After an impressive career as a four-year starter at Baylor, quarterback Charlie Brewer transferred to Utah, where he arrived in January.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior from Austin, Texas, participated in winter conditioning and now, as the Utes’ spring practices wind down this weekend, he’s feeling acclimated to Utah’s offense and is building a strong chemistry with his teammates.
“Absolutely. I think a lot of the stuff we’ve been doing this spring has been good. We’ve made a lot of explosive plays. It’s been great so far,” Brewer said about fitting into offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig’s scheme. “A lot of people around me, coaches and teammates, have made it a smooth transition for me. Collectively as a group, especially on offense, we’ve gotten better each practice, which is what you hope for and improve every day. I think we’ve done that. For me personally, it’s been a smooth transition where it’s allowed me to just go out and play.”
Fans will be able to watch Brewer’s first public performance as a Ute during the spring game on April 17 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Before spring drills began in mid-March, Brewer was listed No. 1 on the depth chart.
Rising, who earned the starting job in 2020 before suffering a season-ending injury in the season opener, has not participated in spring practices as he recovers from shoulder surgery. But he’s expected to be at full strength in a couple of months.
Brewer welcomes the added competition with Rising.
“I think competition is great. In the making of a great football team, the more competition you have, the better,” he said. “Cam’s a great guy. We get along very well off the field. The balance is already there. … I think I understand the situation and he understands the situation. It’s just competition.”
Whittingham has enjoyed watching Brewer’s progression this spring, while also acknowledging that Brewer came to Utah with plenty of experience and accomplishments on his resume, which has been on display.
“First and foremost, all those reps he had in the Big 12 were prepping him for when he got here. He’s a guy that’s played so much football at this level. As far as being able to digest the offense, he’s done an outstanding job of studying on his own time, which all great quarterbacks do,” Whittingham said. “He does all the little things that make a difference between being just average and being really good.
“He’s paid that price. It didn’t start during spring ball. From the day he set foot on campus, he’s been in that playbook and in the film room. What we see out on the field is a product of all that hard work.”
Whittingham anticipates Brewer and Rising splitting the reps during fall camp.
“They’re going to have equal footing. Cam did a great job for us last year through camp and through spring before he got injured. He’s right on schedule,” Whittingham said. “He’s throwing the ball right now — not very far. But he’s throwing the football. We envision right now a two-man race. It could change if (Ja’Quinden Jackson) keeps performing and getting better or Peter (Costelli). But if it’s not just those two right out of the gate, it will be just those two very shortly once we decide who the No. 3 guy is, if we haven’t already done that.”
Center Nick Ford has been working with all of the quarterbacks this spring. What stands out to him about Brewer?
“Charlie is very relaxed back there. It may look hectic in the trenches and in the secondary, he knows how to move around and where to go,” Ford said. “Whatever he does, he does it with confidence. He doesn’t hesitate. That’s probably his best quality.”
Another quality that Brewer possesses is a fierce competitive streak.
Brewer said that comes from “just growing up. I loved competing in sports from a young age, whether it was watching my older brother or something like that. I always enjoyed competing. Once I got to high school, I was under-recruited and I shifted to, ‘I’m going to prove them wrong.’ I’ve always had a competitive nature about me.”