RB Brown UConn's iron man
By NEILL OSTROUT
Article Launched: 10/12/2008 01:08:15 AM EDT
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STORRS -- Donald Brown swears he didn't need a week off.
The UConn coaches and many of the Husky fans who have witnessed Brown work this season are glad the junior running back is getting a break.
The Huskies are off to a hot start for the second straight season, and Brown is undoubtedly the primary reason. He is the nation's leading rusher, having already passed the 1,000-yard mark, and has scored 12 touchdowns.
The number of times Brown has carried the ball -- he's averaging 30 carries per game -- is apparently of little concern to Brown and head coach Randy Edsall.
"I feel fine. I'm used to the workload by now," the Atlantic Highlands, N.J., native says matter-of-factly.
Edsall swears that Brown gets better the more touches he gets. It's been difficult to argue that point thus far.
The Huskies won five of their first six games and after taking a much-needed break this weekend, they'll return to action Saturday against Rutgers.
The win total may be more than some expected, but a number of Huskies are still feeling the sting of a 38-12 loss to North Carolina.
"North Carolina's a good team but we made it easy for them," Brown said. "You can't make mistakes against a good team, especially on the road. Turnovers, penalties, you name it, it happened."
Brown, for one, wanted more than 5-1.
"I had expectations of being 6-0, to be honest," Brown said. "But at 5-1, we're still in a great position, and there's still a lot more games to be played."
In the remainder of those games, Brown may move around the offensive formation quite a bit.
He's been seen as a slot receiver on occasion and even made his debut as single-wing quarterback against North Carolina in the trendy "Wildcat" formation.
"It's given the other team a different look," Brown said. "If you look around football nowadays, if you turn on the NFL, you see the Miami Dolphins doing it. In college football, everybody's doing it.
"It's just a different thing to keep the defense on their toes."
Donald Brown is hopeful that, like the man with the same surname running the formation in Miami (Ronnie Brown), that he'll get to throw a pass soon.
"I've been lobbying to throw the ball here and there," Brown said with a laugh. "But a lot of people aren't buying it."
Brown actually has some experience with the forward pass. In fact, he has a perfect passer rating.
"I did throw one pass in high school," Brown said. "I was 1-for-1 with a touchdown."
When Red Bank Catholic needed a trick play, it turned to its star running back, and Brown connected on a 36-yard touchdown with a halfback option pass.
"It was nice," Brown said. "A lot of people say it wasn't, but it got there. It was good placement."
Red Bank actually lost to Matawan High that day, but it wasn't Brown's fault. In addition to the touchdown pass, he had over 200 yards on the ground.
Brown doesn't mind recalling his glory days back in his home state, especially before his annual showdown against the State University of New Jersey. He admits,
as is usually the case, to being anxious to face Rutgers.
"Yeah, I am," Brown said. "Going back home adds a little incentive to it."
He probably should be excited. In two games against the Scarlet Knights, Brown has rushed for 353 yards.
With his favorite opponent on deck, it's no wonder Brown didn't want to wait an extra week.