Texas Tech quarterback Michael Brewer was supposed to start three months ago.
The redshirt sophomore was presumed to be the team's starting quarterback heading into the 2013 season, but a reported back injury he suffered during preseason practices sidelined him for most of the year. That led Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury to go with true freshman walk-on Baker Mayfield, though fellow freshman Davis Webb started some games as well.
However, Brewer will start Dec. 30 in the Holiday Bowl against Arizona State, according to Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News. That, along with a "miscommunication" between Mayfield and Tech's coaches, was enough for the true freshman to decide it was time to move on.
The move was hastened Wednesday when sources indicate that Mayfield and Kingsbury met to talk about his future with the Red Raiders. His announcement of his transfer came on the same day that Mayfield was voted by Big 12 coaches as the conference’s Offensive Freshman of the Year.
In came shortly after Mayfield had learned that sophomore Michael Brewer would be the Red Raiders’ starting quarterback in their Dec. 30 Holiday Bowl game against Arizona State.
With Mayfield transferring, Brewer and Webb will enter 2014 as the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. The Dallas Morning News' Mike Graham reports that fourth-string quarterback Clayton Nicholas will also be transferring soon.
Since game experience is at a premium, Brewer's Holiday Bowl against the Sun Devils is an audition of sorts. If he performs well against the Sun Devils, it should at least give him a boost heading into spring practices. If he doesn't and he's benched in favor of Webb, it could be the true freshman who gets a leg up on the competition.
Brewer technically doesn't have as many game reps as Webb, but he's generally performed well in garbage time over the past two seasons. Similarly, Webb has mostly been solid in five starts this season, the first of which came a week after Mayfield sustained a knee injury. Webb has thrown for 2,315 yards, the same amount as Mayfield, and 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions.
However, Webb was benched in favor of a healthy Mayfield last month against Kansas State when he failed to get the offense moving consistently. If Brewer can play well against an average Sun Devils pass defense (and below-average, red-zone defense), he'll end the year on a more positive note than Webb.
The starting quarterback job for Texas Tech will, and should, ultimately be an open competition going into next season. No one has played well enough, or long enough, to feel secure.
Still, a good bowl performance can go a long way in giving one quarterback an edge.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All stats courtesy of the NCAA.
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