Lost amidst all the 2-10 goodness and the Blanco River of San Marvelous is a pretty good offensive lineman named Aaron Brewer. We've been fans of Aaron Brewer for some time now. Our man-crush only grows, so do Brewer's positions. Last season Brewer played center, guard, and tackle. If only he could throw a spiral, 2-10 might not have happened.
Is Aaron Brewer a natural tackle? No, he's under-tall for the edge. Is he a natural guard? No, at 270 he's undersized to play guard. Can Aaron Brewer block people? Hell yes. For the record, we like Brewer at center, not that we have a vote. If he gets his hands on you, you're done. Switching positions mid-stream is hard, but Brewer did an admirable job. At guard, he looked lost at times, as though he missed snapping the ball between his legs and firing off to engage a large angry person.
Here's Brewer against a big, bad Power 5 program at altitude in Boulder no less. By the way, this particular noseguard checks in at 350 pounds. Brewer gives up eighty pounds, but low man wins. Always.
Notice how Brewer re-establishes the line of scrimmage, three yards downfield, then works the play side shoulder of the defender upfield before sealing him with his hips. Whenever you see the back numbers on a lineman's jersey, facing the running back, that's a good thing.
How about a little pass pro? Sure, why not. Here Brewer is playing guard and New Mexico State runs a twist game with the defensive tackle crossing Brewers face while the linebacker comes in the area vacated to try and get into the quarterback's face.
Brewer sets quick, more on that later, and keeps his head up to locate the rusher. The key here is the exchange, he passes the defensive tackle off and slides to engage the blitzer. Notice how Brewer uses the linebacker's momentum to push him upfield and let the backer block himself.
Back to the quick sets, rewatching Texas State games is a frustrating experience, not because of the losses, though there are those, it's how their offensive scheme eliminates any physicality from the offensive line. The Bobcats are so preoccupied with getting the ball to the edge on bubbles and flairs, that the line spends so little time exploding off at defenders. A lot of pace and space teams lose their ability to engage the line of scrimmage because they get so nuanced and cute. These are the same teams that can't finish games late by running the ball and working clock.
Aaron Brewer finished blocks. He humiliates people. Here he is again vs. the 350-pound behemoth, and even though it doesn't really matter to the outcome of the play, Brewer grinds him into the Folsom Field turf. That's a statement block, a lineman's happy place.
Let's give a little bad news, a generalized critique. This next clip is another pass pro set with Brewer engaging a defensive tackle. In pass pro, your set is critical. A good set looks like the top motion on a hang clean, upright, good knee flex, good base and hands at chest level. Ideally what you'd like to do is use your hands to measure the defender, without over extending before you have to engage. Interior defenders typically want to get into your body; your arms are essential in keeping him from doing that.
Here Brewer pass protects like he's playing in 1967 instead on of 2017, no arms. He leads with his shoulder, he gets shucked, and he might as well blow a horn to warn his quarterback. Remember how we talked about seeing a lineman's back facing a running back? Well, when a quarterback sees a lineman's front numbers, he knows he's in trouble.
We're excited to see how Aaron Brewer develops and perhaps more importantly, how Texas State chooses to use him. Regardless, Brewer knows how to block people. Hell yes, he does.