CSU linebacker Ricky Brewer, named the preseason Mountain West newcomer of the year, has yet to play a down on defense this season.
Blame it on youth, blame it on experience or blame it on a dislocated finger on his right hand.
Whatever the case, the 0-3 Rams have yet to see the redshirt freshman take the field except for once on special teams.
But Brewer said he is simply focused on what’s best for the team.
“The only thing I can do is just be a student of the game and practice like I’m a starter,” Brewer said. “I’ve got to keep my mind sharp and when it’s my turn to step in I’ll be ready.”
Defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said Brewer’s injury, which came before the Sept. 8 game against Cal, has factored in “a little” in his lack of playing time.
“Against Cal, Ricky was going to play and then that happens in pregame and he’s out,” Stanard said.
Brewer is now practicing with his right pinky and ring finger taped heavily and said it’s “feeling better every day.”
But Stanard said the coaches are mostly waiting on some specific improvements from Brewer.
“Ricky works hard and he flies around, it’s just sometimes he doesn’t get a lot done,” Stanard said. “That’s part of the maturation process, just moving around the field efficiently and not just running around the field for the sake of running around.”
Brewer, who graduated from Mullen High School in Denver in 2005, has shown his teammates the ability to make plays in practice.
“He’s got a lot of talent and when he gets the chance I think he’s gonna make the most of it,” said junior linebacker Jeff Horinek. “It may be this year, I don’t know when it is, but he’ll turn into a good player by the time he’s out of here, that’s for sure.”
Stanard said Brewer will continue to compete with current starter Curtis Cornelson and sophomore Sedric Patterson for time on the field.
“They’re all competing hard right now and by no means is the job Curtis’ for the year,” Stanard said. “Every week we’re evaluating it, just like at every position.”
Brewer said he’s looking forward to his chance to help his teammates on the field.
“I think I’ll bring speed and enthusiasm,” Brewer said. “We’re 0-10 right now in our last 10 games, so it’s kind of hard for us to be enthusiastic. But once we get that first win, that spirit we have is gonna take over.”
Sports writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org