As Alabama's starting quarterback, Jake Coker spends a lot of time in the spotlight. But his family doesn't see a young man consumed with his own fame and inflated self-importance. Instead, they see a brother who is on the football to impress his older brother.
And Coker's older brother sets a high standard, as far as integrity goes. As his younger brother prepares to lead the Crimson Tide in this year's College Football Playoff, Patrick Brown is watching from halfway around the world: The Air Force pilot is currently stationed in Turkey as part of the military operations against ISIS.
Earlier this year, though, Brown was able to attend an Alabama game. According to For The Win, he surprised Coker afterward in what was an emotional family affair.
"If you could have seen them after the game, I don't think there was a dry eye," said Michelle Spires, their mother. "Patrick is a lot of inspiration for Jake … I think he plays for Patrick."
Despite the distance between Brown and Coker, the two manage to text on a weekly basis -- Brown tries to send Coker a pre-game pep talk every week. Coker also has a Crimson Tide flag on his wall that flew with Brown in his cockpit during a mission. While it could be easy for the family to be preoccupied with Brown's safety and the volatile situation in the Middle East, Alabama's success this season has offered a sort of therapy.
"It's very stressful with all the turmoil going on," Spires tells For The Win. "That's the good thing about Alabama football. For us, it's almost a diversion because we get to sit here and watch Jake and his team play and be victorious and do these great things for Alabama.
"It kind of takes our mind off Patrick doing what he’s doing."
Brown watches every game he can, as long as he's not flying, and Spires also mails him DVDs of each game. He still isn't sure whether he'll be able to watch Coker's game this week, but he's confident in his brother -- even if the little bro has no use for his pep talks anymore.
"He doesn't need any real specifics from me," Brown tells For The Win. "He's got that figured out."