What Brown neither worries nor thinks about is January’s deadline for early NFL entry. Yes, he did file this month for a professional evaluation. It had not returned before Mississippi State broke camp for Christmas, and Brown doesn’t seem inclined to let it spoil his holidays.
What would? Losing another bowl game. Thus Brown’s focus on preparing for North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl (December 30, 3:30et). As a fourth-year junior Brown has won one bowl game (Liberty 2013) and lost another (Orange 2014). Winning was more fun.
And, a better way to kick off the next season…whatever Brown decides.
What have you seen from the North Carolina State offense? “They do a lot of moving around, a lot of motion. A lot of trying to get your eyes messed-up, so you can’t see what they’re doing. But that’s really it, their plays are really not that complicated but they move around a lot to give you problems and issues. So we’re trying to lock-on and not let the movement get to us.”
Is there any team you’ve played they compare to? “Not really. They’ve got their own style, tight splits and things. But they have a little bit of Auburn in them, how they motion and try to get your eyes messed-up. But not many teams compare to them.”
You have seen so many offenses in three years, it should be easy to adapt? “Yeah, it’s pretty easy. Because we try to look at all teams kind of do the same thing. So we break it down like that. After you’ve been playing so many games you can kind of tell which is which and what it’s not. So the process of seeing what other teams bring it is kind of the same. So it’s easy to grasp and know what’s coming at you.”
After last year’s bowl trip, how badly do you want to win this time? “We didn’t like the way the season ended last year. Of course we want to go get this win, and then be ready to continue into the off-season and know you finished the season on a win.”
What have you heard as far as pro football? “I’m really not hearing much. I’m still trying to wait ‘til after the bowl game and really just lock-in and listen to what people have to say. So it’s being patient with it and make sure we go get this bowl win.”
Coach Mullen said you filed for the evaluation? “I did file for an evaluation. But that was just to see where I’m at as a player and what I need to work on to better myself as a player for next year. So I’m not really worried about it, just worried about to go get this win.”
You watched Dak Prescott file last year and return after getting his evaluation? “I look up to Dak, so he did it last year and it showed what he needed to improve on. And of course he improved on it. So that’s what I wanted to do for myself, see what I need to work on. But like I said, it’s about getting better and going to get this win and ending the season right.”
When do you expect to receive your evaluation? “I heard two or three weeks. But it’s just a process and waiting on it. I’m not sitting around worried about it, not even thinking about it. I’ve been in the film room trying to prepare to make sure we get this win.”
Having played three seasons now you can evaluate your own play by now? “If I mess up or something I know I messed up. I don’t even have to look at coach to know what I did wrong. I kind of know for myself. But it’s always room for improvement so when I mess up I try to make sure I don’t make it again. When I first came in that was a teaching point, Coach (Geoff) Collins told me if you mess up once make sure you don’t do it again. Coach (Manny) Diaz preaches the same thing. So it’s about getting better every day and if you make a mistake make sure it’s a different mistake.”
Is there any one thing about your play you were really satisfied with? “As an all-around player I feel like I got better at attacking the line of scrimmage. Of course of the new style Coach Diaz brought in it made me do this. So getting tackles behind the line of scrimmage was something Coach Diaz preached to us about. I just added that to my game, getting tackles in the backfield. I really liked that and hopefully I just keep getting better.”
What is one thing you want to do better next year? “Just basically rush the pass more. I missed a couple of sacks in a couple of games that I know of. So when I get there make sure I finish the play, keep blitzing but make sure I’m able to make the play when I get there.”
Now, could you really leave early and break up the union with Richie Brown? “Ahhh, you know, that’s a big problem! I look at, I was only playing with BMac (Benardrick McKinney) one year, I didn’t want him to leave and coming up this year. Now this year I don’t think I can leave Richie and he can’t leave me. So we’re stuck together to the end.”
Did you enjoy watching the young linebackers during bowl camp? “It’s exciting to watch those guys get better. I still make jokes and laugh about how we used to do things when we went through that process. Now we’re the guys watching those guys get their reps. So it’s kind of fun, but it’s just love because we went through the same thing. But it’s crazy watching those guys get better and how much they’ve improved from the summer to now. They’ve made a drastic change and they’re fun to watch.”