Chris Steuber: Tell me about this past week's game against UNLV. You guys really dominated.
Colt Brennan: With us having a whole week to get acclimated to the mainland and not really having much to do, it really helped us prepare for UNLV. By the time we arrived in Vegas on Friday, seeing all of those UH (Hawaii) fans there just rejuvenated us. We had our game plan down and executed and took care of business.
CS: This was an unusual game for you. You had three rushing and two passing touchdowns. It's usually the other way around. What made this game so different?
Brennan: (Laughs). It was just a situational thing. What's crazy is that I kind of popped my ankle before the game, so I was kind of playing on a bum ankle. We got taken down on the one-inch line three times -- actually twice. I ran an option play on the third touchdown, which was from three yards out. It just seemed like the right thing to do, to QB sneak it, being that close to the end zone. We did that, and it was successful both times. Later on in the game, we were driving down the field again and I ran an option and I decided to keep it [for the touchdown]. It was cool to execute those plays when I was injured and score three touchdowns on the ground.
CS: You hurt your leg? How does it feel right now?
Brennan: It's really, really sore. I sprained it the day before the game. They just shot it up and I went out and played on it. I went out there and just acted like it didn't hurt. I'm now feeling the after-effects of that, and it's just really sore. I've been rehabbing it, and hopefully I'll be ready for Saturday, but we'll have to wait and see.
CS: What exactly happened to your leg?
Brennan: I was warming up in our walk-through the day before the game, and I jumped up to catch a ball and when I came down, my ankle just turned and popped. It just gave out. It swelled up into a big ball while there were 15 NFL Scouts looking on. It was pretty scary for a second. I didn't even practice. I just iced it down the whole day on Friday and that night. I rehabbed it as much as I could on Saturday and shot it up before the game, and I went out and played.
Brennan: Yeah, it was really scary at first. I was just messing around at the beginning of practice and I went up to catch a ball and I came down and heard a loud pop. Everyone was looking at me and thinking, "What did this idiot do?" I was really hurt. My ankle really swelled up and I had to get all of this treatment. I had over 100 family and friends attending the [UNLV] game, so I was stressing. I knew I had to get on that field no matter what.
CS: Did you feel any effects from your ankle during the game, or was it more after the game?
Brennan: It was more on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday when I really felt the effects. On Saturday I was numb, and it felt great. But because I stretched it out so much on Saturday night [during the game], these last few days I've really felt the after-effects.
CS: Did you get an MRI on it to check for further damage?
Brennan: Yeah, I got an MRI. It's a mild sprain on a joint. Even though it's mild sprain, it's pretty puffy. It's not really black and blue anymore; the colors have pretty much faded. It's just kind of swollen and sore.
CS: Did Coach Jones know that you were hurting?
Brennan: Yeah, and we did a good job of hiding my injury from UNLV. But if you watched the game, you'd see this giant moon boot on my right foot. You could tell by that and the way I was walking that I was hurt. That probably threw the defense off. They probably didn't expect a QB sneak twice on the one-inch line.
CS: UNLV got on the board first in the game, scoring a quick seven points halfway through the first quarter. What were your thoughts, and was it reminiscent of the Louisiana Tech game?
Brennan: The week before, LA Tech was up 14-nothing in the first quarter. I think what the LA Tech game did for us is show us even if you're up 14 or 21 points on us, we're not going to panic. We realize that there are four quarters to play in a football game, and our offense can score at any point in a game. We realize that if we play a full four quarters, we'll be fine.
CS: After UNLV scored the first points of the game, you guys really took over throughout. You scored 35 consecutive points, stemming from the end of the first quarter to the middle of the third quarter. Talk about the confidence your offense had at that point.
Brennan: The last two games we went three-and-out on our first drive, and I can't begin to tell you how much that pisses off an offense like ours. That really makes us angry. We bounced back really fast and scored. Also, our defense did a great job of adjusting and holding them [UNLV] down. We got some great field position, and we were able to take advantage. Our offense works really well with our defense. I think when you work well with your defense, your defense is going to go out there and stop them [opposing offense] and get the ball for you. We got some great field position and were able to close the game out in the third quarter.
CS: Your passing numbers were outstanding; completing 26-of-32 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. I guess it's safe to say that your receivers were open all night?
Brennan: We actually played really conservative. I asked Coach [Jones] to open it up, but because I was having issues with my leg, we just played it conservative. We just took what they gave us and executed. We ran the ball a lot more in this game. Our running backs had a lot more chances to make things happen. It was a lot of fun. We've been so pass-happy the first couple of games, for us to come out and run the ball with success throws a wrinkle in how defenses are going to try to stop us down the road.
CS: What's the deal for this week? You guys are playing Division 1-AA Charleston Southern. Is this a game you may sit out?
