UH eases into bowl mode
» Push to retire Brennan's 15
Are the Warriors getting restless?
They've been back at practice a week now, but Hawaii still has 12 days until its date with destiny and the Georgia Bulldogs at the Sugar Bowl.
Coach June Jones said the practices have been fine, and quarterback Colt Brennan echoed that.
"We're just taking our time now, we're not in any hurry," Brennan said after yesterday's 2-hour workout. "The offense has been doing well and I know the defense has been putting in some new stuff. We're just setting up the game plan right now."
If there's any concern, it's about starting slotbacks Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins. They're easing their way back, shaking off the effects of 12 weeks of absorbing hits from opposing defenders.
"I haven't had the first-team receivers at all yet," Brennan said. "I'm just waiting for the first-team guys to come back so we can have a normal practice."
The two All-WAC receivers ran some routes against air yesterday.
"I'm hoping they have three or four good practices with Colt before we leave (Tuesday) for New Orleans, for the sake of timing," receivers coach Ron Lee said.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
With Hawaii in the throes of Colt-mania, there is a movement afoot to retire Brennan's No. 15 jersey.
Push to retire Brennan’s 15
If his teammates and coach have their way, Colt Brennan will someday enter a very exclusive club. Peyton Manning, Ty Detmer and Steve Spurrier are members. Thomas Kaulukukui is the only Hawaii football player in the small group.
They've had their numbers retired, and it's one of the rarest honors in sports.
Kaulukukui's No. 32 is the only one held sacred and labeled not-for-use by current-day Warriors.
If Brennan's 15 doesn't join Kaulukukui's 32 as officially on the shelf, no other number probably will.
The Heisman Trophy finalist, who plays his final game for UH in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl, has smashed dozens of school, conference and national records. He has led Hawaii to its highest-ever national ranking, first outright WAC championship and an undefeated regular season.
Then there are Brennan's intangibles.
"His number should be retired, for what he's done for the state of Hawaii and what he's done for the football team," junior linebacker Solomon Elimimian said. "Not just wins and losses, but how he's touched people outside of football. He's such a giving person, with such a big heart. He'll never tell a teammate no. He's so humble, he reaches kids. He's such a good person, his heart.
"People ask Colt for a lot of things, and there's a lot of stress on him, but he never says no."
Largely due to Brennan's popularity, practices for the Sugar Bowl have had to be closed, something Warriors' coach June Jones had avoided doing except on rare occasions in his nine seasons here.
Brennan is usually a tireless autograph signer, but even he admits having reached a level of fatigue. During finals week fans waited outside his classes with bags of things for him to sign.
"I've been trying to avoid it, but you gotta do it. Obviously they want the autographs because you've done something good," he said yesterday. "It can only strengthen my arm."
A special session had to be created for Brennan and his teammates to sign autographs one last time before leaving on Christmas for the Sugar Bowl. It will be at noon Saturday at the UH soccer field, and it figures to be a mob scene.
One reason Brennan's teammates support him so much is that he deflects praise and emphasizes team over individual achievements. He lobbied WAC commissioner Karl Benson to create a special award for the UH receivers, and begged Jones to keep him off the ballot for WAC Offensive Player of the Year (which he won for the second year in a row).
"Colt's always been a team guy," Jones said. "It's not my decision. But I'm sure his number and Timmy's (Chang) will be retired someday. I don't know when, but I'm sure it will happen.
"You're talking about two guys maybe with records that won't be broken," Jones said, referring to Brennan's 58 touchdown passes last season and Chang's 17,072 career passing yards.
(There is no current Hawaii player with No. 14, which Chang wore from 2000 to 2004.)
UH has no set policy on retiring numbers, but will address the subject at some point after the Sugar Bowl.
"We have not discussed it yet, but it's been brought up to me by a few people," athletic director Herman Frazier said.
Sophomore linebacker Blaze Soares said perhaps the number retiring shouldn't stop with Brennan.
"He did some great things in Hawaii. I don't see why not. Without Colt Brennan we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did. I think he deserves it. But I think his wide receivers do, too," Soares said. "If you retire his number, I think you have to retire the wide receivers' too."
And that is one of the reasons retired numbers are such a rarity. Once you start, where do you stop?
If anyone does wear 15 for the Warriors in the future, he would have a lot to live up to.
"I feel like this '07 team is going to be remembered for a long time," Elimimian said. "And Colt Brennan is going to be remembered forever. He's done so much for us, that's the least we can do for him."