Instead of kicking off his senior season with a routine home win, middle linebacker Brown had to endure an upset loss. This alone was a tough deal for an upperclassman used to Scott Field success.
It became tougher because immediately afterwards and all through this ensuing week co-captain Brown has accepted even more responsibility to get Mississippi State back on track. And, to open the SEC season in a much more fitting fashion this Saturday (6:00, ESPN2).
As a team leader, what was your message to some of these young guys after reviewing? “Well, we can’t do anything about the past. Obviously we can fix our mistakes and that’s about the sum of what we can do.”
“Now it’s just correct our mistakes, correct our mindset. And really fly around, just high-energy, high-enthusiasm. We can’t be down in the dumps. As a leader I’ve got to make sure that nobody is saying woe-is-me; that we’re going full-speed looking to the future.”
The first half was so good, the second half not so good? What did you see was the reason? “I think we came out with a lot of energy, flying around to the ball in the first half, a lot of enthusiasm. I think the second half there were a couple of plays that just kind of, I don’t know what it was. Just something weird. They stretched us out a little bit and some little plays here and there, a couple of trick plays hit. And things just started clicking.”
“And when the offense wasn’t scoring that was making us worry and look at the scoreboard instead of just focus on what we need to do. So it was a bunch of things just kind of checkerboarding down. But I think we got them fixed and we’ve got out mindset right.”
Coach Mullen had a cut on his nose this week, somebody said he’s been flying around at practice? “Oh, definitely. Definitely. Yeah, he’s definitely thrown a ton of energy this week. He’s been flying around, he’s been coaching his heart out. And he’s been leading us. He’s been saying he’s not going to let us down again and he’s coaching to the best of his ability.”
Leo Lewis had a good game, how does he build off this? “Yeah, he had a pretty good game. But first game, so we’ve got to keep him going. He’s doing well. He’s physical, he loves to play. He’s going to turn into a really good leader on the defense. I think he’ll be fine and he’s improving every day. I’m excited to see what he does.”
How much do you look forward to getting back out there and putting last Saturday in the past? “It’s definitely something we’re all looking forward to. We want to get back on the field. We want to correct our mistakes on the field. We felt like we’ve had a few really good days of practice.”
“So that kind of helped us relieve some stress, release and vent a little bit. We feel like we’re making progress. But Saturday is when we see those results, so we are excited about that.”
As a senior, what was Sunday like? “It was a little bit of sadness. A little bit of embarrassment. Obviously a bunch of emotions. I needed a little bit of alone time to get our minds right. But I think a lot of motivation and inspiration have come from this game, too.”
“So I think I’ve learned a very valuable lesson. And I’m excited for this Saturday.”
What was that lesson? “Oh, just to never settle for thinking you’re somewhere when you’re not. Thinking you’re ready or thinking that you’ve made it. Just because wherever you are in the program, fifth-year senior, just really humbling yourself. And if you’re not straining at 100% every play in practice then you’re never going to do what you’re capable of.”