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Preview: Brewers time to shine

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The benefits of Kliff Kingsbury's hiring at Texas Tech, up to this
point, have been a re-energized fanbase and positive momentum in recruiting.
The brand new head coach's first 75 days have been dominated by off-the-field
activities -- filling out his staff, making public appearances and recruiting.
That will end soon, as the Red Raiders are set to begin spring practice in less
three weeks. And one of Kingsbury's primary focuses at that point will be
molding Michael Brewer from a backup to one of the nation's most
prolific passers.
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School in Austin. The Cavalier program produced Kansas signal caller Todd
Reesing and one-time Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert before Brewer; Tech's
presumed starter was actually one of Gilbert's best receivers in high school
before inheriting the reins and leading Lake Travis to its third and fourth
state championships.
Brewer was actually ranked higher than Heisman Trophy winner and former
Kingsbury student Johnny Manziel coming out of high school and Brewer's Lake
Travis squad bounced Manziel's Kerrville Tivy team out of the state playoffs in
both players' senior year. Brewer was ranked by Rivals.com as the 13th best
dual-threat quarterback in the nation and Manziel was ranked 14th.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. That is a interesting note at this
point, nothing more.
What we do know is Brewer was a more-than-capable backup last season to Seth
Doege. The then-freshman came in and scored the Red Raiders' first offensive
touchdown in the Meineke Car Care Bowl after Doege was forced to the sideline
for one play for losing his helmet on a play.
What does the sophomore bring to the Red Raiders? Aside from having solid touch,
he's mobile. He rushed for over 1,300 yards in his two seasons as a starter in
high school. He also quietly put up 375 passing yards and three touchdowns while
going 34-for-48 in mop up duty in 2012.
There's not much left to be desired in Brewer's game after watching him develop
and grow during his redshirt and freshman seasons. The deep throw isn't an
issue, he has solid touch, good pocket presence and can tuck and run when
needed.
The biggest question to answer is how much control will Kingsbury give his
sophomore quarterback?
Kingsbury himself began his career as a starter as a sophomore so there's
probably a good deal of understanding between the two. On paper, this looks like
a player-coach match made in Heaven.
Brewer certainly has been impressive in the low-stress backup role, but don't
expect him to be flawless. As Kingsbury and Graham Harrell could tell you,
there's a big difference between an experienced and a limited experience
quarterback.
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NEW FACES: Davis Webb. By enrolling early and going
through spring practice, Webb is following in the footsteps of Doege and Brewer.
With no clear-cut, established candidate for the No. 2 spot, the freshman from
Prosper has a great chance to work his way into a role with the team. It won't
be easy, but the three returning players that Webb will be competing with have
thrown a grand total of one collegiate pass in their collective careers.
PRESSURE IS ON: Brewer is no stranger to expectations. His
father and grandfather were both quarterbacks at Texas. He replaced five-star,
blue-chip All-Everything Garrett Gilbert at Lake Travis HS and led the Cavaliers
to two state championships. It could be argued that Brewer has faced high
expectations his entire life, so this spring will simply be about meeting or
exceeding the latest set. The pressure isn't on Brewer to win the job. That
seems almost assured at this point. The pressure is on Brewer -- like most
starting quarterbacks -- to win, and the spring will go a long way in
determining whether that happens.
BIGGEST QUESTION: Who will back up Brewer? Senior Brant
Costilla has the most experience and is the only other quarterback on the roster
besides Brewer to have attempted a collegiate pass. New Mexico transfer Dustin
Walton is entering his third full year with a college football program -- he was
an early-enrollee with the Lobos -- and is eligible to play this season after
sitting out 2012. Clayton Nicholas has only been on campus for nine months but,
from a ranking standpoint, he was just as heralded coming out of high school as
Brewer. Webb could make some noise in this race; the fact that the team won't
begin spring practice until late March should benefit him.
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