Charlie Brewer was the third quarterback to play during Baylor’s worst season of the decade. He became the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Now the unquestioned starter, he’ll be counted on to lead Baylor’s offensive renaissance.
We’ll take a look at Brewer’s strengths before turning to his weaknesses. Finally, we’ll close with a look at what to expect this season.
Brewer wowed the college football world against West Virginia. The Bears trailed 38-13 at the end of the third quarter. Matt Rhule turned to Brewer, and he threw for 109 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears ended up losing by only two points, and they found their quarterback:
The former Lake Travis quarterback’s best skill is completing passes. He set a national high school football record by completing 77.2% of his throws, in route to a state title. During his freshman season, he completed 68.1% of his passes. Those weren’t just short attempts either. He averaged 7.6 yards per attempt and was not afraid to throw into tight windows:
Baylor should have a better offensive line this season, but the group is still a major work in progress. Baylor ranked last in the league in sacks, and prolific running backs like Terrence Williams and JaMycal Hasty had nowhere to go. Jake Fruhmorgen and Johncarlo Valentin will be a major upgrade in personnel, and a second season under a new blocking scheme should help the returning players. But the group is still likely to struggle. That makes Brewer’s mobility helpful. First, it allows the Bears to create something when there isn’t much happening. He had at least one run of 11 plus yards in five of the six games where he played a full quarter:
Second, Brewer’s mobility helps him buy more time to make throws. With Chris Platt returning from injury, Denzel Mims back after a 1,000 yard season and Jalen Hurd—a former five star prospect and possibly the best player on the team—ready to catch passes, Baylor has an excellent receiving corps. Brewer just needs time to find them. He does a superb job avoiding the first rusher and not bailing on the play or looking to run immediately. Running is a nice compliment for Brewer. In that respect, he’s similar to Baker Mayfield—another former Lake Travis quarterback—because his first goal is always to make a big throw, not a big run:
Third, Brewer isn’t afraid to get hit. Offense wins games everywhere; it’s just a more obvious truth in the Big 12, and that means throwing touchdowns when a man is about to make you hurt:
There are two big questions about Brewer. First, is his arm strength. He under-threw some deep shots last season, and defenses will likely gamble they can get away with single coverage down field. Brewer makes this pass, but if he hits the receiver in stride, it’s a touchdown:
There’s some hope for Brewer. John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald had a good story on Brewer’s recovery from a shoulder injury. Brewer told Werner that, “It’s a past injury from high school, so it’s just stuff I had to work on. It just feels better after all the rehab. I feel completely fine if I were to take a hit or not.”
The other concern about Brewer is that he can take too many chances. He threw a pick against Texas Tech when he could have thrown the ball away and let Baylor enter the half with a field goal. He’ll occasionally get too gutsy against zone defenses; that leads Brewer to gamble that he can fire a pass before the safety comes over in cover two looks. A lot of this problem might be age, but the Bears aren’t going to be back if Brewer throws 15 picks next season:
Brewer is one of ten quarterbacks to be named Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Of the previous nine, only three failed to become stars (and J.W. Walsh did not throw for 13,333 yards—but your boy made enough GIFs and tables for one day. He threw for 1,333):
Nothing is guaranteed in sports, except the continued need to ban the Golden State Warriors. Maybe Brewer’s arm doesn’t develop and he finishes closer to Tony Lindsay than Mayfield. Or maybe he takes too many shots, and the Bears never quite get back to contending for a Big 12 title. But Brewer’s shattered records and displayed the skills to be a star. He seems to be the perfect QB for the 2018 Bears. He’s able to extend plays and not afraid to keep battling when the defense is ready to destroy him. With his best receiver back, another healthy and a new one who could be better than them both, he’ll have the weapons to blow up this year.