Linebacker playing cornerback

CLEMSON - Xavier Brewer possesses the mentality of a linebacker but is stuck in a cornerback's body.

Against North Texas' spread offense, engineered by first-year offensive coordinator Mike Canales, Brewer could find himself on the field early and often in Clemson' nickel package.

"When I go to nickel, you're inside a lot more. You have run responsibilities a lot more than I would at corner. Even on sweeps, I'm going to have to contain the outside," Brewer said. "That's our goal. We want to stop the run first and go from there."

He's been splitting first-team nickel back reps with senior Marcus Gilchrist throughout the preseason. Last season could be an indication of a big-time role in 2010 for Brewer, a third-year sophomore.

The majority of Clemson's 2009 defensive snaps were in the nickel package (four linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs). And he wouldn't mind a repeat in 2010.

If he's not playing corner, Brewer feels right at home at the nickel back spot.

"It's a lot of fun for me because I like hitting. I like being in the box and feeling like a linebacker almost," he said. "I don't have the size of one, but I like going in the box and trying to do what I can to help stop the run. I just have fun with that."

This week's film sessions have been split between North Texas and South Florida. The Mean Green film is looked at to study the personnel. The Bulls' film for the tendencies. Canales spent the last three seasons running the offense at South Florida.

Brewer said Canales' system has a familiar look to it.

"[Canales' system] is a lot like ours…that's what we've been going against in the spring is our offense. All summer, the last couple of weeks we've been looking at them. There are a lot of similarities. It's only going to help us," Brewer said.

For a guy who prides himself on his willingness to dish out a bone-crunching hit, fall camp was a blast. Brewer looks forward to punishing opponents in green now that the season opener is less than a week away.

"It's really back in season mode now. We're going to go out and do a regular week in practice," he said. "Camp's been fun. We've been hitting each other, but it's still going to be nice to hit other people."

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