A Players' Coach
Posted by Austin on June 5, 2014
The first time you meet Coach Brewer he acts like he's known you your whole life. He's one of those guys that can talk for days. He's very energetic and he's a player's coach.
Before I even met Coach Brewer, I heard stories about him in college from my dad. Coach Brewer and my dad were good buddies in college at Wake Forest. From my dad's stories, I could tell Coach Brewer was always kind of the outgoing, fun guy, but I didn't know because I hadn't met him yet.
The first time I met Coach Brewer, I saw him briefly at school and then we had an hour-long phone conversation – and I had never met the guy before. Some of the conversation was about football and some of it was about my grades. And then some of it was just about life.
I think a big part of Coach Brewer is he focuses his recruiting not just about what his players do on the field but he's real concerned about what they do off the field. He's definitely big on school and the grades you're making and what you're doing in the classroom, but his concerns aren't just education. He's also big on how you are off the field as a kid, how your family is, and how you interact with the people around you.
I was down in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl in January – my dad was a part of the coaching staff – and Dez Bryant was there. Coach Brewer coached Dez at Oklahoma State. We were at the hotel one morning and Dez walked through the lobby. I walked up to him and said "Dez, what's up man? I'm Austin Proehl. My dad's the receivers coach for the Panthers." He said, "That's cool man." Then I said, "Next year I'm going to Carolina and playing for Coach Brew." He went on a 15-minute rave just about how Coach Brewer has been such an influential person in his life. He talked about Coach Brewer as a coach, but it was more about how Coach Brewer has been there for him, like when he almost got arrested last year.
Coach Brewer has such a close relationship with his guys that it extends beyond football. That means so much to players to know that Coach Brewer has your back no matter what happens – even after your playing days with him are over. Even though he has so many other things he needs to do with recruiting and coaching, you see him still communicating with his former players on Twitter.
That's why I think he has such a good receiver room at North Carolina. I think the receivers are a very close knit group of guys and that starts with Coach Brewer.
As I've said in past journals, Coach Brewer reminds me a lot of my dad just because of the groups that my dad has had with the Panthers – they've all been close. They've all had bible studies together. They've all hung out after hours. You always see them together all the time.
Seeing that closeness in the receiver group was important to me with my recruitment. You want to go somewhere where you have a close relationship with the guys around you. The receivers are who I'm going to be with the most and Coach Brewer does a great job forming that family atmosphere. That's important in football because you go through a lot of adversity together and you learn to overcome it together.
Being around Coach Brewer has been a blessing because he's taught me about football and taught me about what I need to do off the field to succeed. I know that I'm going to have to work to become a better player and a better person.
One of the biggest thing with Coach Brewer is he believed in me from Day One. He told me that he knew I could play even during my sophomore year when I was small and I hadn't hit much of a growth spurt yet. That meant a lot coming from a coach with his reputation.
He coaches a lot like my dad. When I camped at North Carolina, I got to be coached by Coach Brewer. He understands that when you drop a ball you didn't drop the ball on purpose. He doesn't say, "Catch it." Instead, he says, "You'll catch it next time." He understands that we're not going to catch every ball but we're trying to. And that makes you want to play for him that much more.
It's going to be fun to finally play for him, go to practice and learn from him, and know that he's always going to be there for me.