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Colin Brewer
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Baylor's Colin Brewer (4) celebrates after kicking a field goal against McCallie in October. He has been outstanding both as a place-kicker and a punter for the Red Raiders.
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Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 4/8/16. Mocs head coach Russ Huesman watches his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga team warm up during a football scrimmage at Finley Stadium on April 8, 2016.
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Timing is everything.

Colin Brewer is learning that, day by day.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga freshman punter from Baylor School has been training at the position this spring, taking steps to increase his speed and give himself an opportunity to compete for the starting spot in the 2016 season.

It is a position that has depth, with place-kicker Henrique Ribeiro having averaged 43.3 yards per punt last season. Also, new starting quarterback Alejandro Bennifield did some punting last year and provides an added dimension if the opportunity presents itself.

Brewer has been working with the coaching staff, namely head coach Russ Huesman and special teams coordinator Rusty Wright, extensively throughout the spring.

"I was a little nervous at first when I came in," Brewer said. "I've been working with Coach Huesman every day on getting my steps down and making sure I keep my time down. I'm really excited, though. I've learned a lot and I'm getting better at it."

The Mocs like the rugby-style kick, which has been a change for Brewer. They also like directional punting, which focuses on hitting the ball toward a pylon to limit the opportunity for a return. Those are two adjustments the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder is still making.

"It was pretty difficult at first," he said of the directional punting. "I would aim it at the right pylon and sometimes mis-hit it a little bit. The adjustment has been pretty tough, but I've been working on it, making sure I get it down so that I'm ready for the season."

Along with his style of punting, he has had to adjust to the speed of the game going on around him. Brewer, who averaged 40.7 yards per punt with 21 kicks inside the 20 as a Baylor senior, typically had a few seconds to get one of his booming kicks off at the prep level.

The UTC coaches want that time down to around two seconds, to account for the players crashing in for block attempts. Wright has kept a stopwatch during special teams drills, continually harping on the speed factor to Brewer, who is slowly but surely adjusting.

"He can kick it. He can kick the crap out of it," Wright said. "He has to be consistent and work on things happening faster, because they're happening so much faster, and that's what he's got to work on. He struggled a little bit last year, but sometimes you've got to change what you're doing, and we're doing things to help him out and let him kick how he needs to kick it.

"He's going to be a factor for us, though. He'll be pretty good."

Huesman agreed with Wright's assessment.

"He's a little slow now, but he's got a powerful leg. He'll be an excellent punter for us, but (the speed) is a transition for him," Huesman said. "When he punts for that first time in a game, he better be on time, but he's got a great leg.

"He'll punt for us in the fall."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com.

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