Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a 10-part summer series rating the top D-I college football coaches in the country. From position coaches to head coach, Dennis Dodd and you, the community, will compile an All-Star team of the nation’s top 10 coaches. Next up: Offensive line. Vote now!
ATHENS, Ga. — Six months ago, underdog Hawaii traveled halfway around the world to play Georgia in the symbolic cradle of SEC power — the Sugar Bowl. It was Rodney Garner’s job to convince his defensive linemen that the game was going to be anything but a piece of poi for the Bulldogs.
“I told my guys, I don’t know if you all are tough enough,” Georgia’s defensive line coach said. “They’re going to put that war paint on. They don’t care. Those (Hawaii) kids thrived on intimidation. I’m sure our kids got tired of hearing that.”
You might say that. Four hours later, Hawaii’s dream season was, well, a dream and Colt Brennan’s livelihood, if not damaged, was altered. Consider that everybody’s favorite island quarterback not only was knocked down, he was knocked down in the draft. Brennan literally went from hot draft property to sixth-round pick, largely because of the treatment from Garner’s defensive line. The Junkyard Dawgs went old school in harassing the Heisman finalist. Brennan was sacked eight times, suffered three interceptions and basically never had time to set his feet.