Chris Steuber: How much of an honor was it to be selected to the Senior Bowl?
Colt Brennan: For me it was a tremendous honor. I come from one of the smaller schools and this Bowl is supposed to be for the top seniors in the country. Just to be invited was a great honor. I had a great week down here. I loved meeting all of the great guys from all over the country. Everyone says that this is it, it’s the next step to the next level. It was a great experience and I loved it.
CS: The start of the week was a little controversial for you weighing in at just 185 pounds. How did you handle that situation, and was it blown out of proportion?
Brennan: It was tough, but when I walked in to get weighed everyone was talking about my weight before I even got here. They said I was skinny and that I needed to get bigger. The fact that I weighed in light really wasn’t a surprise to me or anyone else. But now it was justified that I was kind of light. I felt heavier than that at the end of the week, and I’d guarantee right now that I’d be around 190 – 195. I was coming off of a stomach flu, which some of the players down here experienced, and it was bad timing for me. The good news is that this is the least important weigh in. The next two weigh-ins are the most important. If my weight is up by then, not only will it show my work ethic, but people will be happy.
CS: You had a slow start to the week in Mobile, but got more comfortable as the week progressed. What was the cause for the slow start?
Brennan: I think everyone had their own progression down here. Everybody said that their worst day was probably going to be one of the first days. I had a great seven-on-seven the first day, but I kind of struggled in other stuff. On Tuesday, we did routes vs. air trying to get timing down. But as you progress and keep doing it and getting more experience, you get more confidence. Once I started having success, I built off of that. Also on Tuesday, we did seven-on-seven and other team stuff, and I had success. I was really excited about Wednesday. I felt really good after Wednesday and I knew on Thursday that I really wanted to put it all together, because it was our last day of practice. I felt that I went out and did a good job on Thursday and made things happen.
Brennan masks himself from defenders.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
CS: How much of an advantage is it to have pro coaches coach you and be put into an NFL system during the Under Armour Senior Bowl week?
Brennan: That’s huge, because if you don’t have the opportunity to play in this game, your first NFL mini camp is your first experience [around NFL coaches]. The Senior Bowl was sort of like a minicamp in a sense. We got a taste of what the NFL is like, and I think that’s going to help me be prepared when I hopefully get drafted and move onto the next level.
CS: What was it like being coached by 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz, and how does his system utilize your strengths?
Brennan: I really enjoyed Coach Martz’s system. One thing I think that helps is that it’s a numbers system. If you know the route tree, you’ll have a good idea of what to do. We were only seeing Cover 1 and Cover 3 this week with no blitz, so it makes things simple. Coming from my offense, we would never see Cover 1 and Cover 3, because we’d kill it. Just knowing what I come from and how I’d prepare for those defenses, and being in a numbers system and knowing each route when I hear it in the huddle, I walk up to the line knowing where I want to go with the ball.
CS: What was the biggest adjustment or challenge that faced you each day in practice sessions?
Brennan: I think playing within the system. At Hawaii, I had so much confidence, and I’d do a lot of things on my own, and I would implement things Coach Jones taught me. Towards the end of the week in practice there were two plays where I got into my old habits, although it wasn’t detrimental, it wasn’t what the coach was teaching us. For instance, I was trying to throw a back shoulder route on a fade route, instead of just throwing it up. Then I tried to pump a flat and up in the endzone when I had a guy dragging across the middle wide open. As long as I stayed within the system and did what I’ve been taught, I was hoping to be consistent and efficient during the game.
CS: Being around all of these great players this week, what have you learned about your game, and what do you think you still need to improve on?
Brennan: The one thing that I learned is that I feel like I belong. Being out there making plays, doing good things, that is something I can definitely do. I had confidence throughout the week. I like the fact that they balanced the playing field for everyone, so that they can compare everyone on the same level. I really enjoyed that and blossomed during the week and felt I got better each day.
CS: You and Florida WR Andre Caldwell had great chemistry all week at practice in Mobile. What was it about his game that either compared to the receivers you had at Hawaii or his game in general that made you comfortable?
Brennan: He’s really smooth in his routes. You can anticipate where he’s going to be really well. It just so happened when I was watching film I realized that it seemed I was always throwing to Caldwell. Now, it has to do sometimes with the safeties dropping out of coverage, but whenever I looked his way we had great chemistry, and I knew where he liked the ball.
CS: What is your impression of the entire scene at the Senior Bowl? Everyday you guys had to perform at the highest level in front of pro scouts, deal with team representatives and media after practice, and sign autographs for every fan that approached you. How were you able to handle all of these demands?
