Going into Texas Tech's current spring football camp, the general consensus was that sophomore Michael Brewer had a hammerlock on the starting quarterback position, and that Davis Webb, Clayton Nicholas, Justin Walton and Brant Costilla would scrum for the privilege of being Brewer's caddy. But following the team's public unveiling in Midland, purveyors of conventional wisdom have gone back to the drawing board and blown it up.
Davis Webb, not Brewer, was the first quarterback to take the field in the scrimmage. And the two basically split reps the remainder of the way.
The performances of Webb and Brewer were not dramatically different. Based upon play in the scrimmage, one would have been hard pressed to state that Brewer was definitively superior to Webb or vice versa.
Brewer, as one might have expected, showed better wheels. He also authored more scoring drives and did not turn the ball over, whereas Webb tossed a pick on the final play of the scrimmage. Otherwise, there wasn't a great deal from which to choose.
But the fact that the two signal callers are being pitched on a level playing field in the first place is newsworthy. Brewer showed tremendous promise in workouts as a freshman. And there was a whispering campaign that were it not for the formality of seniority, Brewer would have started last season over Seth Doege. Now, in a complete reversal of that dynamic, a true freshman is apparently being given the opportunity to start over the more experienced Brewer.
Of course, the elevation of Webb to co-starter status could merely be a ploy to motivate Brewer. To force the sophomore to deal with some pressure before the pressure of the real season starts. If so, it may be working.
Says Brewer, "I'm using that [the competition] as a positive tool rather than a negative. Using it to fuel my fire and keep working every day, and it's gonna make us both better players."
As for Kliff Kingsbury, he is not tipping his hand regarding the play of his quarterbacks and what their future might hold.
"I thought we did okay," said the head coach, following the scrimmage.
"First time playing in front of a crowd. Thought they handled the operation well. I know Davis would like that last one back, but he showed a lot of promise, and he's come a long way. And Brewer did a good job of getting the ball in the end zone, so I was pleased with both of ‘em."
That's textbook coachspeak in that there's nothing obviously inaccurate about it, but neither does it tell you much of value.
Speaking of the battle between Brewer and Webb in general, Kingsbury offers, "It's been a good deal. A good competition. Like I said, with that many practices it's hard to tell who's pulling away, but both of ‘em operate the offense really well."
The one constant in Kingsbury's remarks is that he is pleased with the field generalship of Brewer and Webb. If, indeed, the ability to make the offense function consistently at peak efficiency is a strong suit for Tech's quarterbacks, it will be a refreshing boon regardless of who is actually pulling the trigger.