Brennan: If I can go, I'll go. If it's not ready, then my backup Tyler [Graunke] will get the call. I'll have to go along with that. He's a great QB. He was the starter before I got here. He'd be able to fill in really nice and have a good day.
CS: So going into this week, what are you preparing for?
Brennan: I'm going in expecting to play. I'm going in expecting to get my reps. I want to get in [on Saturday] and get out and hopefully let the other guys finish the game for us. But we can't take anyone lightly; we can't afford that, especially with all the positives happening for us. It's all business, and I'm getting ready to play this week. Also, the main thing is to look at the big picture. If it means to sit out one week and be 100-percent for Idaho [who they play in two weeks], rather then play this game and be 85-percent the next six weeks; I've got to do what's best for the team and myself.
CS: This seems like a game that you could take the opportunity to sit out and heal up.
Brennan: Oh definitely, this could be that game. It's tough, because you don't want to present the wrong picture. You don't want to take anyone too lightly. But I have to wait and see how the ankle feels.
CS: But, with Appalachian State defeating Michigan in Week 1, I guess you never know when your presence may be needed?
Brennan: Exactly. I knew that for the UNLV game. I knew me being out there with one good ankle would mean a lot, especially if I was making plays compared to if I wasn't playing at all. I knew I could make plays on one foot.
CS: That's something new for you, right, being involved in QB sneaks?
Brennan: I think that's a stereotype. People say that I don't run much, or that I'm not really good on my feet. But that's kind of a joke considering I didn't have one run play called for me last year and I had 400 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the ground. If you watch some film, you'll see that I run the ball a lot.
CS: Obviously you've been hampered by your leg injury, but what have you guys been working on this week at practice?
Brennan: Just going back to the basics. Half of our team hasn't been with us because we've been on the road for twelve days. It's weird to come back and see all the rest of the guys that are on our team. But getting back to practice, there are so many little things that we can do better. We just have to fine-tune a few things. We're getting some of the younger guys back to practice this week, and it's fun to have things back to normal. I haven't been able to practice this week, and I probably won't be able to until later in the week.
CS: Being on the road, you didn't have to attend class. How does it feel to be back at school and having to catch up on some work you may have missed?
Brennan: It's nice to come back to school now. It was a nice warm welcome back to school, because we moved up in the rankings, and there are a lot of positive things going on. But I spent all day Monday tying up some loose ends; seeing all my teachers, running around. I'm sure all the other guys were in the same boat.
CS: After spending 12 days on the mainland, what did you guys appreciate the most about your experience?
Brennan: I think we appreciate our home that much more. It was a good learning experience being on the road and learning how to travel. The best part was that we all went to see a movie on Thursday night. It was a lot of fun; the whole team went, so that was a great experience. The way that it ended, going to UNLV up in Vegas and having over 20,000 UH fans -- more UH fans than UNLV fans -- in the stadium going nuts, it was a crazy experience. To have a big game like that was just awesome for our team, and it will give us a lot of momentum for the rest of the season.
CS: Hawaii is now ranked 19th in the country and with some lesser quality teams coming up on your schedule, do you think that may hurt your chances of moving up in the rankings?
Brennan: It might, but man, who has anyone played? It seems like everyone is playing these 1-AA teams, we're not the only team doing that. The difference is we're not in the Big Ten or the Big Twelve, or any of the big conferences. But the other thing is we're blowing out teams and we're taking care of business. Whatever the case is, it's all about the "Ws." If we just keep winning -- and keep winning the way we're winning -- I think we will prove ourselves and get some respect.
CS: Tell me about Charleston Southern and the game you will be hosting this weekend.
Brennan: They're a team that's kind of had an up-and-down year. We're excited to be home and all the guys are excited to play in front of our home crowd again. The hope is to get some of our young guys in there and give them some game experience. That's pretty much how we're looking at this game. I don't want to overlook this opponent by any means, but we understand what's in front of us and will try to take a business-like mentality into this week.
CS: What disadvantages do you guys have when you travel east and what advantage do you have when a team travels to Hawaii?
Brennan: For us it's a huge advantage, because it's our home crowd --
just like anywhere else. You talk about teams on the road in reference to the
SEC, Big Ten, Big Twelve; going on the road for them is going on an hour plane
ride. For us, the road is six or seven hours no matter what, so the script flips
when a team comes out to play us at home. They have to take on what we have to
take on. The only thing that sucks is that when you go east you lose time, and
all of these teams that are coming west are gaining time. For instance, they're
not waking up at 3 a.m. their time to go and play a football game, they're just
sleeping in, waking up, and playing a football game. I don't think it's that
much of a difference coming out to Hawaii, so they might as well enjoy
themselves when they're out here.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.