Brennan won't be pouring it on
A team to launch up the Top 25 polls. A Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback. Twelve regular season games in which to do it.
You might forgive University of Hawai'i football coach June Jones for wanting to stick with Colt Brennan a little longer in games this season to make a point. Or, several dozen of them.
So it was somewhat surprising, not to mention refreshing, to hear Jones say he actually intends to get backup quarterback Tyler Graunke more work — and Brennan an earlier hook — in games in which the Warriors open up big leads.
"I want Tyler to play a lot this year. I'll probably take him (Brennan) him out a little sooner," Jones said last week at a luncheon.
Voice prints have authenticated Jones as the speaker.
The Brennan Line, the point at which college football's single-season record holder for touchdown passes (58) was removed from games, took on a remarkably early bent in 2006. In a season of pinball-like scores, four times Brennan got to watch the end of the third quarter from the sidelines. Twice more he exited with 11 minutes or more remaining in the fourth quarter. Rarely was he on the field to finish what he started.
Which presented the Colt Quandary: Where does UH's self interest end and pouring it on begin? If the Warriors' fortunes go as expected this year, especially in the early going when the schedule is larded with Division I-AA teams and opponents coming off losing seasons, it could be a recurring question. And a potential problem, if you let it.
In this season, above all, you want to afford Brennan an opportunity to show what he can do in the victories, giving him a chance to compete for awards and records. But not to the point of risking injury in unnecessary situations or giving even the perception of piling it on for the sake of statistics. Nothing would taint an honors candidacy faster.
So it is reassuring to hear Jones reason that the statistics and records will accumulate on their own. That if Brennan is going to have a 600-yard game, it won't be because UH poured it on some overwhelmed victim or let Brennan linger dangerously.
"If that (a 600-yard game) were to happen in a game that was close, then, that's good," Jones said. "(But) I'm not into stats. Really, I'm not. They happen in what we do. But I've never set out to do it, even when Timmy (Chang) was going after the national record (for career passing yardage in 2004). I knew it was going to happen. I didn't even have to try to do it."
Jones maintains he is looking not only at this season but the future in deciding how long of a leash Brennan will play on. "He (Graunke) gets a lot of time, period, but he's going to be the guy next year (2008) and he's got to know how to do all those things under game conditions," Jones said.
"How do you start your first game (in three seasons) at Florida (the 2008 opener)? He's gotta be ready."
By sticking with that game plan — and with a little luck — Brennan can bag his share of records and honors while the Warriors set the stage for his successor.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com or 525-8044.