Updated at 11:45 a.m., Thursday, November 2, 2006
QB Brennan on a roll in his second season at UH
By Jaymes Song
Colt Brennan not to be confused with Texas quarterback Colt McCoy has been super sharp in his second season, picking apart defenses, racking up huge numbers and leading Hawaii to five straight wins.
The junior is the main reason why Hawaii is No. 1 in the nation in total offense (525.2 yards a game), passing (421.9) and scoring (45.4 points).
"I used to run this offense not to mess it up," he said. "Now I run this offense to attack everything I see."
Brennan has thrown for more than 300 yards and five TDs in five of the last six games. In eight games, he has passed for 2,934 yards and an NCAA-leading 33 touchdowns with five interceptions. He has completed 74 percent of his passes and leads the nation in passing efficiency. McCoy, a freshman, ranks seventh.
Pretty good, considering Brennan's career was nearly derailed as part of the Colorado recruiting scandal.
After high school, he was a walk-on at Colorado but was cut from the team after a woman accused him of drunkenly barging into her dorm room.
The allegations came at the height of the scandal in which player-hosts were accused of supplying alcohol, drugs and sex to prospective recruits. The school, police and prosecutors allegedly gave special privileges to athletes.
Brennan pleaded not guilty and denied abusing the woman. A jury convicted him of felony burglary and trespassing but acquitted the quarterback of sexual assault and indecent exposure. Prosecution on misdemeanor sexual contact was deferred, meaning the charge has basically been dropped, the district attorney's office said. He was sentenced to 60 hours of community service, four years' probation and seven days in jail.
"Those were the seven longest days of my life," Brennan said. "I made a mistake, but did not commit a crime. For me to be charged with what I was charged with, it was just wrong."
Hawaii offered him a second chance when several schools wouldn't.
So far, no team has managed to slow Brennan, including No. 14 Boise State. Brennan threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns in Hawaii's 41-34 loss on the road last month.
Brennan said he's getting a stronger grasp of June Jones' run-and-shoot offense in his second season.
"I don't think it will ever be 100 percent, knowing coach Jones," he said. "He doesn't ever let us think we're perfect, and I like that because it makes us that much better."
In Hawaii's five-game winning streak, he has thrown 24 touchdowns and one interception. His current streak of 158 passes without a pick is second to Notre Dame's Brady Quinn (169).
"I could see (Jones) was going to give me a chance and really wanted to see me do well," Brennan said.
Brennan's stats have caught the attention of NFL scouts, although wonder whether they are more a product of Hawaii's offense.
"It's funny how people get caught up in the whole thing about system quarterbacks. In the NFL, all you really hear about is a guy learning how to run the system," Brennan said. "If you're a system quarterback, it means you're doing everything right."
Jones, a former NFL quarterback and coach, said Brennan is among the top three quarterbacks he's worked with. Quite a compliment, considering Jones has coached Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Chris Miller and Jeff George.
"He's the real deal," Jones said. "He's very competitive like Jim Kelly. He's mobile like Chris Miller. He's very accurate like Warren."
Barring injury, Brennan could reach 5,000 yards and 50 TDs this season, joining Houston's David Klingler as the only college quarterback to reach both milestones in one season. If Hawaii (6-2, 4-1 WAC) earns a bowl berth, he would have six games left. The Warriors would become bowl eligible if they beat Utah State (1-7, 1-3) Saturday.
Jones is confident Brennan will make the NFL.
"There's no question, he'll play on Sundays," Jones said. "He'll make it big-time, barring injury."