As the University of Hawaii football team prepares to open the 2021 season in two weeks at UCLA, the center of attention is on the offensive line anchored by senior Kohl Levao.
Levao, entering his fourth season with the program has played tackle, guard, and senior in his time but entering this season was tapped to set the tempo of the offense.
“I just feel coach Graham wanted me to play center just to help the team out the most. I feel like bringing some physicality to the game that would help our team be the most successful especially in the run game,” Levao told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.”I like center a lot actually, I like being in control and just make sure that everybody is on the same page before every snap and just communicate with all my boys.”
Standing at 6-foot-6, weighing 350-pounds, Levao carries a strong presence with him in the Hawaii huddle and between the lines takes that role seriously, especially when playing the center position.
“You definitely have to have some conviction when you’re playing center. It’s just it brings, it comes with a lot of trust. I trust all five of the people, or all four of the other linemen I play with and they all trust me so when I make a call we all rock with it and whatever happens, we’re all on the same page.”
Levao’s run with the Rainbow Warriors has witnessed a handful of speed bumps along the way, having missed nearly the entirety of the season due to injury. In 2019, after being named to the Polynesian Hall of Fame Polynesian Player of the Year award watch list he missed 11 of 15 games. Now feeling healthy for the first time to start the season since he started in all 14 games of his junior year of 2018.
“I feel great. It’s been a long time coming. It just feels nice to be back in my element, healthy, doing my thing and playing with my team. Hopefully we’ll be the most successful team in the Mountain West this year.”
Entering 2021, the offensive line unit is considered a strength of this year’s Rainbow Warrior squad. With an uninterrupted off-season of training and full slate of spring and fall practices, first-year offensive line coach A’Lique Terry exudes confidence that the unit will return to top form and shoulder the weight of lofty expectations with an increased tempo according to head coach Todd Graham.
“All five of us have embraced it a lot. It’s just going to help us be more successful moving on throughout the season and that just shows respect to coach Cooke for one hell of an offseason for getting us prepared for what we got to do this season temp wise and just in general our conditioning is through the roof.”
The Rainbow Warriors will open the 2021 season on August 28 against UCLA. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30am HST on ESPN.