This is the first in a three part series with former Virginia Tech quarterback, Michael Brewer. Brewer had some big wins at Virginia Tech, and is a passionate outdoorsman. Gobbler Country caught up with Brewer, to find out what the Texan is up to after leaving Blacksburg.
Gobbler Country: Last year was one of the most interesting in recent memory. What is your fondest memory of 2015, and what are you most proud of?
Michael Brewer: 2015 was a year that we, as a team, felt very confident about. We made HUGE strides in spring ball, and that momentum continued in to our summer workouts and throughout fall camp. Personally, I could see the development and growth of our football team on a day-to-day basis. There are so many examples and stories about how far our team had come along that off-season. It was awesome to get to be apart of it. We had a very big test to open up the year, but we were excited about the challenge because we felt like we had the team to beat Ohio State yet again. We were not over confident going in to that game by any means, we respected Ohio State a great deal and understood how tough that game would be and knew that we would have to play a very good 4-quarter game in order to win. In that first game of the season, we weathered the initial storm we knew Ohio State would bring to the game early. We then settled down and both offensively and defensively we found our rhythm. You could really see all of the hard work that was put in throughout a productive offseason translating to the field out there in Lane Stadium against a very good opponent. Starting in the second half of that Ohio State game we began to catch some unfortunate bad breaks. It seemed like those tough breaks just kept continuing throughout the year. Adversity was a big hurdle that kept popping up in front of the 2015 Hokies. That is why the Virginia game in Charlottesville is one of my fondest memories. After all the difficult challenges we faced in 2015, we had the opportunity to send Coach Beamer to his 23rd straight bowl game by beating our in state rivals on their home field. It was only fitting that it was a dramatic 4th quarter win. With all that being said, I am most proud of the guys on that 2015 team. Like I previously stated, going in to the season we were so excited/confident about how good we could be that year and then it just started to fall apart on us in a number of different ways. Most people don’t realize how hard it is in the game of football to bounce back day in and day out when that type of momentum continues to slide away from your ball club.
“Did we fall way short of our goals in 2015? Absolutely. Most teams in our situation would have shut it down halfway through the year, but not us. Laying down, making excuses, feeling sorry for ourselves, that was never who we were. The guys on that 2015 team battled every week no matter the circumstances. The overall leadership of that group to finish the year the way we did is something that I am very proud of.”
I also believe that the get after it every day, you are never out of the fight mindset that the 2015 team had, has had a trickle down effect throughout the younger players in the locker room. I loved watching how this year’s team responded to adversity, and being down in games. Not once throughout the year did I see any quit in that team. They continued to battle all year no matter what. I would like to think we had a hand in continuing to build upon that culture and mindset Coach Beamer installed at Virginia Tech for many years.
Gobbler Country: When did Coach Beamer tell you guys he wasn’t coming back for 2016, and how much of that was a help or distraction, in your opinion, to the team?
Michael Brewer: If I remember correctly Coach Beamer announced his retirement to team the day after the Boston College game, which would have been November 1st, 2015. That was the beginning of our bye week. I do not know how long he knew he was going to retire, but I do believe that he announced it at the beginning of a bye week for a reason. Coach Beamer means so much to the guys on the team and the entire Hokie Nation. It was obviously a very emotional time for everybody. That is why I believe he made the announcement when he did. It gave the team, and coaching staff a week to process and regroup in order to not be distracted during a game week. I do not believe his retirement was any kind of a distraction to the team throughout the year. If anything, I think that it helped us. We wanted to make sure Coach Beamer was sent out the right way. 7-6 isn’t exactly the way he deserved to be sent out, but I think he would tell you that he was proud of that 2015 team. He knew the struggles we had to overcome and we laid it all on the line for him every week.
Gobbler Country: What coach did you most look forward to working with in practice?
Michael Brewer: I really enjoyed working with the entire coaching staff. I really liked the family atmosphere at Virginia Tech. I interacted with most every coach on a day-to-day basis. I liked to get out to practice about 20-25 minutes early to begin warming up. When I would do that, Coach Beamer would already be out there with the specialists and we would usually have a quick conversation. It was hardly ever anything that had to do with football. I really enjoyed those quick conversations we would have. Working with Coach Loeffler was a good time as well. In 2015 I had such a better understanding of his offense (it was night and day between 2014 and 2015). So the in depth conversations we would have about schemes, and different ways to attack certain defenses was a lot of fun.
Keep it locked at gobblercountry.com for the next two portions of the Brewer interview, as he discusses life after football, and the perils of hunting in Alaska.