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Baylor Football

Ride or Die: Why Charlie Brewer is Baylor's guy for 2020

November 10, 2020

Sports and competition are outlets for mental reprieve for us humans. We use sporting events on television and take road trips to our favorite coliseums as an opportunity to separate our minds from the reality, burdens and the stresses that come with our daily lives. 

For diehards, when stresses and frustrations from sporting events boil over to form a barbwire fence that separates our mental escape from our true reality, things get a little off kilter and we don’t know how to react. Throw in the year 2020 that has divided many of us who are typically aligned due to allegiance to our favorite teams and you get vitriol where there is usually none.

Charlie Brewer has thrown for 1,125 yards and 11 touchdowns on 61.5% passing in 2020.

Not only is that the swamp that Baylor fans are currently wading in, but more importantly, there is an strong division amongst Baylor fans about the decision of head coach Dave Aranda and offensive coordinator Larry Fedora to continue to role quarterback Charlie Brewer onto the field this season. There is a hypercritical stance against Brewer’s performance through five games—some of which is justifiable, mind you—that is continuously coming to a head on forums and social media and visible for all to see. 

From 2017 to 2019, Baylor fans saw their Bears improve from 1-11 to 7-6 to 11-3 and were an overtime away from a third Big 12 Championship of the decade. A coaching change and a offseason of coronavirus turmoil and change later, Baylor sits at 1-4 and has lost four consecutive games by an average of 8.5 points.

That’s a difficult pill to swallow and one that needs solutions. But what are those solutions? 

The multiple choice option “change the quarterback” is the lowest hanging fruit of everything available to us. But that means changing the quarterback that was part of that 10-win turnaround from 2017 to 2019, changing the quarterback that led his teammates to multiple comeback wins and changing the quarterback that has sacrificed his body — almost literally — to win football games for the Green and Gold.

Well, “he just doesn’t have it anymore.” Maybe not. That’s debatable on many facets and not the overarching theme of this piece. I’m not here to defend his abilities on the field, though I do believe he is massively discredited at times. Regardless if you believe that he does or he doesn’t have “it” anymore, there is one thing that he still has and that’s undeniable now: the respect and confidence of his teammates.

Following a game against Iowa State, despite Brewer having his best overall performance of the season, it was an ugly red zone interception that nailed Baylor’s shot at an upset win that brought the wolves out to hunt once again. 

His teammates came to his defense when a frustrated fan base sunk their teeth in. Trestan Ebner’s tweet was endorsed by a number of teammates where the senior running back made clear where he stood on the quarterback situation. 

“We rocking with 5!” Ebner concluded. 

Now let’s be fair for a moment. For anyone who has played on a competitive team, not all teammates and likely all coaches and staff members are going to be on the same page. Frustrations will be vented and it would be a stretch to expect all 100-plus individuals on the roster to be in agreement on such a polarizing topic during the midst of a frustrating season.

But what we have now seen is a multitude of teammates speaking out to confirm their feelings,  Aranda who has given his vote of confidence to Brewer and through the actions of the coaching staff we have seen where their opinions stand. 

If Aranda were to make the decision to bench the four-year starting quarterback who has won the respect of his teammates over the previous four years, what happens next? Is it possible that a team who has seen firsthand the challenges and tribulations of 2020 and who are more familiar with the roster and their teammates than any of us will ever be to hang it up? 

We talk about the fear of Aranda losing his team often and quite casually, but what if his decision to stick with Brewer is one of the things that is holding the team together? We want Aranda to make the tough decision, but what if this is the tough decision?

This is a group that has been through the fire. Not only those players who who saw a one-win season, but also the small contingent of seniors who stuck with Baylor despite the firing of Art Briles and a scandal that rocked the program. But for Aranda, who rightfully or wrongfully continues to role with Brewer from a performance and ability standpoint, maybe this decision is a no-brainer that we will never understand. 

The fact is that Aranda’s QB1 is still settling into a new offensive skin and is currently the No. 2 career passer in Baylor’s history. He led his team to the Big 12 Championship game in 2019 and has the ultimate respect of his teammates. A decision to go in another direction could and probably would be to the detriment to the psyche of his team and at minimum a large group of key players.

And to what level is the upside? To get a sneak peak of the future? 

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Baylor’s backup QB Gerry Bohanon has totaled 26 total yards this season. 

On the surface, a quarterback change seems appealing. The excitement of what could happen when Gerry Bohanon, Jacob Zeno or Blake Shapen enter the game would be satisfying. Truthfully, I’d love to see it at least for a series even if there are no intentions of it being a longterm response to feed my appetite.

Baylor has a lot of items on the agenda discuss and then to clean up on the field. Is quarterback play one of them? Absolutely. Does Aranda and Fedora understand that? It doesn’t take much to realize that it can be better, but there are also a number of issues present that need to be cleaned up as well before placing full blame on a senior quarterback. 

Being the head man is about making the tough decisions, but it’s also about making the best decisions in key moments. Time will tell if this was the correct longterm decision. 

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