HONOLULU (AP) --- Coming off a 7-7 season, including a one-sided Hawaii Bowl loss to Notre Dame, the University of Hawaii football team is facing an overhaul of its defense.
Gone are 10 starters, including linebacker and Western Athletic Conference co-defensive player of the year Solomon Elimimian.
''I've never had a team where there's only one guy back with game experience,'' said UH coach Greg McMackin. ''But we're practicing very well. They're very hungry to learn. They're picking things up very fast. Their attitude is great. We're really paying attention to the details, and the players are focusing in on that. It's really fun to coach, and the players are really working hard.''
The lone full-time starter still around is senior linebacker John Fonoti, who had 62 tackles last year, including 3 1/2 sacks.
The new defense's growing pains were evident during the spring.
Vaughn Meatoga, a sophomore who is expected to start this season, seemed disgusted when he recalled that the team's defensive line mustered barely enough sacks to ''count them on one hand'' throughout spring practice. In the annual spring game in late April, the offenses combined for 48 points in the first half and recorded three touchdown passes longer than 50 yards.
All times HST
Sept. 4---Central Arkansas, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 12---at Washington St., 1 p.m.
Sept. 19---at UNLV, 3 p.m.
Sept. 30---x-at Louisiana Tech, 2:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
Oct. 10---x-Fresno St., 5:05 p.m.
Oct. 17---x-at Idaho, 10 a.m.
Oct. 24---x-Boise St., 5:05 p.m.
Oct. 31---x-at Nevada, 10:05 a.m.
Nov. 7---x-Utah St., 5:05 p.m.
Nov. 14---x-New Mexico St., 5:05 p.m.
Nov. 21---x-at San Jose St., 3 p.m.
Nov. 28---Navy, 5:35 p.m. (ESPNU)
Dec. 5---Wisconsin, TBA (ESPN or ESPN2)
''We didn't have that chemistry,'' McMackin said. ''Everyone was trying to get their own job. I think now in the fall, guys are finding their position, starting to play next to guys and there's more of a teamness and a oneness. For about the last week, they've really come together. We've been getting turnovers. We've been making plays.''
McMackin said Meatoga was the team's ''best tackle'' last season as a redshirt freshman.
Warriors linebacker Brashton Satele will not play this season because of an injured left shoulder.
''Coming into this year, our defense is always getting overlooked,'' said linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane. ''I think this year we're working hard in establishing ourselves as a defense. I feel comfortable with these guys. There are a lot of good players. We've just got to get ready.''
The depth chart is still very much unresolved, but at this point in camp, having players fight for positions is not necessarily a bad thing.
''Competition makes great football teams,'' McMackin said.