CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
On the first day of UH football practice yesterday, Colt Brennan horsed around before the start of the team's session. Behind him is Malcolm Lane.
As UH football opens camp, the team is focused on not letting media hype distract from goals
Hawaii's Heisman Trophy candidate wants to let everyone know he's still one of the boys.
Quarterback Colt Brennan's talent goes beyond an uncanny ability to throw a football and win games. It's his style to not alienate less famous teammates.
His dreadlocks symbolize that commitment. UH's four starting receivers -- Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullins, CJ Hawthorne and Jason Rivers -- all wear their hair in that fashion.
"I got bullied into it by all my teammates. With all the media hype, every time I open the paper, I see my face on it," Brennan said at yesterday's first practice of fall camp. "This was just one of those opportunities where I could let everybody know I'm not getting too caught up in the hype. I've still got no problem humiliating myself."
UH opened camp with a preseason ranking for the first time in school history. The No. 24 Warriors are proud of their new status, but they know one loss will knock them out.
"We need to forget about all that stuff now," coach June Jones said. "It's time to worry about what we're doing, and not what somebody's saying about us or what's going on around us. ... We're 0-0 right now."
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH football coach June Jones watched yesterday as players ran their 220s, a fitness test all players must pass at the start of camp.
Brennan, Estes build chemistry
It's basic and simple. But if it goes wrong, nothing good can happen. No long runs, no first downs, no touchdowns.
The center has to get the ball to the quarterback.
The snap should be, well ... a snap. Right?
It's not always as easy as it looks, even among the best athletes. Sometimes a center will snap the ball wildly, or a quarterback will drop one. Just as often, a bad snap is the result of the players not being on the same page mentally.
Sophomore John Estes will be Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan's third starting center in three years. Yesterday, after UH's first practice of fall camp, the two said their timing and their confidence in each other is coming along well and they'll be ready to roll for the Sept. 1 opener against Northern Colorado.
Estes' and Brennan's snaptitude is assumed, but important. It's a key to No. 24 Hawaii coming close to or repeating its record-breaking offensive performance of last fall. There was nary a bad snap between Samson Satele -- now the starting center of the Miami Dolphins -- and Brennan.
"As far as me and John Estes, we have a great relationship. He started on the O-line last year, so I have a lot of confidence in him," Brennan said. "Right now it's all preliminary -- we're just walking through. As we move into camp we'll improve our relationships with all our linemen and running backs so that they're happy to block for us.
"John's a very humble and hungry kid. I'm really happy that he's at the center position. As practice progresses throughout the summer we're going to become closer."
Estes started all 14 games at right guard last season as UH led the nation in scoring and passing offense. He was an All-Northern California center at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif.
"We probably did 75 percent shotgun," said Estes, who was the center for Willie Tuitama, currently Arizona's starting quarterback.
Despite his familiarity with the position, Estes said it will take some time to develop timing with Brennan, as well as proficiency with the line calls -- which is just as important as the snap relationship.
"With every center and every quarterback it's different. Sam snaps the ball different than I do. We've just got to get used to each other," Estes said. "(Brennan's) voice, too. I'm somewhat used to it from playing guard last year."
Estes and Brennan practice their snaps before each practice.
Also, since his redshirt season two years ago, Estes has studied plenty of tape to learn all of UH's blocking schemes and audibles.
"At first it's complicated," Estes said. "My head was swimming when I first came here, even last year. First couple games I busted a couple times. That's learning.
"Even now, I'll make a mistake here and there. That's no big deal, as long as you don't make them in the games."