In the last game of the 2020 season, Jonah Laulu was the Rainbow Warriors starting tight end while also being a key piece along the defensive line. 2nd year head coach Todd Graham said at the time the team did not have a lot of depth at the tight end position, but with transfers like Colby White (Georgia) and Caleb Phillips (Stanford), Laulu can focus is time at his more traditional role on the defensive line.
“Definitely good to be spending most of my time on the defense that way I’m not overloaded in my brain thinking about it if I’m on the offense or if I’m in the defense this time,” Laulu said during media availability following their scrimmage on Saturday, “Last year I was going with the offense one day then the defense the next day. I’d come out green jersey, next day white jersey, next day green jersey. I was just switching between the offense and defense everyday. I definitely could do it but it was definitely strenuous. A little stressful, but I’ll do whatever it takes for us to win.”
Laulu had a career year in 2020 despite it being a shortened nine game schedule. The redshirt sophomore lead his position group with the U.H. with five tackles for loss and 26 total tackles. Both are new career high for number-99. This year he sees and even bigger jump with more comfort in Graham’s War Dog Defense.
“I feel like I’m playing way faster. The coaches have been telling me I’m playing way faster because I’m more comfortable. I know what I’m doing. I know the plays. I can really play and get after the quarterback. It just comes down to my technique and make sure I see the ball and get off on the ball. That’s our number-1 fundamental rule is getting off the ball, be explosive, disrupt the offense.”
There is a week left in the ‘Bows fall training camp before the team will transition into full prep for their season opener against UCLA. Hawai’i begins 2021 on the road at Rose Bowl Stadium on August 28th at 9:30 am Hawai’i time. It will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.