Brockers helping fill big shoes

Sophomore defensive tackle Mike Brockers has been solid this season for LSU.

Just before then senior defensive tackle Drake Nevis grabbed the first interception of his career in last season's 29-7 win over Mississippi State, the 6-foot-2, 285-pounder thought about one thing.


Nevis said he envisioned the ball as a cookie, which he quickly reached out to grab.

With Nevis gone to the NFL, the next leader in the middle of the line is sophomore Mike Brockers – who also has a cookie problem.

"Brockers loves his cookies, because he's a big guy and needs to eat," said fellow defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who also admits to fighting the cravings. "I got two bags of cookies at home. I will cook cookies (for us).

"This will be our last Saturday eating at Lod Cook, so I'm enjoying it."

Lod Cook, the campus hotel and resting place {that sounds like a grave}for LSU players on Friday nights before home games, is sort of the Mecca for players with a sweet tooth.

"Those cookies are just amazing," Brockers said.

Amazing enough to risk upsetting your position coach?


"We were at Lod Cook (earlier this season), and (defensive line coach Brick Haley) came to the room and searched it, and he found some cookies I had brought up," Brockers said laughing. "He took them. I was very upset."

Logan knows the feeling.

"It's kind of hard when coach takes them away and says we are getting too big," he said. "That kind of hurts us.

"But sometimes we sneak in and get them."

At the end of the day, the staff can probably live with an extra cookie or two – especially if it means Brockers keeps producing at the rate he has this season.

Entering his third year in the program, Brockers was asked to fill the void left by Nevis – a 2010 First-Team All-SEC selection.

That's 56 tackles, 13 for a loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception and four quarterback hurries worth of statistics to make up for.

"I don't think I can be like Drake," Brockers said on Monday when asked to reflect on how his year stacked up to the production Nevis brought. "Drake was an unbelievable athlete; fast and quick. He's good off the ball.

"I think I do a pretty good job with what I bring to the team – stopping the run and making some mayhem in the backfield. That's what I think I bring to this team."

As modest as Brockers might want to sound, the statistics tell the tale of a line that continues to help define the LSU brand of defense.

In 11 starts, Brockers has turned into one of the most reliable players on the field, totaling 36 tackles, 7½ for a loss, two sacks, one interception, two pass deflections and four quarterback hurries.

"Knowing the shoes I was trying to fill, those are big shoes to fill," he said. "I knew I had a lot of stuff to work on. I think I did pretty good."

Logan added: "This year, (Brockers) has the mindset that he was going to dominate every game. He kept that same mindset as the season went on.

"He always knows his plays and the defense, so with him knowing that, he can play fast. He's going to be a great player here."

The truth is that Brockers is still young, and his best football is likely in the distance.

But this Friday, the sophomore out of the Lone Star State has a chance to help the Tigers do something not many players get to experience in five years with a program: Stamp a ticket to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, where a win would catapult LSU into the BCS National Championship in New Orleans.

That's where No. 3 Arkansas and its passing attack, led by Tyler Wilson, come into the picture.

What must Brockers and Co. do to slow down the Razorbacks?

"Those guys pass a lot and throw the ball very efficiently, so getting (into the backfield) is going to be a big part of the game," Brockers said. "We will try and get (Wilson) out of his groove.

Logan added: "We know they might try and go after one of us, but that's OK. We get double-teamed the same amount. We work on double-teams in practice, and in games we are able to defeat it."

As Brockers got prepared for afternoon practice on Monday, he talked about all the preparation he had undergone for the game – which comes on a short week for both teams.

"I've seen a couple games and watched film," he said. "I feel like I know them right now."

Of course, roasting pork on Thanksgiving week isn't the only thing on the mind of this 6-foot-6, 306-pounder.

What else could the big man be thinking about outside of a No. 1 vs. No. 3 battle on the bayou?

"Cookies," Brockers said. "Don't tell coach I said that."

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