Summer usually means loose lips
SAN JOSE, Calif. » In late July, college football coaches and players are relaxed and willing to talk. Some are even whimsical. Here are the most interesting and amusing quotes to come out of the first day of the Western Athletic Conference Football Media Preview:
» Hawaii coach June Jones tried to explain quarterback Colt Brennan's uncanny accuracy as a passer. Coaching or a higher power?
"It's God-given. You can improve a quarterback's technique, his fundamentals. But when you get under pressure you go back to what comes naturally and you either hit the guy or you don't.
"Jeff George, Dan Marino and Colt are the only guys I've seen sometimes release the ball and their right foot is off the ground."
What's the significance, the right foot off the ground?
"I don't know what it means, but I'm gonna start looking for it in high school (recruits)."
» Boise State coach Chris Petersen was asked the origin of running back Ian Johnson's skills.
"I think it comes from the head coach. (big smile). It's God-given. There's probably less coaching in terms of running the ball rather than anything else. Instincts have to take over and he has great instincts. He's strong and plays bigger than he is."
» Jones again, on UH's improved depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.
"Over the last few years we've gotten deeper. We're losing three offensive linemen to the NFL, but I think we'll be OK. The first year we had five guys on the offensive line. If we lost one we're done. The next guy wouldn't have played at Grant High School (Jones' alma mater in Portland, Ore.)."
» Colt Brennan is a big Bob Marley fan, so that might have something to do with his new hairstyle. But he said he fashioned his straight blond hair into dreadlocks to bond with starting receivers Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullins, CJ Hawthorne and Jason Rivers, who all sport dreads.
"They thought I would never do it. They think I'm some prissy boy."
» Louisana Tech first-year coach Derek Dooley on spending the past two years as an assistant with the Miami Dolphins:
"Going to the NFL is like getting a Ph.D. in X's and O's. You're inventing stuff to do to justify your job. I enjoyed the NFL. The misconception is (pros are) hard to coach. Actually they're easier than college players. More mature and motivated. Other than one or two guys, they do everything you say and they do it well."
» Here's Dooley again, on his former job. He was an attorney.
"I won a couple of cases. And I got my ass kicked a few times. Kind of like football."
» Dick Tomey tried to explain his San Jose State Spartans' breakout season.
"Did I think we were going to win nine games in our second year? The answer is no.
"It's our (assistant) coaches and players who maximized their capability. We sucked every bit of blood from that turnip."
» Idaho's new coach, Robb Akey, is overjoyed that the Vandals' Kibbie Dome is finally getting a new FieldTurf-like surface and players no longer have to worry about staph infections and other injuries.
"The AstroTurf is history. It crawled out on its own."
» Hal Mumme of New Mexico State is an unashamed fan of Jones' offensive style.
"When we do things we try to emulate Hawaii a lot. June and I have a lot of the same ideas offensively. We study and admire them a lot."
» Fresno State coach Pat Hill said his team is ready to bounce back strongly from last year's 4-8 season.
"Hungry dogs hunt best. In any sport."
» Someone pointed out to Petersen that Boise State is 0-12 in road games against BCS conference opponents.
"Does Oklahoma count?"