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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Can't wait to see these things this fall

By Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The WAC
Ivan Maisel
Mark Schlabach
Colt Brennan1. Tailback Ian Johnson of Boise State and quarterback Colt Brennan of Hawaii had the time of their young lives a year ago. They are being promoted as the WAC's Heisman candidates this season. It's one thing to learn how to negotiate defenses. It's quite another to deal with heightened expectations and the demands on their time. Let's see how they handle being watched.

2. Fresno State used up a few seasons' worth of bad breaks in 2006: missed kicks, two early one-point losses and a resultant loss of confidence added up to a 4-8 finish. September's road games at Texas A&M and Oregon don't bode well for a fast start. But you have to believe that Pat Hill's team will learn again how to take care of the ball (20 turnovers in 2006) and resurface near the top of the WAC.

3. Hal Mumme didn't become a head coach because he knows defense. That's too bad, because if New Mexico State figures out how to slow anybody down, quarterback Chase Holbrook will lead the Aggies to their first bowl game since 1960.
1. Can Boise State come close to matching its magical season of a year ago? The Broncos must find a new starting quarterback and replace its top receivers, as well as a couple of key performers on defense. But with tailback Ian Johnson and a veteran offensive line in place, Boise State has all the ingredients for a sixth consecutive WAC championship. The Broncos play Nevada and San Jose State at home, but play at WAC heavyweights Fresno State and Hawaii.

2. Did Colt Brennan make the right decision by returning to Hawaii? Not if the quarterback wanted soap in the locker room showers. Brennan has brought to light Hawaii's deficiencies in its bare-bone facilities and support. And the Warriors' schedule, which might include three Division I-AA opponents, might hurt his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy. He finished sixth in Heisman voting last season, then returned to school after declaring his intention of entering the NFL draft.

3. Is new Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley a chip off the old block? The son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, who guided the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship, Dooley was a somewhat surprising choice to replace Jack Bicknell at Louisiana Tech. But Dooley, who has a law degree and coached under Nick Saban at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, has strong ties to Louisiana. He spent most of his playing and coaching career working on offense, but the Bulldogs' defense must be completely overhauled.