During fall camp last year, Norm Chow smartly opened the practices to the public as Pete Carroll did so effectively at USC a few years ago. And those who braved the heat and crowds were treated to something really special. They were treated to 6-5 and 225 with a cannon arm. They were treated to beautifully thrown spirals and a prototypical NFL build. They were treated to Taylor Graham.
Sadly, those limited practices (and the whispered legends that followed) were all we'd get to see of him last season, thanks to NCAA transfer rules that required him to sit out. But it was enough to get us excited. Actually no. Excited is probably too tame of a word. Rabid? Frothing? Maybe something more like that.
You see, Taylor Graham plays quarterback like it should be played. A classic dropback passer whose form could lead a clinic and who prefers to stand tall in the pocket to taking off down the field. He's also got the pedigree (his father Kent Graham played for 8 NFL teams over 10 season) and the name (top 100 QB recruit out of HS) and all that makes me very, VERY excited (hence the rabid and the frothing). It's been so long since we've seen someone taking snaps for UH that...looked like they should be taking snaps. I mean don't get me wrong. I absolutely love Colt Brennan and his 3/4ths sidearm throwing motion and Nick Rolovich and his "never-say-die" gunslinger mentality and even Dan Robinson and the slow, plodding way he moved to avoid sacks. They will all have a special place in the lore of Hawaii Football (at least as I remember it). There's just something so refreshing (and exciting) about having one of "those guys" (Taylor Graham guys) playing for your team, especially when we've gone with so many...unconventional QB's in the past. The big question is, will we surround him with enough talent for us to get to see his talents at work? On paper our WR class is stellar. That wont be an issue. Neither will Running Back. But what about the line? No amount of arm strength will matter if he's got pressure in his face every play so hopefully that's something that gets extra work leading up to the season. UH has a chance in 2013 to make a real push into national relevancy. I hope that they can take advantage.