Is Brown the Answer at RB?

Kansas State's rush-game received a much needed boost Saturday with Lamark Brown moving from wide receiver to running back, and responding with a 137-yard game in the Wildcats' win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Change was needed, and it came Saturday in a 45-37 Kansas State victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Kansas State's rushing game was going nowhere. As in noooo where.

Starting running back Keithen Valentine netted just 14 yards on six carries in a loss at Louisville, and for that matter, was just 12 for 39 against Montana State.

Not that it was all Valentine's fault by any means, but the decision was made that the 5-foot-8, 197-pound walkon-turned-scholarship player was not going to be the answer in Big 12 Conference action.

That's when Lamark Brown, a 6-3, 225-pound wide receiver, entered the picture.

"Lamark and I had this conversation during the off-season," said KSU head coach Ron Prince. "We discussed a number of scenarios that could leave us short at running back, and how we could have a lot of good players at wide receiver."

With the removal of Leon Patton from the team, and the lack of progress from the likes of Justin Woods and Dee Bell, it was after the Louisville debacle that heads were put together again.

There was talk on Monday, and again briefly on Tuesday, when Prince said, "We decided that we can't just put one toe in the water. We need to commit to this. We could have eased him into it, but the decision was made to go with this guy and give him a chance to do it."

So after practices on Wednesday and Thursday, and a walk-through on Friday, Brown was the surprise starter Saturday. He ran the ball 29 times for 137 yards, plus caught five passes for 36 additional yards.

Included in his runs was a 3-yard TD taking a direct snap from center Jordan Bedore and scoring the six-pointer.

While saying his goal was a 150-yard rushing game, including receptions, Brown had a 173-yard total offense game.

"For the most part, I knew what to do on every play," said the St. Louis native, who rushed for nearly 600 yards in his senior season at Hazelwood West High. "I had a couple questions for Josh (Freeman) on where to line up when we went to shotgun, but overall, it worked out well."

And, it's likely the KSU backfield of the future with the 6-3, 225-pound frame of Brown at least giving the Wildcats a visual presence of a Big 12-looking backfield.

And, no one questions the fact that Brown was one of Kansas State's overall best athletes. As a wide receiver, there was never a comfortable look to his game. And while it's just one game, Saturday Brown looked at ease.

"It's home," Brown said. "It's where I've been playing since I was 8." And, likely will continue to play at K-State until he's 22.

With a one-outing performance, Brown does look like a back who can give the Wildcats an 80- to 100-yard rushing effort on the next eight Saturdays.


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