It’s been 240 days since the Warriors lost in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl to Louisiana Tech. But the new season marks a fresh start for the ‘Bows, who look to make a statement this Saturday against the University of Arizona at Aloha Stadium.
Head coach Nick Rolovich looks to lead the Warriors — selected to finish fourth in the West Division of the Mountain West conference — into battle in 2019 and prove their critics wrong.
“They put a lot of work in to get to this point, and now they get 13 chances to show what they got,” Rolovich said.
The 2019 edition of the Warriors may look a little familiar to last year’s squad as most of the team’s starters on both sides of the ball return. Today, the two-man deep depth chart was released with quarterback Cole McDonald retaining his spot as the team’s first-string signal-caller.
“I’m pumped,” McDonald said. “Being there last week at the Rams/Cowboys game, it was cool being at a different perspective on the fans side, and just realizing next week that’s going to be us on that field throwing the ball and having fun. This is what we worked on all summer, all fall, and we’re going to handle business.”
Defensively, Kaimana Padello will look to anchor the Warriors in the trenches. For Padello, Saturday’s game is much more than just the start of a new season – it’s the culmination of hard work during the offseason.
“I just remember being in the weight room, a hundred days until Arizona. It’s crazy,” Padello said. “The whole team, you can just feel the energy in the locker room coming out this morning. It was just a different feel. Everything that we’ve been working for, it’s finally come together and this is just Day 1 of it.”
With an influx of talent to go along with the returning starters, the Warrior are reloaded heading into their matchup against the Wildcats.
“As far as a starting unit, I think for the most part we feel really good about where they’re at as far as understanding the scheme, understanding the efforts that it’s going to take to play a Pac-12 team,” Rolovich said. “All those things are pretty evident I think in how they practice and how the carry themselves right now.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 4:30 p.m. HST at Aloha Stadium and will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.