CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said Brent Rausch, above, improved every day.
Rausch gets nod at QB
The transfer beats out Funaki and Alexander for the right to lead the Warriors' offense
| READ THE FULL STORY
The drama surrounding the identity of Hawaii's starting quarterback ended this morning when sophomore Brent Rausch was announced as the successor to Colt Brennan.
Coach Greg McMackin talks about newly-appointed QB Brent Rausch
Newly-appointed QB Brent Rausch talks about this season
Warriors coach Greg McMackin told media members yesterday that the staff had come to a decision in the quarterback competition, but wanted to wait until he addressed the players before formally naming the first-stringer.
He did so after the Warriors' practice this morning, elevating Rausch to the top line of the depth chart above juniors Inoke Funaki and Greg Alexander.
"Brent Rausch is our quarterback," McMackin said today.
He added that Funaki and Alexander will share the backup role for now.
The trio had been competing for the starting job since fall camp opened.
With his new status, Rausch took most of the first-team repetitions in this morning's practice and is in position to lead the Warrior offense into their season opener at No. 5 Florida on Aug. 30.
Rausch transferred to UH from College of the Desert in California where he completed 60 percent of his passes last season. He appeared to be third in the order early in camp, but came on with strong performances this week.
"He's always thrown a good ball," sophomore receiver Greg Salas said. "It looks like he's making his reads and has more confidence."
As for Rausch, he said he will enjoy the added attention that comes with directing what was the nation's highest scoring offense last season.
"I love the pressure; it's awesome," he said.
FULL STORY »
Brent Rausch was among the last stragglers to leave the field yesterday, the man in demand of the local media following Hawaii's football practice session.
It's a scene the sophomore quarterback might have to get used to.
UH head coach Greg McMackin said the Warriors staff had made a decision on a first-string quarterback yesterday, but stopped short of formally naming a successor to Colt Brennan, saying he wanted to address the players before making an announcement after today's practice.
The waiting ended this morning, when McMackin formally elevated the 6-foot-4 Rausch to the top of the depth chart. The decision puts Rausch in position to lead the Warrior offense into the Aug. 30 season-opener at No. 5 Florida.
Rausch took the majority of the snaps with the first team yesterday and again in this morning's practice. Rausch and juniors Inoke Funaki and Greg Alexander have been competing for the job since fall camp opened.
"We feel one of the guys has moved in front and we're going to make a move," McMackin said yesterday. "It's important for our football team to have a guy they can rally around and it's also important he gets the reps with the first team, we'll start practicing that way (today).
"We don't start game planning against Florida until next week, so we had the weekend, but we're ready to make a decision and it's time to move on."
If Rausch starts at The Swamp in his first Division I game, it'll mark a remarkable swing for someone who was playing 8-man high school football in California just two seasons ago and didn't play quarterback until his junior year.
Rausch was reintroduced to 11-man football last season when he threw for 2,653 yards and 28 touchdowns as a freshman at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif. He signed with UH last spring and participated in voluntary workouts over the summer.
After struggling through the first week of practice with the Warriors, Rausch said the run-and-shoot system began to come into focus last Thursday.
"Now I can see the defense moving and setting up and I can read it a lot better now," he said. "It did, all of a sudden, click for me."
UH quarterback coach Nick Rolovich, who won a similar competition as a player in 2000, said Rausch has "continually gotten better."
"That's what we wanted, we wanted a slow incline," Rolovich said. "It didn't have to be you know everything right away. But you had to get better every day and he's one guy who did."
While snaps were spread fairly evenly among the trio of quarterbacks in camp, Rausch had been third in the rotation until yesterday when he was up first in the 7-on-7 and team periods.
He had two turns running the 2-minute drill at the end of practice, connecting with sophomore receiver Greg Salas four times, including a long completion over the middle when Salas went high to snare a throw.
"He's always thrown a good ball," Salas said. "It looks like he's making his reads and has more confidence."
Rausch said he arrived at the field yesterday not knowing he would get a longer look with the first team.
"Not at all," he said. "I threw a few good passes and they just kept me going, the next drill came up and I went first. ... I was too happy to be surprised."
As for the added attention that would come with leading an offense that led the nation in scoring the last two seasons ...
..."I love the pressure, it's awesome," Rausch said.