Big Breazeale relishes role of underdog
Dominic Breazeale has something critics contend Colt Brennan needs, but will never possess: 6 feet and 6 inches of height.
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Size certainly does matter in football. But the tale of the measuring tape is the only area in which the Northern Colorado quarterback has an edge over the Hawaii candidate for the Heisman Trophy. The Division I-AA Bears take on the No. 23 Warriors at Aloha Stadium on Saturday.
At 6-6 and 260 pounds, Breazeale has that big-time quarterback physical stature. But Brennan, at 6-3 and 205, has everything else going for him -- including one of the finest seasons in college football history when he passed for an NCAA record 58 touchdowns last year.
Meanwhile, Breazeale passed for just two TDs and was picked off nine times last year as Northern Colorado went 1-10.
But Breazeale doesn't mind dreaming of outdoing Brennan and leading his team -- a 59-point underdog in some corners -- to a huge upset.
"I don't want to say I'll upset his (Heisman) candidacy, but I would like to have an effect on it," Breazeale said in a teleconference yesterday.
He said he likes the underdog role.
"It's going to be a great deal, a great way to start my senior season," said Breazeale, who said he drew interest from West Virginia, UCLA and San Diego State out of Alhambra High School (Calif.) before going to Mt. SAC State and transferring to UNC last year.
Hope for Soares
Starting outside linebacker Blaze Soares left the practice field smiling yesterday -- he still had a shot at playing Saturday.
"If he goes full-speed tomorrow, he'll play. If not we'll hold him out," UH coach June Jones said.
Jones said he would evaluate Soares on tape and make a decision.
Duff (on the) field
The long-awaited on-field debut of UH graduate assistant Terry "Duff" Duffield finally occurred yesterday.
A "bureaucratic thing" kept him out of fall camp, said Duffield, who completed work on a bachelor's degree over the summer, qualifying him for the GA post.
Duffield, known for his recruiting skills, said he will be working on-field with the cornerbacks -- and whatever else is asked of him.
"There's no ego issues. I'm here to do exactly what I'm told," Duffield said.
At least two Bears projected to start on defense are out.
Senior starting linebacker Asa Mathews won't play because of academics, UNC coach Scott Downing told reporters. Mathews was in on 56 tackles in 2006.
"We'll miss Asa's athleticism, but we've got three junior linebackers who have played quite a bit of football," Downing said.
Also, starting cornerback Aaron Henderson will not play for an undisclosed reason, but is making the trip, UNC media relations director Heather Kennedy said. Henderson led the Bears with three interceptions last year.
Running back Jeff Vaden has an undisclosed injury. He might play Saturday.
Gerard Lewis and Brad Kalilimoku achieved a practice rarity yesterday of back-to-back interceptions in 7-on-7 drills. Lewis got Tyler Graunke and Kalilimoku picked Colt Brennan -- both on athletic plays where they looked like wide receivers. ... UH running back Leon Wright-Jackson played for Downing when the UNC coach mentored special teams at Nebraska two years ago. "Leon's a great guy and we had a lot of fun with him. I hope he remembers that if he's in the middle of a long run against us." ... Oregon defensive back Jameel Dowling (6-3, 202) watched practice and said he is transferring to UH. He has a year of eligibility left and can play in games in 2008.
Billy Hull of the Star-Bulletin contributed to this report.