As the record setting quarterback for Lake Travis High School, Charlie Brewer played with the kind of swagger and confidence that was needed to lead his team to the Class 6A Division I championship last fall.
Making his first start for Baylor, coach Matt Rhule wants to see Brewer play with the same attitude that made him so successful in high school.
The Bears (0-8, 0-5) will try to break through with their first win against Kansas (1-7, 0-5) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence.
“Sometimes when guys play as freshmen, they’re playing just on instinct and feel and they play loose with no fear,” Rhule said. “But as they start learning the system they start trying to be perfect. What I don’t want Charlie to do is go out there and try to be perfect. I just want him to play football.”
With sophomore Zach Smith questionable for the game with a shoulder injury, Brewer will have to step up in a big way for the Bears to have a shot to win.
Brewer showed his leadership ability when he replaced Smith late in the third quarter two weeks ago against West Virginia, leading the Bears to 23 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in a 38-36 loss to the Mountaineers.
In last week’s 38-7 loss to Texas, Brewer came off the bench to hit 17 of 27 passes for 181 yards, and guided the Bears to their only touchdown when he hit Blake Lynch with a 52-yard pass to the Longhorns’ 3 in the second quarter.
Brewer was banged up against the physical Texas defense, which limited his scrambling ability. But Rhule said Brewer is healthy coming into Saturday’s game, and should have his much needed mobility back intact.
“I think he’ll be ready to run,” Rhule said. “They might try to take that away, but hopefully Charlie can extend some drives and be pretty good on some of the read option stuff that we do. We’ll try to let him be the player that he is and hopefully a better version of himself.”
In a matchup of cellar-dwelling Big 12 teams, Baylor will try to break through with its firs…
Though Brewer will make his first start in a road game, Rhule expects him to bring some of the confidence and leadership to the field that made him a star at Lake Travis.
“He’s been in a lot of big games and he’s watched his brother (former Texas Tech and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer) play in a lot of big games,” Rhule said. “I’m not really worried about his mindset. The really good quarterbacks are so mentally tough, and I think Zach is mentally tough and I think Charlie is mentally tough.”
The Bears have dealt with a deluge of injuries all year, including season ending knee injuries to receivers Chris Platt and R.J. Sneed, and shin splits by preseason all-Big 12 defensive lineman K.J. Smith that have kept him out of the last seven games. Most recently, linebacker Clay Johnston and wide receiver Pooh Stricklin are likely out for the rest of the season with foot injuries.
Tony Nicholson is expected to miss the Kansas game with an ankle injury, leaving the receiving corps even more depleted. Lynch could see more time at receiver than cornerback while former walk-on Trevor White is becoming a bigger part of the receiving corps.
Additionally, former cornerback Marques Jones has switched to receiver, and caught the first two passes of his career for 23 yards last week against Texas.
“It’s just going to come down to where we have more guys,” Rhule said. “If we have more guys on offense, we’ll play Blake (Lynch) on defense, and if we have more guys on defense, we’ll play Blake on offense.”
Running back Trestan Ebner is expected to return from a thigh injury, while cornerback Harrison Hand is also expected to be ready after going through concussion protocol. Running back John Lovett, who has been dealing with strep throat, could also see some action.
Due to so many injuries, the Bears didn’t practice Monday, and spent more time in the film room. Rhule was impressed by how many of the players saw elements of their games that they correct when watching film of the Texas game.
“A lot of our mistakes from Saturday were mental,” Rhule said. “I think it’s a really cleansing, positive experience to sit there in a room and watch the game as a whole team. I was really struck by the maturity, especially guys on defense that said I should have done this or I should have done that.”
Grayland Arnold is only a sophomore but he’s already got a commanding voice on the Baylor fo…
It felt like a big play at the time, and by all accounts it should have been.
The Bears will face a Kansas team that’s coming off a strong showing in a 30-20 loss to Kansas State last weekend in Lawrence. The Jayhawks showed significant improvement against the Wildcats following a 45-0 loss to Iowa State and a 43-0 loss to TCU on the road in the previous two games.
Peyton Bender had seen the majority of the snaps at quarterback before last week, but the Jayhawks turned to Carter Stanley against the Wildcats. The sophomore responded by hitting 23 of 48 passes for 418 yards and a touchdown, hitting Steven Sims with nine passes for 233 yards and a score.
“It was our decision to go with Carter pretty much at the beginning of the week because his skill set gave us a better opportunity,” said Kansas coach David Beaty. “He can create plays a little more. It’s no secret we’ve been banged up up front, and his ability to move around helped us. I’m really proud of the way Peyton supported him. Those guys just want to win, and they’ve got the right mentality, no doubt about it.”
Now in his third year at Kansas, Beaty is still trying to turn the corner with his program after going 3-29 overall and 1-20 in the Big 12. But Beaty said the Jayhawks still have a positive attitude as they try to break through with their first Big 12 win since last year’s 24-21 overtime win over Texas in Lawrence on Nov. 19.
In their last game against Baylor last season at McLane Stadium, the Jayhawks were on the wrong end of a 49-7 decision. That Oct. 15 game was Baylor’s last regular season win.
“Our morale is great, we have the right guys on the team,” Beaty said. “From our standpoint we’re rebuilding, continuing to work, blocking out distractions, and getting better each day and each week. We’re creating a culture of resiliency and caring for each other more than ourselves. We have a very workmanlike mentality, and they all see where we’re heading. The path is clear, and we have a bunch of great dudes in that locker room which helps us.”
Heading into the final month of the regular season, Baylor and Kansas are both desperate to …