Brennan: It’s funny, because when you go to a school like Hawaii you kind of forget what all the other schools have to go through. I realized how much we had to overcome playing in Hawaii. The team meetings and the media requests weren’t that difficult to get through. In fact I’ve enjoyed it. In Hawaii, the structure wasn’t there. It felt like you had to over compensate for a lot of the resources that weren’t there for you. We did a lot of traveling, and it felt like we were always entering different time zones. But to come out here for a week like this and work through a slow progression where in the beginning it was hard and then it got easier at the end of the week, I think it was really nice and everyone got adjusted. For me it was awesome, and when I get to the NFL with all the resources every team has, it will be a lot easier for me to handle.
CS: Talk about the interview process at the Senior Bowl. How many teams did you meet with, what were the discussions like, and did anyone show more interest than another in hopes of reconvening at the Combine?
Brennan: There were a lot of teams that I met with; I’d say I met with 15 – 20 teams over the three-day interview process. I walked away feeling very strong in some areas and not so strong in other interviews. There was really only one interview I walked away from wondering how it went. I kind of questioned it; I couldn’t get a feel for it. Every other interview I went in on, my agents and I got great feedback. They said I did a great job through the interview process and that I was well prepared. As long as I maintain that and do a good job when I get to the Combine, obviously it’s going to help me.
Brennan tries to escape traffic in Saturday’s Senior Bowl.
CS: How much of a factor was the weather in Saturday’s game?
Brennan: The weather could have been better, but when you play football you have to play in all kinds of weather. You have to be able to play through that stuff. I just had a lot of bad luck happen to me last night. I couldn’t really get anything going. Things like this happen sometimes — that’s football. But from everything that I’ve heard, they (scouts) don’t read into this game too much. It was a chance for me to improve my game and my draft stock, but unfortunately I wish I could have done more during the game.
CS: Tell me about the interception you threw on your opening drive; the pass that was intended for Kentucky TE Jacob Tamme. He was double-covered, and Penn State LB Dan Connor was able to undercut the route and get in front of Tamme. What did you see on that play that made you decide to challenge the defense?
Brennan: I was trying to squeeze the ball in between two defenders and the linebacker broke on the ball. The ball kind of ricocheted and it ended up in his hands. Luckily, I wasn’t the only quarterback who turned over the ball last night. I think there were eight turnovers in the game and a couple of quarterbacks threw some interceptions. In an all-star game like this you have to make the best of what you’re given, and I wish I could have done a little bit more. I don’t think this game will be too detrimental to me. I think it will be detrimental to me in how media people look at it, but I think when the coaches and scouts and people who know football look at it, they will think this week helped me and not hurt me.
CS: You did have one positive drive; the third drive you operated in the first quarter where you led the South squad past midfield. On that drive, you executed a great misdirection pitch to Tulane RB Matt Forte. Forte got around the end, but turned the ball over. What were your thoughts on that drive?
Brennan: I finally got something going on that drive, but unfortunately the running back fumbled the ball after a nice run. That’s the all-star game. There’s a lot of that’s stuff going on. I feel like I was the guy who had the most to prove, because of where I came from and the system I played in, so everyone was looking at me and wanted to see what I could do out there. I’m not saying things went bad, but not everything went well for me.
CS: This was an all-star game and a lot of it is based on individual play, but your team staged a great comeback and got a last-second victory. How good did it feel to get a win and share that moment with the top players in the country?
Brennan: That was cool. It was a great ending to a fun week. I thought our team had great chemistry and we got a long really well, and to see us win the game like that was a lot of fun.
CS: How did the UA Senior Bowl prepare you for the coming weeks as you get ready for the Combine?
Brennan: The interview process definitely prepares you. It gives you a great look at what you’re going to go through at the Combine. I’ve gotten to know a lot of scouts and coaches and had the opportunity to speak with them. You also get a feel for what teams are looking for. This is a huge thing for guys, especially guys who are not considered to be top picks in the draft, guys who are trying to move their draft stock up. If you come in here and embrace the situation and do a lot of good things, it prepares you that much more for the Combine and hopefully elevates your draft status.
CS: Now that your week in Mobile has concluded, what’s next on the agenda for Colt Brennan?
Brennan: I’m competing in the Quarterback Challenge this week at the Super Bowl. I’m going to try to hit some targets and maybe win a TV or something. After that, it’s right back to training. Hopefully I can get my weight up to about 200 before the Combine. I have four weeks of training to polish up on my footwork under center. I’m going to take what I learned this week and build on it and show up at the Combine and have a great workout. I’m going to just concentrate on the things I need to do to get people interested in me and get teams wanting to draft me.
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.