2013 Spring Preview: Quarterbacks

Joe Yeager begins his preview of Texas Tech football as the Red Raiders get ready to start spring practice on Friday. He starts with the quarterbacks.

Probable Starter: Michael Brewer, 6' 1" 185, sophomore, Lake Travis, Texas


Backups: Brant Costilla, 6' 4" 225, senior, Dallas, Texas; Clayton Nicholas, 6' 3" 215, freshman, Abilene, Texas; Dustin Walton, 6' 3" 230, freshman, Raton, New Mexico


Most Intriguing Battle: Who gets to back up Brewer?


Position Power Rating: 79


Looked at calmly and objectively, and without reference to Texas Tech's history of producing record-setting passers, the Red Raider quarterback situation heading into Kliff Kingsbury's inaugural Tech spring camp looks pretty grim.


Presumptive starter Michael Brewer has thrown all of 48 passes in his collegiate career. The three players who will back Brewer up have combined for one passing attempt. What's more, of those three backups, only one, redshirt freshman Clayton Nicholas, was offered a scholarship out of high school by Texas Tech.


Looks like the Red Raider offense may have to convert to the power I in 2013, right? Riiiiiiiiiight.


We know better. Everybody who knows diddly about college football knows better. Texas Tech may be painfully inexperienced at quarterback this season, but the Red Raider passing juggernaut will pound proudly on. History says so. And so does Tech's new head coach.


Michael Brewer might have something to say, too. After backing up Seth Doege last season, Brewer is the undisputed holder of the throne in 2013. Some observers felt that Brewer was more than capable of starting as a freshman, and there were people inside the Red Raider camp who confirmed that observation. Doege's seniority and the desire for team cohesion, however, guaranteed that Brewer would be no more than a caddy as a frosh.


Now the offense belongs to Brewer, and this writer believes the former member of four straight state championship teams at Lake Travis will be something special immediately. The "it factor" is sometimes bruited when discussing quarterbacks. Some felt Doege had it when he arrived at Tech. I believe Brewer has it.


In practice, Brewer sometimes looks average. Like all but the very best signal callers, he will make his fair share of mistakes, including interceptions and plain errant passes. But when practice competition becomes more organized and the stakes increase, Brewer blossoms.


Another term used to describe quarterbacks is "gamer." That one applies to Brewer, too. In scrimmages, he cranks it up a notch. In prominent scrimmages, such as the Red-Black Game, he really kicks it into high gear. And when called upon at a moment's notice in a tight bowl game, as he was last year against Minnesota, he calmly steps in and throws a dart for a touchdown.


Brewer is that kind of player. He will excel all the more when the chips are down. And Kliff Kingsbury, a quarterback coach extraordinaire, will only augment that trait. The Brewer-Kingsbury combination may cause discomfort for defenses in 2013.


The above is as close to a given as there is at quarterback for Tech. The real mystery is who will be the next soldier in line should Brewer go down. Needless to say, this is not an insignificant concern.


Brant Costilla, who played junior college football at Navarro, is a senior, and that gives him an advantage. With Doege and Brewer in the fold last season, nobody paid a great deal of attention to Costilla. That will change this spring.


Dustin Walton, a transfer from New Mexico, and Clayton Nicholas, a highly regarded recruit from Abilene, have some tools with which to work. Both are strapping quarterbacks, and both have big, live arms. Their maturation and ability to master the offense will determine where they fall in the pecking order.

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