OL Coach Eric Mateos is helping Aaron Brewer reach his potential

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Football

Head coach Everett Withers believes an offensive line is built from the inside out.

It’s why he converted sophomore guard Aaron Brewer to center toward the end of the 2016 season. The then-true freshman was arguably Texas State’s best lineman and was the perfect fulcrum to lever the future of the unit around.

Despite a disastrous debut against Idaho in which Brewer saw three snaps go over quarterback Tyler Jones’ head including one that resulted in a safety, the Dallas Skyline product ended the year as a bright spot along Texas State’s struggling line.

Brewer earned Preseason All-Conference First-Team nods from Athlon Sports, Lindy’s Sports and CollegeSportsMadness.com. Considering that Brewer was mostly leaning on raw strength and not necessarily technique, he still had a lot of polish. Thrown into the fire from the get-go (11 starts), Brewer didn’t have a chance to worry about cleaning up his game. He just played instinctually.

“Me being an aggressive and competitive person just helped me last year,” Brewer said. “…Go get whoever’s in front of me and not worry about who they were, that helped me out last year.”

The polish is where his new offensive line coach, Eric Mateos, comes in.

Mateos, a former assistant at LSU and Arkansas, was hired by Withers this past winter during Texas State’s staff restructuring and brought with him a renewed focus on technique to the position.

“A lot of Aaron’s issues as a freshman were his balance,” Mateos said after looking at Brewer’s freshman tape. “He’s a very naturally strong kid, great core strength, great flexibility. A lot of things we’ve been working on is him playing with all his cleats in the ground, converting the power he does have in the weight room.

“What we’re doing is just trying to start from the ground up on his technique and make it so he’s really, really polished in it. He’s doing it, he listens and he’s coachable.”

A former center at Southwest Baptist, Mateos relayed some tricks of the trade. But the assistant really pulls from past players he’s coached. Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson, Seattle Seahawks guard Travis Bocic and Arkansas Razorbacks center Frank Ragnow (Projected to be one of the first centers taken in the 2018 NFL Draft) all were at one point coached by Mateos.

“You learn from great players and when you coach another player who’s really talented, you can take things you learn from those kids and apply it to another player,” Mateos said. “You learn from your own experiences, but you also learn from other guys you coached because more times than not you learn from players than just watching film and stuff like that.”

Not to mention, he was groomed by two of the best offensive line coaches in recent memory in LSU’s Jeff Grimes and Sam Pittman, currently at Georgia.

“He’s coached me up on a lot of little things,” Brewer said. “He’s helping me technique-wise just to better my game as a whole…Pass pro he’s helped me out just to stay calm...Hand placement, just technique and everything else.”

Brewer is already an established leader on the team in Withers’ eyes as a sophomore. According to Mateos and echoed by Brewer, leadership doesn’t have an age. But in Texas State’s OL room, no one has a chance to be young. There are only two juniors in left tackle Tryston Mizerak and Cedric Gambrell who’s only in his second season at the position. Everyone’s learning, failing and improving at the same rate.

“I’m not giving them a chance to be young,” Mateos said. “I’m not coaching them like they’re young, I’m coaching them like they’re vets. The older guys, they know when to step in and be a voice. Aaron Brewer’s a leader in our offensive line, he’s a sophomore, he’s 19 years old.”

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666