EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Brian Lewerke was effectively handed the reins to the Spartan offense back during spring practice, but we don’t know very much about the Phoenix, AZ native. 6 Sports reporter Jay Sarkar sat down with MSU’s sophomore quarterback to get some insight about the pressure he faces trying to pick MSU back up from a 3-9 season.
The following was a conversation between MSU QB Brian Lewerke and 6 Sports Reporter Jay Sarkar
Sarkar: This is the first year where you’re the guy, I was watching an old clip in the sports archives. Are people pronouncing your name right finally?
Lewerke: Uh finally yes, it is uh Le-Wur-Key instead of I have heard Le-work, Le-warkey, I mean all of them, I’ve heard just about any pronunciation of it now.
Sarkar: well that’s kind of the first step that you’ve made it? People are at least getting that right
Lewerke: When people start getting your name right you know you’re on the right track to something
Sarkar: You had a chance to shine in the spotlight a little bit last year, played in four games, made two starts before your injury happened, and the team has spent the offseason grooming you to be the starter but let’s be honest, you’re being handed the keys to a car that’s won 3 Big Ten Championships in 7 years, what is the pressure like?
Lewerke: Honestly I have not really thought about it like that but when you say it like that you definitely, there is some pressure that comes with that but I mean I am just trying to ya know take it for how it is and just try and do my best to take it for how it is and just try and do my best to continue that tradition.
Sarkar: Speaking of those great years you are trying to follow in the footsteps of two guys that preceeded you in Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook. You were teammates with Connor, what did you learn from him getting to watch as he helped pilot this team to the playoff?
Lewerke: Yeah, I just kinda learned how to be a leader of the offense. I think that he was a great leader, he was not afraid to call people out, not afraid to ya know, he typically ran the right play so he was able to tell people what to do, that is kinda something I picked up from him, just trying to be a leader out on the field.
Sarkar: You and Kirk didn’t cross over at all, have you seeked out any advice from him over the years?
Lewerke: I have yeah, I saw him before I came here, I came for the spring game in 2015 and I visited with him, talked with him a little bit and then um this spring I was able to call him and I just kinda asked what it was like to lead a team that kind of had some off the field issues. When he was here, he had that dorm incident, so I just asked him how to deal with stuff like that and he said it was trying to keep everyone that we have together with us right now. Trying to get to know people more personally, asking them about how they are and how their family is doing, I just tried creating more personal relationships with people.
Sarkar: You have been here for the highest of highs and lowest of lows your first two years. What’s gonna be the difference this year that gets Michigan State Football back into that Big Ten East conversation and possibly back into a Big Ten Title game?
Lewerke: I think the biggest thing is our team chemistry, I feel like it’s awesome this year. Guys are not afraid to call people out, they come together a lot more, they are not afraid to get on people’s bad sides and they know they will fix that at the end of practice. If there is a fight or an argument, we know that we will all come back together in the end, a team has to have that if they want to win a championship. They have to have that ability to come together as one unit.
Sarkar: When you started playing your high school football and you knew you wanted to play in college, there is no way you thought you would trade in Phoenix’s climate for East Lansing’s was there?
Lewerke: Honestly when I was being recruited that was not a big thing I was thinking of, maybe I should have taken it into account a little more but I was looking at all options everywhere. California schools, Florida schools, I even took a visit up to (the University of) Washington so I kinda got all tastes of climates and I decided that Michigan State was the one. I didn’t really think about it too much, I just felt the vibe here was awesome and I felt like I needed to come here.
Sarkar: But there are times during the winter you definitely think “wow, it’s like eighty degrees at home in Arizona right now”
Lewerke: Yeah I’ll call my dad and he’ll be talking like “yeah I’m sweating walking to the car.” And I’m like “it’s November, c’mon, it’s like fifteen degrees here and snowing.”
Sarkar: With that, you obviously have created your own family and close circle of friends here but is it tough being 2000 miles away from home?
Lewerke: At first it was pretty tough yeah, I think I have developed a great group of friends here and all the guys I live with so that definitely helped. At the start it was pretty difficult but once you get that group, those people you hang out with all the time it gets really fun.
Sarkar: Let’s jump in a time machine to January 15, 2018, season is over, what goals have been met for MSU Football? What goals have been met for Brian Lewerke?
Lewerke: Personally for me, I would like to be in the national spotlight for quarterbacks, if that is not your goal, then what is your goal? You want to be one of the top guys at your position so that is a goal for me. As a team, we want improvement from last year. Let’s be real, it’s not terribly hard to improve from a 3-9 season so whatever happens, Bowl Game, Big Ten Championship, whatever happens, I think we will be happy with it.