UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
Brennan stays true to his school
Colt Brennan returns to UH with an eye on the future -- what next year's Warriors can accomplish and what the program can become in the long run
The legacy Colt Brennan hopes to leave for Hawaii football has little to do with statistics and awards.
It's more about winning football games and championships and improving the future of the Warriors program.
"This year we kept saying it was never about numbers, it was about winning games," said Brennan, yesterday at a news conference to announce he is pulling his name out of NFL Draft consideration and returning for his senior year. "And next year that's what it's going to be about, too."
Brennan also said a vision of what UH football can be after he's gone is one of the main reasons he decided to return to Manoa. It's a 4F Plan: He hopes the attention he brings to the Warriors in 2007 translates into fans, funding and facilities in the future.
Basically, he hopes to get Hawaii a step closer to the big time.
"They're not going to change while I'm here," he said of the facilities. "But we have a chance hopefully to get this program in the right direction and get it to that level that we're trying to take it."
The Warriors got off to a good start in 2006, matching the school record for wins with an 11-3 mark. Now the goal is to keep it going. UH would like to accomplish something similar to what WAC-rival Boise State did last season: capture the conference championship, go undefeated and win a bowl game against a BCS opponent.
With Brennan back, the Warriors can dare to make those dreams reality.
"I'm excited for him to take us to another level," coach June Jones said. "I'm happy obviously about the decision he made, because it does a lot for our program. This is probably being shown all over the country. He is not going to be just Colt Brennan, but Hawaii."
Brennan was sixth in the 2006 Heisman Trophy voting after he broke the NCAA single-season records for touchdown passes and passing efficiency and led the nation in most significant passing categories. He will be on the short list of Heisman candidates headed into 2007.
Jones said an expensive publicity campaign for college football's highest individual honor isn't necessary.
"That is a thing that takes care of itself. I think we don't have to do anything now because he's already on the list," Jones said. "Colt Brennan's probably already got invitations waiting for him. A lot depends on how we do as a team. But he'll certainly be deserving of anything that comes his way."
Athletic director Herman Frazier said the department will provide funding for some sort of Heisman campaign for Brennan.
"We'll do some things for him. Coach Jones is a team player in the department when it comes to the university. We will put together something for the young man. It's fitting and he deserves it," Frazier said.
Senior offensive lineman Hercules Satele said Brennan's announcement yesterday pumped energy into the Warriors.
"Everybody's started working out already. We're working hard either way, but now that we know he's coming back, we'll work even harder and get ready for that season," said Satele, UH's starting left guard.
Three of four starting receivers return from the nation's most prolific offense in 2006. But Satele and sophomore center John Estes are the only returning starters on the offensive line, with three players who got All-WAC mention gone. All-conference running back Nate Ilaoa also must be replaced.
Defensive leaders Ikaika Alama-Francis, Mel Purcell and Leonard Peters will also be missed.
But Brennan said the Warriors can build on the momentum of winning 10 of their last 11 games in 2006.
With their star quarterback returning to the fold, UH might enter the season as a Top 25 team for the first time in school history.
"The goals are just to create a great football team with great chemistry over the spring and summer and try to get the best football team we can. I'm not looking for stats or awards or anything like that. It's just about getting the best football team on the field," Brennan said.
"We have a chance to have a great football team and leave the program in a position to move forward. With me back and everyone excited about this program we can get some things going."