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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Can't rain on UH QB's parade

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

It rained on the opening of the University of Hawai'i's spring football practice yesterday and quarterback Colt Brennan mustered a grin as he struggled to grip a wet ball.

It began to pour and Brennan grinned some more.

By the end of the two-hour-plus practice, neither the rain nor the workout had managed to wash it away as he left the soggy field.

For, all things considered, Brennan was right back where he wanted to be, leading the Warriors again.

After a Christmas break spent in front of the television set dejectedly watching other teams play in bowl games, Brennan said: "I've been looking forward to this spring practice. I couldn't wait to get back on the field."

Spoken like someone who has either never experienced what a wet spring at UH can be like or has something to prove. In the case of Brennan, who wasn't on campus until last June, apparently some of both. Which was one of the best signs to come out of yesterday.

"I mean, you watch all those others guys (playing) and you see teams you think you are as good as or even better playing in bowls. You're miserable," Brennan said. "The bowl experience is a special thing and I know, this year, I want to be in a bowl, real bad. We all do."

Yesterday would be the first step often more like a splash after the disappointment of a 5-7 season and the first bowl-less December in four years. After weeks of voluntary workouts among available players, most everybody was back. And if they weren't always on the same page, there was at least a common message as articulated by their leader.

"We weren't happy with the way things went last year," Brennan said. "We definitely want to turn things around this time."

Never mind that Brennan, who showed up less than three months before the season opener, had a lot to show for his UH rookie season. He managed to start 10 of 12 games and pass for 4,301 yards and 35 touchdowns. Much more than anybody had dared to imagine Tim Chang's eventual successor might put up.

Yet, one thing we've learned about Brennan is that complacency is not in his makeup. Not when the quarterback job was up for grabs and not now that he has it in his grip. If the situation doesn't challenge him, he finds something within to do it.

"The reason I had a lot of those stats was because we were down in a lot of games and trying to come back to win them," Brennan said. "My stats might not have been as good if we went 13-0. But I'd be more than happy with that. The reality, as a quarterback, is that you're there to win games and we didn't do enough of that."

"He has a built-in self-starter," said quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison. "He's never satisfied where he's at. He's always pushing himself."

Even as No. 1 and even in the mud.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.