BYU Record-Setting RB Waiting in the Wings

Waiting in the wings in perhaps the deepest and most talented BYU running back rotation ever is a young man who set a true-freshman Cougar single game rushing record last year.

Filling in for injured Marcus Whalen, Curtis Brown rushed for 217 yards, scored three touchdowns on a 6.6 yard-per-carry average in a Oct. 4 road match up against Utah State. His sizzling performance helped bring the Cougars back from a 27-point halftime deficit, the largest comeback victory in BYU history.

Brown has fully recovered from off-season surgery to his hand and will likely be redshirted.

"Things are coming along pretty good," Brown said. "Right now, I'm under the impression that I'm going to be redshirting, so I'm trying to get use to knowing that I went from traveling every weekend to not suiting up. Now, I'm just in the background. It's an adjustment, but I think in the long run, it's going to be a great decision for me."

As the star running back for Paraclete High School in California, Brown recorded more than 7,000 career rushing yards and led his team to four consecutive CIF Div. XII championships. He also ran for 27 touchdowns as a senior. As a prep sophomore, he rushed for 2,645 yards and set a state single-season rushing record.

As Utah reporter covering a recent practice scrimmage that Brown showed flashes of brilliance noted, "By the time he is a 5th year senior, he's going to be a super back."

"It's hard not taking as many reps. I love the game. I love being out there and I love practicing. I sort of had to step back and let other guys get reps that are going to be playing. It's so hard to step back and watch what everyone else is doing when you're on the sidelines."

Brown, however, told early this year ago he was hoping to redshirt so he could get stronger in the weight room and faster.

"I'm going to take this year to develop more; work on my speed, work on my strength and become more comfortable with the offense. We always have different things (offensive formations) going in every year. I just have to get into my playbook and learn everything about what the offense is all about."

From his experiences last year comes a new understanding of what is expected of him.

"Now I have an understanding of what college ball is really like. I know the competition and the expectations are super high. I now know how high I have to work up to. I'm just more comfortable and have no room for fear, no fear," Brown said.

Thinking about his future as a BYU Cougar, he said "it's exciting. Actually, when I'm standing out on the sidelines a lot this year, I get a chance to look at the defense. I just love the intensity. These guys day-in and day-out are just working their butts off. Injured or hurt, they're still out there giving it a 110 percent. That's the kind of intensity a team needs to have to be successful. I think our defense is going to set the tone for us this year. Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. I think that is what they are going to do for us."

The defensive upgrade has only served to push the offense even harder to excel, compete and best their defensive teammates.

"Oh, it gets to you. You know when the defense is making plays and they're getting excited, you want give it back to them. The offense is starting to feed off the defensive energy. If the offense can get up to that tempo, get mean and ugly just like the defense, we're going to be a hard team to stop."

Brown noted the success of BYU's running game is rooted in the development and improvement of its offensive line play.

"I love our offensive line. We have a talented group in our offensive line and they're great guys. They're there for us, we communicate with them everyday. They let us know what they want us to do, and we let them know about their blocks," Brown said.

He continued: "The best relationship you can have is between your running backs and your offensive line –they're the ones that are going to be creating the holes. We have to work with them and they have to work well with us. I think this is going to be a great year for our running backs."

In his parting words, Brown sent a message to his family in Palmdale, California.

"Just tell my family I love them and to my brother to keep working hard. The size will come and everything will work out."

Consider it done.

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