It’s been a tough go-around for senior defensive back Chief Brown.
The Winona, Mississippi native showed brief flashes of greatness during spring practice and the start of fall camp in 2013. Before Brown could even make his presence known in the Ole Miss secondary, however, he tore his Achilles tendon and missed the entire season.
Brown missed the first eight games of last season as a result of the injury and returned in the 35-31 loss to Auburn.
Even after his return following the devastating injury, he wasn’t the same player he was once branded as.
The road to recovery has been a lengthy one for Brown, but after a solid spring and fall camp, he is ready to make an impact in the Ole Miss secondary. With depth and talent throughout all of the positions in the secondary, Brown will play a pivotal role learning rover, free safety and husky.
“It’s been hard. There’s a lot to learn, but I’ve played all three in the past,” Brown said about learning three positions. “I’m more comfortable at free and rover because I’ve played there more during my career, but I’m getting more comfortable at husky daily.”
While familiar with all three positions, Brown said he expects to play more at husky and rover than free safety.
In his short time playing during the 2014 season, Brown appeared in five games and only recorded two tackles. That was the old Chief Brown. The new and healthy Chief Brown will be more versatile than ever, just adding to the large number of bodies the Rebels can throw out in the secondary.
The players in the secondary last season referred to Golson and Prewitt as the “old guys” of the group, Brown said. Those “old guys” this season, however, now include Brown, Mike Hilton and Trae Elston.
“A bunch of guys will get playing because of how deep we are,” Brown said. “I think a bunch of guys will get playing time. I think a lot of us will have different roles and get significant snaps, but because of our experience, I don’t think we feel any extra pressure just because Cody (Prewitt) and Senquez (Golson) are gone.”
Even with the loss of Golson and Prewitt, Brown feels that the secondary can be better and deeper than last season.
“It’s just a matter of going out there and proving ourselves. We had a great DNA last year with some great guys, but I think we can be better this year,” Brown said. “If guys just play their roles and know what to do, we can be a great defense, better than last year, especially on the defensive line.”
Brown had high praise for the defensive line and added how the talent at the position can help out the guys in the secondary.
“It’s a lovely thing,” Brown said with a laugh when describing the defensive line. “You just look at the D-line and you just know you have help. You never have to worry since you have guys like Fadol (Brown), Robert (Nkemdiche), Channing (Ward). Even all the young guys will help greatly.”
As for his personal expectations, Brown said learning three positions will help him be the versatile playmaker the coaching staff wants him to be.
“I’m going to get a shot at all three positions at one time or another, and I intend to make the most of it.”