Browner Not Wasting Opportunity

For some college football athletes, the opportunity to be an impact player comes soon. For others, they may have to wait a bit. For linebacker Keith Browner, that opportunity finally arises, as a redshirt senior…

When Keith Browner came to Berkeley in the summer of 2006, he was a highly recruited defensive end out of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles.

His background?

NFL Pedigree, father Keith Sr. was a standout linebacker at USC and in the NFL. His uncles also went on to acclaimed college and pro careers. Safe to say, a lot of pressure was on Browner to perform well.

"Throughout my whole life, since I started Pop Warner, everybody knew the Browner name," said Browner.

"They expected a lot out of me. That put a lot of pressure on me. But, I also understood, with the name, you have to uphold the family tradition. So, I basically just stepped it up. My uncles and my dad gave me advice, and I just got comfortable. I started having fun, watched some college film on them, watched some NFL film on them... I've been really excited to try and uphold the family name."

Yet, even with the great history, adjusting to the speed and physicality of the college game proved to be a great challenge for Browner. As a defensive end, Browner played sparingly. Looking for playing time, he accepted a challenge during the 2008 season, from linebacker coach Kenwick Thompson, to be used as at strong side linebacker.

"When I moved up to linebacker, I accepted the challenge from Coach Thompson," said Browner.

"He wanted me to open up my mind because he saw me as a smart player. When I first went to linebacker, it was a struggle. It was a little fight, because I had to use everything-- all my senses, get my eyes down a lot faster rather than getting up the field as a rusher. It was a big transition."

Yet, a year and a half later, Browner's big chance is finally coming.

During spring practice, Browner exclusively worked with the first unit at SLB. In passing situations, he would come out for the more mobile Jarred Price. Nonetheless, Browner is excited for the opportunity to simply get on the field.

"The combination with me and Price... we just go get it," Browner says. "When we're in that package, it should automatically be a sack. One of us should come through."

"That duo right there... we should be pretty effective."

Even with a plethora of highly touted freshman coming in, along with the return of the injured Mychal Kendricks for fall camp, Browner is not intimidated by the challenge.

"I'm just going to do my best, and just get after the quarterback. That's what my specialty is, and I can't wait to simply do my job, and do whatever I can to help my team win."

"I'm going to focus on my technique, keep my pad level down, and just go."

It does not sound like an opportunity will be wasted.

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