Despite Suspension, Brown A Favorite Of Oklahoma Coaches

Wednesday, September 19th 2007, 2:02 pm
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Chris Brown found himself in the doghouse after a broken rule got him suspended for one game. He didn't stay there long.

The sturdy sophomore praised as the most consistent of No. 4 Oklahoma's three premier tailbacks is hardly seen as a troublemaker, and the undisclosed action that resulted in discipline is considered merely a one-time blip on the radar.

``Chris Brown's actually my favorite running back. No disrespect to our two fast, really good ones, but I like Chris Brown a bunch too,'' offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. ``He's a downhill, north-south, tough guy.''

Brown emerged from a pack of freshman running backs last season to earn a pair of late-season starts after Adrian Peterson and Allen Patrick both were injured. He scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put Oklahoma ahead in a 34-24 win against Texas Tech, then ran for 169 yards and a touchdown in a 36-10 win at Baylor.

He had two more scores against Oklahoma State, when he came in as Patrick's backup. After getting such a big taste of the action last football season, he said it felt ``real strange'' to be forced aside for this season's opener against North Texas.

``It really hit close to home. That whole week, it really wasn't hitting until Friday, and then I was like, `Man, I really ain't going to be playing,''' said Brown, who came to Oklahoma from Alexandria, La. ``You live and you learn.''

Wilson said he doesn't believe Brown is the type of player who needed a wake-up call, and the suspension was ``just something that happened that had to be dealt with.''

``He's typically going to respond to all things, whether it be that or anything,'' Wilson said. ``It's just a situation where he had a deal and he missed a game.

``I also think he responds like all those guys, they want to get every carry. I think he just responds to competition, and he was the guy last year; he responded in a great way when you took that redshirt off at the end of the year.''

So far this season, Brown has been splitting time with Patrick and DeMarco Murray, who redshirted last season and was also in consideration for playing time when the injuries struck.

Of the three, coach Bob Stoops said Brown might be ``the most underrated because he's maybe the most efficient.''

``It's just amazing to watch his feet in the hole and his timing,'' Stoops said. ``It's just fantastic.''

Through three games, Murray leads the Sooners with 251 yards rushing. Patrick, who missed the North Texas game while giving his sprained ankle an extra week to heal, has 160 yards on only 15 carries while Brown has rushed 25 times for 104 yards. Mossis Madu, who has been the Sooners' tailback in mop-up time, has 139 yards on 21 carries.

``Some teams you might have a situation like this where all three guys are feuding about it,'' Brown said. ``It's good to know that everybody is happy with what's going on, and just loving what's going on here at Oklahoma.''

Brown said the running backs have jelled well together, and he was excited to see Patrick break off a 69-yard touchdown run last week, only to be one-upped by Murray's 92-yard score.

But Wilson sees something special in Brown, even if he's more apt to make the routine play than the flashy one.

``He's a great kid, got a great family at home. He don't say a whole lot. He is a very quiet, simple, hardworking, quality kid,'' Wilson said. ``More than anything, I think he's got a great future and is an extremely good young player.''

Brown said there's been no lingering effect from the suspension and ``all the coaches are back speaking to me.'' He said he understands that ``it's rules, and rules have got to be abided by.'' The hardest thing was getting that opportunity taken away.

``I learned a lot. I learned how it feels not to be able to play, how it feels to watch your team from the TV,'' Brown said. ``It's all just out of my mind, that whole week. ... I've just put it all behind me, the situation, and now I've just moved on.''