Nov. 1, 2009
Ryan Graney, Texas Media Relations
The Texas football program prides itself on the family atmosphere that exists between both present and former Longhorns. Players often cite this as a central factor in their decision to spend their college careers in Austin.
The family atmosphere within the Longhorn program has taken on a different meaning for sophomore safety Nolan Brewster. Brewster’s father, Tim, who is currently the head football coach at the University of Minnesota served as tight ends coach at Texas for four seasons after occupying the same position on Mack Brown’s staff at North Carolina for nine years.
Brewster remembers spending a great amount of time around the Longhorn program as a youngster. Representing the same program that he grew up so close to presents the sophomore with a unique opportunity.
“It’s really exciting,” Brewster said. “I remember running out and getting the tee after kickoffs when I was 10 years old. To be able to run out there and actually play is really special.”
In his second season with the Longhorns, Brewster has played an important role within the defensive backfield. Saturday night against Oklahoma State, he helped the Texas defense stifle the Cowboys to just 14 points, playing an even more heightened role with the loss of CB Aaron Williams in the game to an injury.
“We have great depth,” Brewster said. “Our coaches tell us all the time one guy goes down somebody’s got to step up. Last night I was that guy. I got a lot of playing time and just tried to do what I was coached to do.”
As a result of the tremendous amount of talented players in the Longhorn secondary, the Texas coaches are able to play a number of defensive backs without a drop in talent. Playing alongside Brewster, safety Earl Thomas knows the sophomore’s talent and physical nature make him a significant contributor at the safety position.
“Nolan is just like a starter basically,” Thomas said. “He goes in with the ones at practice, and we don’t miss a beat when he’s in. He’s a big kid and he comes downhill and he doesn’t shy away from contact, and that showed up last night.”
Defensive backs coach Duane Akina has been pleased with the solid play Brewster has provided.
“I thought he had an outstanding game last night,” Akina said. “He has started to switch out with Blake (Gideon) since the OU game. He’s playing really solid. He’s bringing a real physical presence back there. As the reps keep going up, he’s getting quicker and quicker.”
“He came in there and had a number of real physical tackles. All week long we talked about wanting to make this a physical football game. We’re going to have opportunities out on the perimeter to have to make some tackles in space, because this has been a big play offense. Nolan had a number of situations where he was in space with running backs or receivers and really delivered in those situations.”
Brewster, who was one of the first Longhorns in the weight room Sunday morning, understands the importance of a relentless work ethic, both individually and as a team.
“I just come in here early trying got get the soreness out,” Brewster said of his Sunday routine. “As a unit we all try to push each other and watch extra film and try to be the best secondary we can be.”
The dedication Brewster has shown is one of the focal reasons the Texas coaches have put such a large amount of trust in the second-year player. Brewster’s work ethic coupled with his football background has helped him in his continued development.
“His trust level has really gone up because of how he has practiced,” Akina said. “To have a guy that has had a lot of football in his background because of his father and Blake being in that same position has really helped us to give those guys more as they keep developing mentally.”
With his father being such an important figure not only in football, but personally as well, Brewster admits it was a difficult decision to turn down playing for his father.
“My dad coached here for four years and I’ve been around the UT program for long time and I’ve known coach Brown all my life,” Brewster said. “He knew I wanted to come here. It was kind of a tough deal, but he was supportive and ultimately he knew it was a good spot for me, and I did too.”
To have a talented player like Brewster who loves the university he plays for is something that every program looks for. Since he has been a part of the Longhorns program for nearly a decade, the Texas coaches know that Brewster is someone who takes pride in representing The University of Texas.
“I think that’s one of those things that have really helped us in our recruiting is that you get guys that really want to be here,” Akina said. “Nolan is one of those guys. You don’t have to talk them into coming here. That helps you overall that they’re proud to represent Texas football, because as we know it’s really a unique place. The ones that really want to be here who are outstanding athletes are the ones who really put it on the line for us, and that’s helped us in a lot of close ballgames.”