Safety Net

Chief Brown had little to do with Ole Miss' miserable 2-10 finish last season. He was watching from the sideline, redshirted by the previous coaching staff in his first fall at Ole Miss.

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However, through the first two weeks of spring practices, Brown has been inserted into the starting lineup at safety. He's playing alongside veteran Charles Sawyer, the team's top defensive player and starting free safety.

He has a role. A starting role, at that.

"It's going great," Brown said following practice Thursday morning. "I'm just picking up the defense, learning each day. I've got most of the defense. I'm just learning each day. Every day getting better, learning my assignments."

Brown had no shortage of prospective colleges vying for his signature when he signed with Ole Miss in February of last year. A former three-star recruit according to, he held offers form Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Memphis and Alabama. Auburn, Southern Miss and Stanford showed interest, as well.

However, a year later, he admits he wasn't ready to play. He's actually thankful for the redshirt season. It prepared him for the starting job he's been entrusted with. It's up to him to keep it.

"I just got bigger, stronger, faster. I just used the year to get better," he said. "I wasn't ready yet. Now I'm ready. It was hard to watch. It was real hard to watch. I wanted to be out there so bad. But they gave me a year off. I'm happy I got redshirted. Now it's my time to go out there and play."

Brown, of Winona, Miss., was moved to running back towards the end of 2011. Ole Miss was thin at the position due to injury. He was needed. Still, he didn't see action in a game. The 6-foot, 193-pound Brown has been used strictly at safety this spring.

"It's been comforting. I like playing back there at safety. I love the defensive side of the ball," he said.

"Defensive staff's real high on him," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "He's a little too aggressive sometimes. You can take advantage of him on that. But you'd rather have him that way than the other way. He's a Mississippi kid, and it's important to him that he does well here. He's a great kid, too. He takes care of the little things. Chief's a winner."

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