Hogs Feeding Off Brown's Enthusiasm

FAYETTEVILLE -- College football players aren't "miked up" like they sometimes are in the NFL, but if Pierre Brown ever makes it to the league, he might be a candidate for some entertaining in-game chatter.

Before, after and even during plays, the Arkansas linebacker is giving opponents an ear full of taunts and trash talking and he said it's what drives his enthusiasm and excitement on game days.

"I kind of like it when they talk back," Brown said. "I try to bait them to talk back. I love it when they talk back. It makes me play better.

"And I'll say anything that comes to mind to get under their skin, but I try to keep it clean."

Brown got to do plenty of talking during Saturday's 24-21 win at Mississippi State. The junior had eight tackles, including three for a loss and returned a blocked field goal 76 yards for touchdown.

After tackling a running back, Brown will often tell the guy he should have cut off the block another way or, tell him to get used to it because it's going to be "like this all day long."

"It makes the game a little more fun instead of just going out there and walking around dreary," Brown said.

Teammates say they feed off the enthusiasm.

"He's highly-energized, but it all goes back to making plays," said noseguard Jeremy Harrell. "If he makes a big play, he's going to let you know about it. That's good for a linebacker. He shows that kind of enthusiasm because he has a real love for the game."

The Razorbacks hope he'll be talking a ton on Friday when they host LSU at 1:30 p.m. in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

Against Mississippi State, a team with a dominant running game, the play of Arkansas' inside linebackers were key. It will be again Friday as the Tigers feature three solid tailbacks including Alley Broussard, who was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for a school-record 250 yards in a 27-24 win against Ole Miss.

"He's a cool guy, laid back and likes to tell a lot of jokes and things like that," said Hogs linebacker Sam Olajubutu of Brown. "But when he gets on the field, he's real physical and aggressive and he doesn't think there's anybody out there that can stop him.

"That's how you've got to be playing middle linebacker."

Defensive end Jeb Huckeba said Brown watches as much film of opponent's offenses as anybody on the team.

"Pierre is really a student of the game. He's real smart and he loves football," Huckeba said. "His knowledge and his discipline helps make him a very solid player because he knows the right coverage and knows how to tackle.

"He's kind of a savvy football player. He's not the fastest guy, but he's big enough, strong enough and smart enough to make plays."

Before choosing Arkansas, Brown also was recruited by Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee out of Birmingham (Ala.) Shades Valley High. And even though one recruiting services tabbed him the No. 6 player in Alabama as a senior, Brown knew he had a long way to go to become a quality college linebacker.

"I know I have to work hard because I'm not good enough not to work hard and go out there and play well," Brown said. "Everybody else is working, so I never sleep because I want to out-work the person next to me.

"I know that when I step on the field on Saturday, I've outworked the person in front of me and that's my advantage."

Brown had a career-high 12 tackles in 22-20 loss against Texas on Sept. 11, but said his performance against MSU was probably his best game in a Razorbacks uniform.

"I had three (tackles) for a loss and was able to make a play (the blocked kick returned for a touchdown) that basically changed the momentum of the game," Brown said. "But that game really doesn't matter to me. It's over.

"I hope the next game is my best game."

It may have to be as Brown and the Hogs must stop LSU's running backs to win the game and become bowl eligible.

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