Tuesday, September 4, 2007


By: John Murphy

Hawaii senior quarterback Colt Brennan rolled out the first of what could be many unbelievable statistical performances against Northern Colorado. He passed for 416 yards and six touchdowns, while completing 34-out-of-40 passes, including 2-3 drops, and only played the first two quarters of the game. Head coach June Jones may have tried to call off the dogs early, but at this pace he will break 60 touchdown passes on the season to go along with roughly 5,000 yards. What you like most about his game is that he has a quick release, excellent arm strength and puts most of his balls right on the mark. His negatives are that he is somewhat slim-framed, is not playing in a pro-style attack, teams will wonder what type of footwork he will have under center and if he can be an effective deep ball passer at the next level. However, one thing that has come to light over the spring and into Week 1 is that Brennan is using his final year of eligibility to work on his leadership and intangibles as fellow players say he is now more of a vocal leader in the locker room and has very good command of the huddle, as well. He may still be seen by NFL evaluators as a product of the system he has been playing in, but with his head coach pushing him as being the best QB he has ever coached there is a chance that some NFL team will try for a 2-for-1 next season by drafting Brennan and bringing June Jones with him as their new offensive coordinator.

TCU senior defensive end Tommy Blake could make his return to the team and football field in time for this week’s match-up with in-state rival Texas as the two teams face off with the chance for the Horned Frogs to gain National attention with an upset win over the favored Longhorns. It is that very attention that may have led to a few recent days where Blake has opted to return home or shy away from all the lights, cameras, action of being a possible first-round choice in next year’s NFL Draft and decide to get rid of his phone to avoid the pestering of new found friends and agents. Blake is a great kid that has his family always near the front of his mind and returned to school to not only play with his senior class, but in order to earn his degree. He has had a few rough moments over the past few months with shouldering the load of future promises, possible scenarios and being the “Man” when he just wants to be one of the guys. So if you are reading this remember that Blake is not just a feared pass rusher that led his team in sacks and tackles for loss, but a 22-year old college senior with plenty on his plate and the desire to just exhale once in awhile without everyone else wanting to catch his breath for him.

Virginia Tech senior linebackers Vince Hall, who led the team with 13 tackles against East Carolina, and Xavier Adibi are two of the key components if the Hokies are to upset LSU on the road this weekend. Hall has very good instincts and plays faster than he times in workouts, but may be a step behind some of the Tigers offensive weapons as LSU has one of the fastest teams in the country man-for-man. Up front, the play of senior defensive end Chris Ellis will be key as the Tigers showed some vulnerability to giving up big plays to pass rushers off the edge even though they handled the Mississippi State defense for most of the evening last Thursday.

University of Miami defensive line was as dominant as ever in their opening week victory over Marshall. Junior defensive end Calais Campbell made an eye-opening interception that maybe only a handful of NFL defensive linemen could make; a one-handed interception on a pass after shedding a blocker at the line of scrimmage. He combined that big play with strong performances from fellow junior defensive end Eric Moncur and senior Vegas Franklin, who combined for 3.5 sacks and many more hurries from the outside. Moncur is the under-rated guy of this whole group as he may be as quick off the ball as any front seven defender in the country. At 6-foot-2, 255 pounds he has a compact frame and is very hard for opposing blockers to get a leverage advantage on him off the snap and then he flashes an explosive burst of closing speed to the quarterback that is saved for the likes of those sent to Hawaii at the end of NFL seasons. This group along with senior linebacker Tavares Gooden and junior safety Kenny Phillips could lead to a resurrection type victory over Oklahoma this coming week.

Vanderbilt junior wide receiver Earl Bennett and senior linebacker Jonathan Goff could very well be the best two players on the field Saturday afternoon when they host Alabama in one of the biggest games in recent school history. Why you might ask? The Commodores have more talent than usual, starting with Bennett who will complete his time in the SEC as the holder of all or most receiving records. Secondly, Goff leads a stout defender unit that is capable of stopping the run without crowding the box and has the speed and playmakers to create turnovers on the backside. Finally, they have a very friendly early schedule as they could run out to a 4-0 record with a win over the Crimson Tide and then have to find an upset road win down the stretch to earn a shot at a good bowl game.

N.C. State senior tight end Marcus Stone, who was once a much-heralded quarterback recruit, was one of only a few bright spots in the team’s Week 1 loss to Central Florida. He caught three passes for 67 yards, showing that his athleticism could allow him to adapt very well to his new position. NFL teams may view him as more of a motion tight end or H-Back type since he is 6-foot-2 and between 240-245 pounds, but he runs in the 4.6 range and has shown very good hands over a short period of time.