Colt Brennan: Last week was good. We kind of started off slow; it was the first week of camp. Practice is slow sometimes because you're a veteran. We're just trying to get the young guys caught up. Last week we got everything going. We were flying around, it was good to get out there. We're looking forward to a fun couple weeks of practice.
CS: Did you guys start two-a-days?
Brennan: We have two-a-days, but the NCAA says you can't have two, two-a-days in a row. So you go two-a-day, one-a-day and so on. We had a couple of two-a-days and we had one today and we're just getting ready.
CS: What's your practice schedule like right now?
Brennan: We'll have a two-a-day on Monday. We'll have one practice and a lot of meetings on Tuesday. It'll just rotate the rest of the week. Wednesday will be a two-a-day; Thursday we'll have one practice; Friday's a two-a-day, and Saturday we'll have one practice. We get Sundays off.
CS: Do you have any scrimmages coming up?
Brennan: Not really. We don't really scrimmage too much. We have more of an NFL practice; it's run by a lot of NFL coaches. The way we practice is pretty much how the NFL does it. We don't really go live or scrimmage too much. But I wouldn't be surprised to see the young kids and the second, third, and fourth string guys get in there and have a scrimmage at the end of camp.
CS: What have you been working on in camp thus far?
Brennan: Every year you can get better, all aspects of the game. I want to run the offense better. This offseason I worked a lot on my deep ball and I've been having a lot of success in camp already throwing downfield. It's the same stuff as always, but you're always looking to get better and better.
CS: This offseason you decided to put some weight on and get physically stronger. You said the weight was "good weight"… how did you feel this week in camp?
Brennan: I felt great. Ever since I was in high school, I went to five different schools in five years. It was like one season of football for every school I went to. I never spent some time at a school longer than a year. I don't know if it's me being a veteran or that I've been here for some time now, but my body has never felt better. My arm feels great and everything for me feels awesome right now.
Brennan: It's much different. It's similar in a way, but what's different is the atmosphere and the environment. We have an NFL-style coaching staff here in Hawaii. I'd say it's much more laid back. It just seemed like when I was at Colorado it was like boot camp. It was kind of what I experienced in high school. When I'm out here in Hawaii, it's more professional. Everyone treats you like an adult. Coach Jones treats us like adults. It's just different. It's all the same stuff, practice and meetings, it's all the same. The Hawaiian being is much different.
CS: How much freedom do you have in this offense? If a play is called in, does Coach Jones have the faith in you to change the play?
Brennan: The thing is we have everything built into our system, so we don't have to call audibles. What Coach Jones does is he puts all the responsibility on everybody. Instead of making the quarterback responsible for everything, he makes the receivers know every protection, every route adjustment. He makes the linemen know every check. And by doing that we're all on the same page. As far as our reads go, our passing routes, it's complicated for a quarterback. There's about fifty things a receiver, in total, you have to know that they can possibly do. But when I walk up to the line, I don't have to say anything or do anything. I just have to say hike and the receiver is supposed to know what to do. So it's kind of hand-in-hand. You have to learn harder reads and understand coverages. As far as running the system, from a quarterback's standpoint, the pressure is really off you and you're able to just drop back and swing it.
CS: We discussed your new center, John Estes, the last time we talked. How are things working out with him in camp?
Brennan: He got hurt, unfortunately, the first week. He hyperextended his elbow, so he's out most of practice. We got him back a little bit, he's just not going really hard right now. When he's been in there, he's fine. We have a lot of linemen with a lot of talent. The only problem is finding the right guys for the right positions. But as far as talent and depth, we have plenty of that.
CS: But having your timing with a starting center is crucial, isn't it?
Brennan: Yeah, it's definitely crucial, but luckily John is great. I had him last year and I have a lot of trust in him. He's got the snap down, so it isn't like he has to learn that. In this offense, a center has a lot of responsibility. There's not really much of a need for chemistry between the quarterback and center in this offense, as compared to other offenses. In some offenses, the quarterback and the center have to talk a lot and call audibles and stuff. In our offense, we don't have audibles, you just have to know what to do. We should be on the same page. I think things have gone really well so far.
CS: You lost your starting running back Nate Ilaoa (drafted by Philadelphia in the seventh round) to the NFL. How do you see your running game unfolding this season?
Brennan: We had two great running backs that were drafted into the NFL last year. As far as this year goes, we have a couple of different running backs. Last year, we had a really big guy who could run the ball. This year we have some smaller guys that can really fly. I think we'll be just as effective running the ball this year. In fact, we've put in more running plays this year than last year. I think it's just getting the right chemistry down. There are two guys, Kealoha Pilares and Leon Jackson, that are the best candidates right now. There are some other guys who give us some depth as well. I think we'll be fine at running back.
Brennan: No, not at all. Last year one of the biggest misconceptions was that we threw the ball a lot. I only averaged three more pass attempts per game than Brady Quinn. Last year we had one of the most efficient offenses in the history of college football. We had two running backs that averaged over seven yards per carry on the ground, and they were also incredible receivers. When you have that, it creates an unbelievable threat. You have no idea what it was like to watch defenses think, "What do we do? Do we drop back and cover the pass? Or do we come up and cover the run?" They couldn't cover either of them. We only punted the ball seven times last year because our offense hit on all cylinders. Even the games we lost we were putting up 30-something points, not to mention tons of total yards in offense. If you have a good running game, it makes the passing attack that much better. The more running plays means the better for me in the long run.
CS: So what else happened this week, just practice and team meetings?
Brennan: That's what camp is; it's all time-consuming stuff. You get up at seven in the morning and grab breakfast as fast as you can. You go to 8:30 a.m. practice and you're there for a little more than three hours. You have media after practice and after that you grab some lunch. You have an hour off and then it's back to meetings. If you have [positional] practice, you go back to practice. After practice or meetings you go to dinner. After you're done with dinner, you go back to meetings, and once meetings are over you go to bed. There is no free time. It's probably like this all across the country. We all do the same thing. It's just time consuming.
CS: Talk about being a veteran on this team. I am sure there are guys that look to you for guidance and leadership. How different is that role for you?
Brennan: The last two years I wasn't a captain, so I wasn't really a leader in that sense. We had a bunch of seniors that left last year and went on to NFL teams. Those guys were the majority of the leaders. This year I realize and a bunch of us realize that we have to lead this team. We've been doing everything we can to present the right kind of leadership for our team.
CS: Do you think the media attention you receive will be a distraction to your team?
Brennan: I don't think it will have much of an effect. To be honest with you, in Hawaii, we do have some people who come out here, but it's nothing big. It's not like I'd think it would be on the mainland. We don't really get caught up in it, because it's too mellow; it's relaxed out here. Your main focus out here is football. The media doesn't play much of a role out here at all.
CS: Does being away from the mainland help you in terms of just concentrating on football?
Brennan: I think in regards to the media and stuff like that, yeah, definitely. All the stuff you see on TV, the news and all of that, it seems like it's a day late. It seems like we're out of the loop. It gives you a chance to focus on what's in front of you and what's around you.
CS: What's up for next week? Is it much more of the same?
Brennan: Yeah it's the same exact schedule, nothing really changes. Monday, Wednesday, Friday are our two-a-days; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we have one-a-days and meetings in the afternoon. Sunday we're off.
CS: When does camp break and when does it get to a normal schedule?
Brennan: The end of this weekend is our last day of camp. Next week we start school and get back to a normal schedule.
|The former publisher of NFLDraftPro.com, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. He's also covered the NFL Draft for the Eagles' official website, PhiladelphiaEagles.com.|