Brayden Schager Embracing Pressure in 2023

August 28, 2023

Athlete Studio

A new era will begin when the Rainbow Warriors take on Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

After months of preparation, speculation, and anticipation, the Rainbow Warriors will finally provide a tangible answer on how effective their new run-and-shoot offense looks.

No player will be more vital to Hawaii’s potential success in 2023 than junior quarterback Brayden Schager, who enters the year as the starter.

“It’s really coming along. It’s an everyday process,” Schager told “Just getting better every day, making those new reads, seeing some things on film and correcting it in the film room. It’s about getting on the same page and I think we’re getting close.”

When he wasn’t doing anything football related in the summer, Schager, an avid golfer, spent his summer touring Oahu’s greens, furthering his affinity for the islands. But since fall camp began, he’s been all business and is often seen after practices sticking around for extra reps with a variety of his teammates on offense.

“It’s all about being on the same page as (the receivers) and it’s all about putting the ball underneath the chin and that’s what I’ve been focusing on trying to do,” he said. “Just getting those extra reps after practice and trying to be perfect is what I strive for.”

A lifelong quarterback, Schager says his father “put a football on my hand right when I was born.” After a standout senior season playing in a spread offense at Highland Park High School in the Dallas area, he chose Hawaii during the COVID-19 pandemic among a handful of other FBS offers, as well as overtures from multiple Ivy League schools.

“It was just a special opportunity to come out here and play in Hawaii,” Schager said. “It’s different than any other school in the country and I knew the fanbase was gonna be supportive and I knew it was an opportunity to turn the program around, and I think there’s where we’re headed to do.”

While many of Schager’s teammates are in their fifth or sixth seasons of NCAA eligibility, he is a true junior who played in six games with three starts as a true freshman in 2021. In 2022, he played in 12 games with 10 starts, but was still in a competition with Joey Yellen for the starting job during the first portion of the season. In 2023, Schager enters as the definitive starter.

“I think he’s gonna be pretty good,” Hawaii head coach Timmy Chang said. “He’s only in his third year. Some guys get a redshirt year, he didn’t. He’s been trial and error the whole time. I’m technically his third coordinator and so he continues to learn. He’ll get better as his mind locks in, gets his chances and those types of things, he’ll be pretty damn good.”

Chang recalls coaching against Schager in 2021 back when he was an assistant at Nevada. It was the lone road start of Schager’s freshman season, and Chang came away impressed with his demeanor. It’s a trait he didn’t forget when he evaluated the roster he was left with in 2022.

“We played against him at Nevada,” Chang recalled. “I know he played against us. He stood in there and took a pounding. The first thing about him is I knew we had a tough kid, and then you get to work with him and he wants to get better and he wants to be the best. He just keeps working and that’s what I love about him. That’s why we can hang our hat with a quarterback like that. He’s just gotta keep progressing. The run-and-shoot’s not easy to learn, but at the same time, it counts on your quarterback to deliver the ball on time and accurately.”

After playing in a pro-style offense in 2021, 2022 was a mishmash of air raid and spread formations that produced 17.4 points per game before Chang decided to install certain run-and-shoot concepts during the team’s bye week. Schager is one of many hoping the new offense will stick, working with former UH quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison both in Dallas and Hawaii prior to the season.

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