STILLWATER - Two years ago, Adarius Bowman was uncertain where he would play college football. He did know one thing, though. Wherever Gunter Brewer coached, that’s where Bowman would transfer. Even if Brewer landed in Alaska? “I’m there, man,” Bowman said. “Overseas. I’m there, man. That’s how much I love this guy. I consider him my role dog.” Bowman was raised by a single mother. He said Oklahoma State’s wide receivers coach is the father he never had. Position coaches often develop close relationships with players. But Bowman and Brewer, two cut-ups who have laugh-a-minute personalities, have a unique bond. The defining moment occurred during Bowman’s sophomore season at North Carolina. The day after Bowman caught a 46-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass in a win over North Carolina State, Bowman and two teammates were dismissed from the team when marijuana was discovered in the apartment. Bowman said he was innocent, unaware drugs were in the residence. Brewer stood by the 6-foot-4, 220-pound wide receiver, who once high-jumped 7 feet at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Tenn. Six weeks later, charges were dropped against Bowman. By then, the football season was finished. Three months later, Brewer joined coach Mike Gundy’s staff at Oklahoma State. Later that spring, Bowman transferred to OSU. Nearly two years after that fateful day in an apartment in North Carolina, Bowman gets to play again, Saturday night when the Cowboys host Missouri State at Boone Pickens Stadium. “I can’t explain how excited I’ll be,” Bowman said. “I’ve been waiting a long time. I’m like a soda when you shake it up. I’m about ready to pop.” Bowman said it was Brewer’s cut-to-the-chase approach that convinced him to sign with North Carolina, then transfer to OSU when Brewer moved to Stillwater. “Throughout my life, I really never felt I had that father figure,” Bowman said. “He’s a guy I learned to love from the time he was recruiting me. He was always straight forward with things. He didn’t beat around the bush. We built a strong relationship. I trust him. He trusts me.” Brewer recalled the first bond-building experience at North Carolina. During Bowman’s first practice as a freshman, the young player ran down field on kickoff coverage. Bowman was involved in a violent collision. “He thought he broke his neck,” Brewer said. “He went numb. It was the first time he had ever gotten hurt. I told him that he’d be OK. It’s about building trust. You go through good times and bad times.” According to NCAA rules, coaches can take players out for “an occasional meal.” Sometimes it’s a trip to the bowling alley for dinner at a restaurant. Dining with Brewer’s family made a strong impact on Bowman. “He and his whole family brought me up like I was their son,” Bowman said. “He took the time to sit down and really explain things to me. ‘AD, you can’t do things this way. You have to be willing to listen, willing to learn.’ It all started from there. He was the first guy in my life I considered to be my father.” OSU teammates and coaches notice the unique bond. Veteran wide receiver D’Juan Woods has been around Brewer and Bowman in practice, at the training table and position meetings. “It’s like when you’re a kid, somebody can tell you to quit climbing on the fence,” Woods said. “It takes that one person to tell you to where you’re like, ‘OK. I’ll stop climbing on the fence.’ That’s AD and Brew. The way they talk to each other, you can tell they’ve had a relationship for a long time.” Bowman was a basketball star growing up, and he didn’t play football until his junior year in high school. He was a natural. As a senior, he was ranked among the top five receivers in the country. Brewer’s shoot-straight approach, combined with the Tar Heels’ hoops tradition, made it a slam dunk Bowman would wear Carolina blue. “Most guys came at me with all this football terminology,” Bowman said. “I really didn’t know all that at the time. He came at me with things he could help me with, what he could do for me, how he could make me a man. I was more concerned with that rather than the football team. I didn’t know much about college football teams.” Woods is the third-leading receiver in OSU history. With Bowman lined up on the opposite side, it should minimize double-teams for both receivers. Both are projected to have big seasons, possibly approach 50 or more receptions each. “He’s the prototype receiver you look for, someone with good size, speed and agility,” Brewer said. “He’s done well in practice. He’s received some kudos. He’s received some press. He knows what he can do. He just wants to get back out there and make plays.”
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Missouri State at Oklahoma State 6 P.M. SATURDAY TV: None Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1 Long wait The last time Adarius Bowman appeared in a game was Oct. 10, 1994. Bowman hauled in two receptions for 76 yards, including a 46-yard, go-ahead touchdown reception in a win over archrival North Carolina State. He built a reputation for making big plays. His sophomore season, Bowman averaged 18.3 yards a reception. “He’s done this before against good caliber teams,” wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer said. “He’s done it as a freshman against Florida State. He’s done it as a sophomore against NC State. That’s when he was a young man. Now he’s grown up and matured physically.” Fumble issues?Bowman fumbled in the spring game. He had a couple of fumbles early during two-a-days. Brewer, who coached Bowman at North Carolina, said those plays are rare exceptions, not the rule. “He’s never had a problem with fumbles,” Brewer said. “The thing I’ve had to caution him about is to not make plays that aren’t there sometimes. He makes plays naturally. He has God-given talent. Good size. Good speed. I may have to hold the reins in on him a little to where he doesn’t try to overdo or overimpress.” By Mike Baldwin