely stress that a lot. Individuals, the D-line. ‘Get to the ball, get to the ball,’ that’s our mindset. It’s definitely better this season because we get to move around more, we’re not trying to keep contain or whatever. We definitely get to do more stuff. … It’s definitely gonna be something to watch so I’m definitely excited.”