Probable Starter: Michael Brewer, 6’ 1” 185, sophomore, Lake Travis, Texas
Backups: Brant Costilla, 6’ 4” 225, senior, Dallas, Texas; Clayton Nicholas, 6’ 3” 215,
freshman, Abilene, Texas; Dustin Walton, 6’ 3” 230, freshman, Raton, New Mexico
Battle: Who gets to back up Brewer?
Looked at calmly and objectively, and without reference to
Texas Tech’s history of producing record-setting passers, the Red Raider
quarterback situation heading into Kliff Kingsbury’s inaugural Tech spring camp
looks pretty grim.
Presumptive starter Michael Brewer has thrown all of 48
passes in his collegiate career. The three players who will back Brewer up have
combined for one passing attempt. What’s more, of those three backups, only
one, redshirt freshman Clayton Nicholas, was offered a scholarship out of high
school by Texas Tech.
Looks like the Red Raider offense may have to convert to the
power I in 2013, right? Riiiiiiiiiight.
We know better. Everybody who knows diddly
about college football knows better. Texas Tech may be painfully inexperienced
at quarterback this season, but the Red Raider passing juggernaut will pound
proudly on. History says so. And so does Tech’s new head coach.
Michael Brewer might have something to say, too. After
backing up Seth Doege last season, Brewer is the undisputed holder of the
throne in 2013. Some observers felt that Brewer was more than capable of
starting as a freshman, and there were people inside the Red Raider camp who
confirmed that observation. Doege’s seniority and the
desire for team cohesion, however, guaranteed that Brewer would be no more than
a caddy as a frosh.
Now the offense belongs to Brewer, and this writer believes
the former member of four straight state championship teams at Lake Travis will
be something special immediately. The “it factor” is sometimes bruited when
discussing quarterbacks. Some felt Doege had it when he arrived at Tech. I
believe Brewer has it.
In practice, Brewer sometimes looks average. Like all but
the very best signal callers, he will make his fair share of mistakes,
including interceptions and plain errant passes. But when practice competition
becomes more organized and the stakes increase, Brewer blossoms.
Another term used to describe quarterbacks is “gamer.” That
one applies to Brewer, too. In scrimmages, he cranks it up a notch. In
prominent scrimmages, such as the Red-Black Game, he really kicks it into high
gear. And when called upon at a moment’s notice in a tight bowl game, as he was
last year against Minnesota, he calmly steps in and throws a dart for a
Brewer is that kind of player. He will excel all the more
when the chips are down. And Kliff Kingsbury, a quarterback coach
extraordinaire, will only augment that trait. The Brewer-Kingsbury combination
may cause discomfort for defenses in 2013.
The above is as close to a given as there is at quarterback
for Tech. The real mystery is who will be the next soldier in line should
Brewer go down. Needless to say, this is not an insignificant concern.
Brant Costilla, who played junior college football at
Navarro, is a senior, and that gives him an advantage. With Doege and Brewer in
the fold last season, nobody paid a great deal of attention to Costilla. That
will change this spring.
Dustin Walton, a transfer from New Mexico, and Clayton
Nicholas, a highly regarded recruit from Abilene, have some tools with which to
work. Both are strapping quarterbacks, and both have big, live arms. Their
maturation and ability to master the offense will determine where they fall in
the pecking order.