Minnesota running back Tellis Redmon is lined up opposite his teammate, roommate, and second cousin Jack Brewer. Redmon has a play called, and Brewer’s defense is ready.
The two are trading trash talk, as they often do when in competition with each other.
But what happens next is cause for debate.
“He can’t beat me,” Brewer said. “So it gets pretty bad.”
Oh really? That’s not what Redmon says.
“Yeah, I beat him all the time,” Redmon said. “He won’t tell you that; he’ll lie to you.”
Sounds like some old fashion family competition.
But no matter who emerges victorious on the Playstation 2, Redmon’s competitiveness always shows – much like when he’s on the field.
“Every time I go out in the game I try to play to my standard level,” Redmon said. “And I try to raise it every time I’m out there so everybody can try to follow off of me.”
Last season, Redmon set a high bar for himself, rushing for 1,368 yards in 12 games. He also posted 327 yards in receptions en route to honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
This season, Redmon is averaging just under 111 yards per game despite 19 carries per contest – down from 24 handoffs per game last season.
“He’s been around for awhile and knows what it takes to be successful in the Big Ten,” running backs coach Vic Adamle said. “He’s so much better than last year it’s not even funny, and last year he gained almost 1,400 yards.”
Redmon, who is the Big Ten’s third leading rusher, almost didn’t come to Minnesota.
Redmon hails from Grapevine, Tex., about 20 miles northwest of Dallas. He grew up playing football with Brewer since the age of six. And other than a couple of years on different Pee Wee league teams, they have played together every season.
The duo led Grapevine High School to a 15-0 record and the 1996 Texas 4A state title in Redmon’s junior campaign.
Brewer, who is a year ahead of Redmon, chose to attend Southern Methodist in Dallas. The pair decided they wanted to attend college together, so Redmon planned to follow his second cousin to SMU.
But after Brewer’s freshman season, he transferred to Minnesota, and Redmon followed.
“He’s like my little brother basically,” Brewer said. “I’m with him at all times. We live together, and we grew up together. We’ve never been apart.”
Redmon likes having his second cousin around because of Brewer’s talent, but more importantly, he’s someone to whom Redmon can relate.
And as Redmon appreciates having Brewer, the Gophers appreciate having both of them.
Redmon is currently second in the Big Ten in average all-purpose yards per game with 153.2, while Brewer’s 64 tackles lead the team.
Although Redmon is in a natural leadership role with the numbers he puts up, he lets his actions do all the talking.
“He’s not a vocal guy,” Adamle said. “He does it by example; he runs everything hard, runs out everything. So I think he is a notch above other people in that regard.”
Brewer admits he and Redmon are opposites when it comes to leading others. Brewer is known as being a loud and fiery leader, while Redmon generally stays quiet.
“I wouldn’t say he’s an emotional leader because he doesn’t pour out his emotions to people,” Brewer said. “But you give him the ball and he’ll run like a horse for you.”
Redmon’s no-nonsense attitude is rubbing off on some of the younger players, especially true freshman Marion Barber III.
Barber calls Redmon a stabilizing force during games, letting him know what adjustments should be made during games and in practice.
Redmon and Brewer also exchange advice frequently, and expect much from each other on the field. And when the team isn’t performing, Brewer said they will point the finger at each other.
But after cooling down, the two get off each others’ cases.
At least until they pick up their Playstation 2 controllers.
Anthony Maggio covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]