With the multitude of megastar skill position players possessed by the Ohio State Buckeyes, it’s pretty easy to overlook the offensive line. And that’s the nature of football– OL is the most overlooked position group of all.
People like to talk about Terrelle Pryor first, then the tailbacks Brandon Saine and Dan “Boom” Herron, or the linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan. With his highlight return last week, even Cam Heyward is getting some pub. And CB Chimdi Chekwa was national defensive player of the week.
But no one talks about Ohio State Center Mike Brewster, who is becoming a leader in the same mold as Alex Stepanovich, the Center on the 2002 national title team.
By Paul M. Banks
And leadership is an extremely valuable asset for a center to have, as they’re making all the calls in the trenches on offense, kind of like how a middle linebacker must make proper adjustments and calls on defense. It’s very key for a center to be calm and collected. NOT “calm and collective,” as you often hear athletes mispronounce the phrase. Unless they’re striving to be both mild-mannered and join a socialist, agrarian community with a Utopian vision of societal structure, then the phrase makes sense.
But getting back on track, Brewster discussed the value of leadership.
“One thing we talk about before games is we need that poise.”
And the confidence comes from doing, and doing under pressure.
“You can practice as much as you want, but until you get in that game and bullets are flying, you can’t get that experience any other way. Game reps is the best experience you can get. After you go out there the first time, every time after that is just another day at the office,” he said.
Brewster is a 6-5, 293 Junior from Orlando, FL with three years of starting experience. He’s a NFL ready talent, but it’s difficult to predict where centers will get taken on draft day. The best at the position don’t often get picked until the third round at the earliest. Therefore “Brewster’s Millions” (yeah, you knew it was coming, an ’80s pop culture reference, I just couldn’t past that up) will likely have to wait to 2012. I doubt he’ll forgo his senior season.
And between now and draft day, he may take home the Rimington Award (best center in the nation) or the Lombardi Award (best interior lineman). One thing’s for sure, I do enjoy listening to offensive linemen talk about their craft. Even though it’s a position most people ignore most of the time.
“There’s not a better feeling then when you see your back scrambling for the end zone,” Brewster said about the feeling he gets when it comes to opening up running lanes.
Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru