Colt Brennan, Hawaii Pose Unique Challenge To No. 4 Georgia

Georgia's primary challenge in the Sugar Bowl will be contining Hawaii's run-and-shoot attack

Dec. 3, 2007

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - While most Georgia coaches and players focused on the numbers in the BCS standings that kept the No. 4 Bulldogs out of the national championship game, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez probably moved right on to a more staggering set of statistics.

That would be the offense generated by quarterback Colt Brennan his Hawaii teammates.

"I'm not sure coach Martinez will sleep tonight," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday after the bowl matchups were released. "The numbers are very, very impressive and imposing even."

Georgia's primary challenge in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl will be trying to contain Hawaii's run-and-shoot attack.

Brennan, a Heisman Trophy candidate who on Monday earned his second consecutive Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the year award, is the NCAA career leader with 131 touchdown passes.

Some Georgia players may remember June Jones' pass-happy attack as the Atlanta Falcons' coach from 1994-96. Now Jones' offense has lifted No. 10 Hawaii to its highest national ranking and biggest bowl game.

Hawaii leads the nation with 46.2 points per game. Brennan, a senior, ranks second in the nation in total offense after passing for 4,174 yards with 38 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Richt said Troy was the only team on Georgia's schedule which comes close to matching Hawaii's commitment to the passing game.

"Troy doesn't do it as good as Hawaii, but Troy does throw the ball an awful lot and they did spread it out quite a bit," Richt said. "I'd say half of their offense was throwing little quick screens behind the line of scrimmage ... whereas Hawaii has short, medium and deep-ball opportunities.

"Brennan has thrown more touchdown passes than anybody in the history of the world, the college world anyway. No one does it quite like coach Jones' team does it."

Three Hawaii receivers rank among the top eight in the nation in receptions per game. Each of the three has more than 1,000 yards this season.



"I think when you throw it as often as they do, you're definitely going to get yards and you're going to get completions," Richt said. "But they're also getting points to go with it."

More teams in recent years have used formations with as many as four receivers in certain obvious passing situations. The run-and-shoot regularly employs four or more receivers, putting a serious strain on a defense's depth at cornerback.

"If we're having success and doing things right, it really can put a defense in a bind, no matter who you are," Brennan said Monday in a telephone interview. "We've never been stopped. We only have stopped ourselves.

"If we make the right reads and the right adjustments, I don't think anybody can stop us."

Georgia safety Kelin Johnson said he expects Hawaii's offense also will test the Bulldogs' depth at defensive end - rushing the passer on every down will be exhausting.

"We're going to have to keep the legs fresh on the D-line because they're going to be tired," Johnson said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see some of our linebackers lining up on the edge for this game, just to keep fresh legs."

Brennan called Georgia "a monster" team.

"I'm expecting a dogfight," Brennan said. 'I'm expecting a great defense to show up and make us earn everything."

Hawaii's offense also will challenge Georgia's offense to sustain drives to keep its defense fresh.

"We know Hawaii can put up a lot of points in a hurry," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "We've got to come out and play good to give ourselves a chance to win."

Stafford said the run-and-shoot looks "pretty fun" for a quarterback and said Brennan has mastered the offense.

"He's awesome," Stafford said of Brennan. "He's got a great release, a quick release. ... He does it really well. It looks good because he runs it and makes it look good."