Michael Brewer says he and fellow Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege have become good friends during Brewer’s 20 months in Lubbock.
That’s one reason Brewer’s rooting for Doege to have a sensational senior year.
Here’s another reason: If Doege lights up opposing defenses, especially in non-conference games, Brewer will have a better chance to play. Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown has said over the spring and summer that he wants to get his redshirt-freshman backup some experience before next year.
“Some of our non-conference games, if we can take care of business and get ahead of some folks, we’re hoping that I can come in and get some experience and some real live action out there,” Brewer said. “As far as the packages go, we haven’t talked about that a whole bunch. That’ll be more of a game-week decision. My main focus right now is being as well-prepared as I possibly can when I’m in the game.”
The decisions by backup quarterbacks Jacob Karam and Scotty Young to transfer after last season — Karam is now the starter at Memphis — left a gap in Tech’s quarterback progression. After Doege, a 4,000-yard passer who turns 24 in December, the oldest scholarship quarterback on the roster is Brewer, who turns 20 in November.
“I think it’s important, and hopefully it works out, where he can get some action early in games,” Brown said recently. “I think he’s ready. He gets better with the more reps he gets. There’s only so much you can do in practice. The most intense learning happens in a game atmosphere.”
The Red Raiders’ quarterback situation — and Brown’s wishes — might fit the model that former Big 12 foe Missouri has used for nearly a decade to break in promising young quarterbacks.
In 2005, when the Tigers were led by senior quarterback Brad Smith, they gave true freshman Chase Daniel spot duty in 10 games. In 2008, as Daniel was breaking Smith’s school record for career total offense, they used true freshman Blaine Gabbert in five games.
In 2010, Gabbert’s last year before he turned pro and became a high draft choice, the Tigers worked in true freshman James Franklin in 10 games.
Brown hasn’t mapped out anything that specific, other than he doesn’t want Brewer standing next to him on the sideline all night when Tech plays Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico to start the season.
“I don’t have a number of reps or anything like that,” Brown said. “I do know I’d like for him to get in some games early in the year.”
That sounds good to Brewer, who was beside himself last season, watching the Red Raiders go 5-7 while he redshirted. He had been the starting quarterback on two of what’s now five consecutive state championship teams from Austin Lake Travis.
“Last year was hard for me,” Brewer said. “I’ve never had to sit out a football season before. Being a redshirt freshman and this year being a second-team guy, it’s tough. Coming from what we did at Lake Travis High School and then having the season we did last year was tough to watch.
“Like I said, I’m going to be prepared whenever I get to go in the game, and whenever I do I’m going to make the most of my opportunities.”
Brewer said he’s progressed and gotten a good grasp of the offense, now that he’s had two trips apiece through spring practice and preseason camp. Last season, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville and Brown had him travel and suit up for road games. Though there were no plans to play Brewer, he got to see game day on the road in Big 12 stadiums.
Physically, the 6-foot Brewer has put on about 20 pounds since he first joined the program to get to the current 191.
Brewer said his biggest improvements have come in mental aspects of the game. Spending so much time around Brown and Doege — in meetings, studying film on his own and with Doege — has accelerated his development.
The starting quarterback has been one of his biggest helpers.
“Obviously, Seth has a responsibility being the number-one quarterback and making sure this program runs smoothly,” Brewer said. “But at the same time, Seth and I are really good friends off the field. We hang out a lot.
“Being around him and getting a good grasp of his take on things and how he does stuff — the mental aspect of the game, how he studies film and handles practice — that’s helped me out a lot. I think it’s really going to help me in the future.”
To comment on this story: