Dominique Brown admitted he was "running blind" two years ago when he was switched to running back – as a surprise to all – and gained 91 yards in a victory over Kentucky in the third game of the season.
Brown, termed an athlete when he was recruited to Louisville, started out as a quarterback and was used as a "WildCard QB," in running situations.
Now, two years later and Brown sat out for a season with a knee injury but is primed and ready to prove his worth as in the U of L backfield.
"I was playing off athleticism two years ago," Brown said. "My game has changed because I've been a running back now for two years. I know how to cut and I know how to move, I know who has to be blocked.
"It's not just my athleticism any more."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Brown is battling with four other backs to get carries out of a loaded Louisville backfield this season.
Brown is expected to be one of the first options for U of L.
"We're real happy with him," running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "He understands that's what he is – a running back – and he has been committed to if for two years now. He's thoroughly immersed in it."
Brown has trimmed off about 10 pounds of weight and said he did a lot of studying during his time away from the action. In the spring game, Brown rushed for 79 yards and two TDs on nine carries and also had six catches for 30 yards.
Fall camp practices and the scrimmage last weekend have been behind closed doors but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said Brown has been "phenomenal."
"He's been just exceptional," Bridgewater said, noting Brown has been solid not only in the run game but protection and in the pass game.
Brown, who rushed for 533 yards as a sophomore said he "learned a lot," from watching last season on the sidelines. He also said that and being healthy for the entire offseason has "really made a difference."
"I think that's made a difference for me, concentrating on being a running back all the time," he said. "It's good to get out there again, I'm excited."
Carter said Brown is "more agile and leader," and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has lauded Brown for his comeback several times.
"Because of his spring, Dominique has a lot of confidence," Watson said. "He has grown up and matured. He really worked hard this past spring and has turned into not just a running back, but a grown man back there.
"It's been fun working with him and seeing him progress."