By Drake Toll | Broadcast Managing Editor
Don’t you understand? Charlie Brewer is Baylor’s quarterback — and that’s not changing. From pleas for Gerry Bohanon or Jacob Zeno to the weird sect of freshmen screaming for Blake Shapen to move behind the center, there’s no single player in the quarterback room better than Chuck.
Brewer, a senior from Austin, has been the talk of the town in Waco for four years now, only the second quarterback in program history to start in four consecutive seasons. And while some have lauded over Brewer’s ability, he’s also been the subject of a controversial question — is he really that good?
The answer is complicated: yes and no. Brewer is a fine quarterback to compete in the mid-tier of the Big 12 passers. But he’s not Trevor Lawrence, he’s Charlie Brewer. For years, Baylor fans have missed the boat. It’s not that Brewer has been underperforming or showing that he’s too incompetent to be the Bears’ starter, fans are just setting their expectations way too high.
If you’re wholly preparing for Brewer to toss for 350 yards and four touchdowns a game, you are the problem. Now read that again. Yes, you are the problem. Just because Charlie isn’t posting numbers like Lawrence or Mac Jones does not mean he’s bad at football. It’s just time to take our green and gold studded glasses off, look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “Charlie Brewer is good at football but isn’t Heisman Trophy caliber.”
On top of unrealistic expectations that are causing fans to ditch the Brewer bandwagon, Bear faithful are also missing the point that, objectively, Chuck’s Baylor career is one of the top three in program history. Is that saying much considering the typical caliber of talent the Green and Gold has had taking snaps since kicking off in 1899? No, not at all. But it still says something about how Brewer has become a staple in Baylor history.
Like it or not, Brewer is top three in career passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, rushing attempts by a quarterback, total plays and total yards. He is also top five in touchdown passes, touchdown-to-interception ratio, interception percentage, passing efficiency, rushing yards by a quarterback, rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and touchdowns responsible for. The history book of Baylor football is vastly different without Brewer on the pages.
Even more convincingly, with a 2020 campaign that even remotely emulates his 2019 season, Brewer will finish as Baylor’s leader in career games played, games started, passing attempts, completions, passing yards and he’ll certainly vie for the career passing touchdown title. Historically, Brewer is the most “Mr. Baylor” style guy you could ask for at the helm of a program.
All of the Brewer lauding aside, let’s extinguish the cries for his benching by examining the stats of the two most prominent quarterbacks behind him, Gerry Bohanon and Jacob Zeno.
Bohanon, who I’m admittedly partial to since we grew up not far apart, is good, yes, but he’s not ready. The sophomore quarterback tossed 36 passes last year and completed just 17 — that’s a 47.2% completion percentage. Ouch. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is also one, as he lobbed one of each and charted just 187 yards through the air.
As for his legs, the guy can run extremely well. He logged 42 carries for 267 yards and three touchdowns in 2019, but you can’t just be able to run and be a quarterback — just ask Sam Ehlinger. Bohanon is good, but he’s no Brewer.
Perhaps the most frustrating wail from fans is the call for Zeno to rise from the bullpen and lead the Bears to glory. Please, stop. Zeno threw two good passes in the Big 12 Championship game, one a beautiful toss and the other a dump pass that Trestan Ebner took 75 yards to paydirt, but finished two for six — a 33.3% completion percentage.
According to ESPN, Zeno’s average rating across the final two games of last season was 22.95. Compare that to Brewer whose rating was 49.0 against West Virginia this year in a game where some fans thought he was just average. Oh, and Zeno also has -9 career rushing yards. He may be the future, but Brewer is the now.
Factoring overexcited fan expectations, his ownership of the Baylor stat book and the ineptitude from his future successors given their sample size, it’s clear that Brewer is Baylor’s guy. Even throwing stats and expectations out the window, he helped turn a 1-11 program into an 11-1 powerhouse and has won 20 games in his career. There is no resurgence without Brewer, and it’s time to calm down and let him do what he’s always done — fight.