As a linebacking trio, Kansas State defensive coordinator Chris Cosh refers to his gang as Arthur "The Judge" Brown, Emmanuel "Too Tall" Lamur, and Tre "The Decon" Walker. To those labels, the 6-foot-4 Lamur says, "We don't use them among ourselves, but coach likes to. I think he thinks he's clever."
The play of the Wildcats has been clever at times, and downright nasty at others in a collective team position that might have been a weakness in 2010, but certainly not 2011.
Walker starred early with the game-saving touchdown at Miami, plus where he scored three tackles in the last seven plays of the four-point win.
In the next game, it was Brown snaring a late-game interception from Heisman Trophy winner "RGIII" in a 36-35 victory over the Baylor Bears.
Lamur registered at least 10 tackles in three games, which included the finale in a 30-23 win over Iowa State when he scored nine solo arrests, plus three others, plus forced a fumble.
"These guys have been terrific," said Cosh. "They've played with a toughness, they've played with intelligence, and they've played with passion."
What K-State didn't have a year ago that they do today is a playmaker … like All-Big 12 linebacker Arthur Brown.
"He's phenomenal," said Lamur. "He's a guy you want on your team. He plays with an all-out effort. He doesn't speak much, but his flying to the ball speaks a lot. If you want a guy who makes plays, you want Arthur. He's all over the field. He's All-Big 12, and he deserves it."
Cosh added, "The thing that impresses me is how his play affects the play of other players. He lifts the players around him with his tremendous work ethic and desire to play football. He might have a bad day, but he's never down. He's such a giver to this team."
Cosh wasn't done: "When your leaders are givers you're going to have a great team. He's got the ability and the speed to get to places some other people can't. If you match that with the ability to anticipate and find the football with his speed—some guys have speed but don't have ball-finding ability— that's a gift you have."
Along with being All-Big 12, the 6-1, 233-pound junior was also the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year. He scored 95 tackles with 7.5 of those being behind the line of scrimmage. All of this after scoring just 17 tackles in his first two seasons of college football with the Miami Hurricanes.
To that, he only says, "I'm thankful to have had this opportunity to be a part of a great tradition at K-State. Being a part of coach Snyder's team has helped my character and will develop me in life. He instills great values that you will cherish the rest of your life."
On the awards won, Brown said, "I'm just thankful for the opportunity to play on this team."
To those responses, Malone said of his teammate, "He's a real humble guy. He's blessed with all that ability, yet he's a high-character humble guy off the field. On the field he's just a sideline-to-sideline all-star. I'm glad he's on my side."
While Brown played both inside and outside linebacker at Miami, he settled in as the anchor of K-State's defense at middle-backer. Lamur, meanwhile, started the year by finishing making the move from safety to outside-linebacker. It's a switch started late last year when he started the last four games at linebacker, which included the Pinstripe Bowl where he scored a career-high of nine tackles against Syracuse.
"The toughest thing to learn was to shed blockers," said Lamur, who beefed up to 225 pounds to play the position. "Today I'm loving the game and loving the position."
And, "Too Tall" is loving playing alongside "The Judge" and "The Decon."
"These guys are my brothers," said Lamur. "We have come together to form our own identity by playing for one another. People still under-estimate us, but that only brings the most out of us. We play really tough, we compete really hard, and we play with a passion."