The driving force behind a great team is the chemistry it carries. It’s not something that you’ll find at every school in the nation, but it’s something the Blue Raiders demonstrate inside the football program.
That bond is no more evident at Middle Tennessee than at the quarterback position between Brent Stockstill and Austin Grammer. The two have built a strong friendship that surpasses the time they spend on the field each week.
The two quarterbacks shared the basic desire of every new player to build friendships within the team. Stockstill came into a situation where he could learn from two quarterbacks who had the chemistry already, Grammer and former Middle Tennessee starter Logan Kilgore.
“When I was a freshman coming in, you’re always looking for those guys to befriend you,” Stockstill said in his interview with Sidelines. “Most of the time that’s your position group. That summer, I know we played a lot of golf, hung out a lot, we’ve continued to build on it, and do things outside of football.”
The quarterback role can be one of the most alienating positions on the team, especially considering the weight that it holds, and it’s widely recognized as one of, if not the most, influential and toughest positions on the field.
“It makes it more fun that we can do all that extra-curricular stuff together,” Grammer said about his friendship with Stockstill. “It just kept going, and blossomed from there.”
It takes time to build friendships, and the one between Stockstill and Grammer didn’t get to the level it’s at immediately. It has grown over the past four years they’ve known each other.
“Some of your best friends might be guys you grew up with,” Grammer said. “This will be my fourth year with Brent and obviously our bond is a lot stronger than it was the first month he was on the team.”
The relationship the two quarterbacks have extends to future quarterbacks on the team, with new faces like freshman John Urzua.
“Brent’s experienced this with John (Urzua) who just came in,” Grammer said. “We always try to welcome those guys, teach them, hang out with them.”
It’s not only the quarterbacks who emphasize what a brotherhood is. The coaches and players focus on having relationships with each other, no matter the position.
“[It’s] not just the quarterback group, but this whole team really gets along,” Grammer said.
“I think we have a great culture here, I’d do anything for anybody on this team,” Stockstill added. “Not only the quarterback culture, I just think we have a great group of guys.”
During the summer players spend time getting acquainted with each other to build a comfortability that translates to chemistry on the field. The time off the field gave the two quarterbacks a chance to unwind while building the bond you see today.
“A lot of our summer consisted of going golfing, laying by the pool, just being lazy,” Grammer said. “We (the team) pretty much did everything together, our tight group offensively or whoever’s in it.”
“It’s week to week, we’re both good golfers,” Grammer said about their game.
“I know we both played this week separate and were 76 and 77,” Stockstill said jokingly. “He was playing by himself, you don’t know if he’s telling the truth.”
The quarterback battle that grabbed most of the attention at the beginning of training camp didn’t put any strain on Stockstill and Grammer’s friendship.
“It’s more enjoyable because we’re not at each other’s throats,” Grammer said.
Jeremiah Bryson spoke with Sidelines about what it’s like having both quarterbacks on the team.
“It always takes away the tension,” Bryson said. “It would be hard to have a bad off-field relationship and try to have a good one on the field.”
Both quarterbacks see what’s between the lines and what’s outside the lines, and that helps with the mentality they step onto the field with.
“I think no matter what, we’re always going to be close,” Stockstill said. “Off the field nothing is going to change, we do a good job of keeping it in-between the lines.”
“As any competitor would be I was upset at first that Brent won the job,” Grammer said about Stockstill being named the starting quarterback. “There isn’t a fiber in me that hopes Brent throws a pick or gets hurt. He does a great job, and it’s fun to watch, and he’s the same way when I’m playing.”
To contact sports editor Michael Ward email firstname.lastname@example.org.