Brewster Prepared To Lead

Ohio State is hoping that the lessons Michael Brewster has learned in leadership during the past three seasons will pay off in a big way this season. With five key players and one head coach suspended for the first five games of the season, Brewster finds himself in a unique position to lead.

Even Michael Brewster had to wonder about the timing.

Nearly four years ago, the five-star center prospect issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State for the class of 2008 and immediately began recruiting other top recruits to do the same. Now, after having welcomed "the Brew Crew" to Columbus and helping the Buckeyes land the nation's No. 4 recruiting class as rated by Scout.com, Brewster finds himself assuming a key leadership role on the 2011 team.

"It's weird how it worked out," he said April 9 following a scrimmage at Ohio Stadium. "It is a really good opportunity for me. Let's see how good my leadership skills are. Let's see how I can help these guys.

"If my leadership skills are going to be tested, this is a great time to see what I'm made of."

The lineman was the fifth verbal commitment in OSU's class, joining Ben Buchanan, Mike Adams, DeVier Posey and Jake Stoneburner.

Of those five, three were rated as five-star prospects: Brewster, Adams and Posey. The class would add three more five-star recruits in Etienne Sabino, Terrelle Pryor and J.B. Shugarts, each one at least in part to Brewster's efforts.

His influence on the class extended to most of its members.

"Yeah, I consider myself a member of the Brew Crew," said Nathan Williams, now a senior defensive lineman who committed to the Buckeyes three days after Brewster issued his commitment. "(Brewster) is my dude. I love him to death. I love his family. He's a real good friend of mine."

Pryor completed the class, and by the midpoint of their freshman season Brewster had taken the starting center spot and was snapping the ball to his classmate. As he did so, however, he had junior Jim Cordle – the former center – lining up at left guard helping him with make the calls.

This fall, Brewster figures to be flanked by two sophomores: Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort, both of whom have taken reps at center. In other words, the apprentice has now become the master.

The situation is not lost on the senior.

"It goes by fast," he said. "I can't believe it's going to be my last go-around. I try to put myself in their shoes, the younger guys. I remember it is hard at first. You may not be sure at what you're doing and it slows you down a little bit. Anytime I can help someone and be very clear with them and what they need to do, it's going to help everybody."

Of the five suspended players, three are members of the "Brew Crew" -- Adams, Pryor and Posey. Seniors Dan Herron and Solomon Thomas round out the list.

As Brewster pointed out, this year will test him and his fellow seniors in a number of ways. Suspensions aside, this year's team has to replace an impressive amount of talent from a squad that finished the 2010 season 12-1 overall and captured a share of its 35th Big Ten title along the way.

That in itself would prove to be a daunting task. It has also meant that the eventual rotation of the suspended players out of the lineup as the season approaches might not be a drastic change.

"I'm sure when the time comes it's going to be a little bit weird but we've been rotating so many guys in spring ball it just seems normal," Brewster said. "I never know who's going to be at quarterback or who's going to be at running back or left tackle. We're just trying to get as many guys in as we can. I think that's really going to pay off for us in the future, getting all those guys experiences and not worrying who's out there, just knowing this is what we've got to go when we're out there."

In addition to being a senior and a multi-year starter, Brewster finds himself directing the entire offense from his position.

"I feel like I'm in a great position at center," he said. "I'm a senior. These are my leadership skills being put to the test now. I can tell guys who to block. I can really solve out where guys need to go. As they learn more and they understand more where I'm telling them to go, things will move smoother.

"I think I can really help the quarterbacks out, keeping guys off of them and picking up blitzes. Being at center, I'm excited about the role that I can have next year."

Brewster and Herron said they have tried to ignore the outside distractions as much as possible. Outside of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, however, both admitted that doing so can be tough.

But much like they did in preparation for the Sugar Bowl, the Buckeyes are hoping they can use the situation to propel themselves to success.

"You can do two things: you can get mad, or you can use it to your advantage and use it as fuel to prove people wrong," Brewster said. "That's the attitude we take to it: let's just keep working hard. Let's shock the world. Let's show people what we can do by staying together. It's amazing what teams can do when they stay together.

"It's not always the most talented teams that are the best, it's who is doing the right things every play, taking care of the ball and rushing the ball. I'm pumped about this team."


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