Bloomington, Ind. - Greg Brown couldn't be happier about spending some more time on the sidelines this fall.
The Hoosiers' 6-3, 303-pound junior defensive tackle is expected to be in the starting line-up for Saturday's season opener against Indiana State, but he knows he won't get the some number of reps as he's grown accustomed to over the last couple of years.
That's because the Hoosiers finally have some quality depth at the defensive tackle position, a fact that comes as a great relief to the Centerville, Ohio, product.
"That's one thing that always stood out to me watching film – all the top teams are always rolling guys," Brown said. "Now we have that luxury and it's going to help. We're used to going tons and tons or reps."
While Greg Brown and Joe Kremer are expected to once again start at defensive tackle this fall, they'll have plenty of able bodies behind them ready to contribute. Emile Bass, Keith Burrus and Kevin Burrus are all expected to get some time this fall, giving co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach Brian George at least five defensive tackles to rotate.
"We feel we've got a good, deep, defensive team," George said. "We've got a nice mix, and enough guys."
Brown thinks that the rotation will help the Hoosiers come up with more big plays at opportune times as well. A year ago Indiana ranked last in the Big Ten with 14 sacks, only 10 which came from defensive linemen.
"That's going to help, especially with making big plays because we'll be fresher," Brown said. "We need that on the d-line. It's so tough inside."
Brown is excited about being on the sidelines periodically this fall, but relieved to know he won't be on there permanently. Brown suffered a dislocated shoulder midway through fall camp, but he returned to practice this week and will play against the Sycamores.
Brown said the injury happened during one-on-one drills when he tried to dip under the block of an IU linemen on his way to the quarterback. Brown slipped, landed on his elbow, and popped his shoulder out of place. He said it was the most significant injury he's ever suffered in football, which had him fearing the worst initially.
"I've never had an injury where I've been out for more than a day or so," Brown said. "When you've never had anything like that happen, I knew something was wrong and I was pretty shaken up and scared. I was worried everything was down the drain, everything I had worked for."
Those fears were erased soon afterward. A series of MRIs and x-rays revealed that Brown's absence would be brief, and he's back and ready to go. The IU staff was careful to not bring Brown back too quickly, instead opting to error on the side of caution in an effort to make sure he wouldn't aggravate the injury again during camp.
"They were patient, saying there was no need to rush," Brown said. "They told me I'd worked hard in the summer, and to make sure when I was ready to go I was ready to go. No half way."
George says his standout is nearing 100 percent now that the season has arrived. That's good news for an IU team that will rely a great deal him a great deal beginning Saturday night.
"He's very important to us," George said. "He's a veteran guy that's played a lot of football. He understands how to play the techniques and to play the defense. Plus, he's pretty talented on top of that. We're expecting a lot of good things form him this year."
Shoulder Injury Can't Keep Brown Down
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