GREENSBORO, NC -- For the first time in three years, it's not a definite who Virginia Tech's starting quarterback this fall will be.
In spring practice, senior Mark Leal, sophomore Brenden Motley and true freshman Andrew Ford battled it out. But junior Michael Brewer and true freshmen Chris Durkin and Travon McMillian didn't arrive on campus until this summer.
If it's any indication who could be the starter, junior wide receiver Willie Byrn might have already seen the signs during the Hokies' involuntary seven-on-seven scrimmages, run by the players themselves. Fall camp will determine the true winner, though Byrn already believes he knows not only the starter, but perhaps, the signal-caller who can turn Virginia Tech's offense around.
Even before any workouts began, Byrn already saw the qualities of a strong leader in Brewer, from the moment he arrived in Blacksburg. With Brewer, there wasn't much of a getting acquainted period with his teammates.
One look at Brewer's Dodge pick-up truck, with a kayak and fishing poles dangling out of the truck bed gives some indication of his personality.
"He's the guy that, he goes fishing every day," Byrn said. "Him, Charley Meyer and them fishing boys, Farris, they go every day. He says he's gonna take me hunting and I'm still waiting for that to happen. He's told me some insane stories about hunting and stuff. It's made me wanna hunt. He's already in the team. What's interesting, he never really had…when someone first transfers, they're a little timid and looking, checking out different places where they fit in. He just kinda threw himself in."
Even from a defensive perspective, senior defensive tackle Luther Maddy isn't around offensive players as often as his defensive teammates. Still, he gravitated somewhat to Brewer and his personality.
"He's a cool guy, seems real comfortable, like at ease," Maddy said. "Not eyes wide open, like deer lights, but he's real comfortable. He goes fishing with the guys, I know, a lot. Even on the sideline or walking back to the locker room, I'll talk to him a couple of times. Even at TOTS, downtown, I'll talk to him, just hanging out with him."
On the field, Byrn likes what he's seen. Brewer has been the one taking command of the offense, running plays out of the Hokies' playbook and pushing everyone to be better.
There's still a battle yet to be won in fall camp, but as far as Byrn's concerned, Brewer has displayed enough to at least make him the front-runner this fall.
"The biggest and best impression is how competitive he is," Byrn said. "He doesn't like to lose one rep in seven-on-seven and you love to see that. You love it because you've got some guys, naturally, it's the summer, it's towards the end of the workout and if you get an incompletion, it's an incompletion and whatever. He's mad if you don't complete the ball. And if the defense breaks it up and they talk about it, he comes right back at 'em, audibles the play and does whatever he needs to do to win."
And in the end, that's what Virginia Tech is looking for in the leader of its offense.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO BYRN TALKING WITH THE PRINT MEDIA AT THE ACC KICKOFF: ACC KICKOFF: WILLIE BYRN ADDRESSES MEDIA