Moe Brown: Forgotten Man?

When defenders key on Kenny McKinley, Moe Brown will be ready to make the most of the opportunity. When the defense prepares for the speed and ability of the heralded freshmen receivers, number nine will be ready to strike. Coming into the 2007 season, he's the forgotten man. Sophomore receiver Moe Brown is working hard to be the one who can punish opposing teams without warning.

"All my life I have been the forgotten man, it seems like. It's nothing new to me," says Brown. "I just play under the radar, then eventually things start working out and (defenses) start to know your name."

Coming out of spring practice, Moe was not only Steve Spurrier's "most improved receiver," but he was also listed as a starter opposite Kenny McKinley. Having played sparingly and started only one game in 2006, this was a transition – but a welcomed one.

The competition got a lot tougher when the much heralded freshmen receiving class arrived: Jason Barnes, Chris Culliver, Dion Lecorn, Matt Clements, Joe Hills and Larry Freeman.

"Naturally when you hear about all the guys coming in – all these five star and four star receivers – you just naturally tell yourself you got to start competing," explains Brown. "Coach Spurrier is known for giving anybody the opportunity, so this off season I worked harder than I ever have before to make sure that nobody outworked me."

Usually juniors and seniors are asked to lead the underclassmen, but with so many freshmen and so few seniors, it's the sophomores and juniors being asked to lead in 2007. Something Moe enjoys, but humbly, "I consider myself one of the leaders on the receiving corps. I mean, outside of Kenny, everyone else is on the same level. Freddie (Brown) has been here, but he red shirted, so when it comes down to it, I feel like one of the leaders."

"Kenny, he's the man. He's the proven guy right now. We kind of feed off each other, but Kenny is the man right now."

Leadership does not have to come from screaming motivational speeches. Occasionally its best form comes from actions – from doing "the little things." Brown explains:

"The freshmen were slacking a little - like when we catch the ball we're supposed to keep on running. Some of them caught it and then kinda' stopped. So we'll just say, ‘Hey, finish that run.' But they've worked hard so far."

When it's time for the USC offense to ‘Cock ‘n Fire,' there are only a few receivers who are proven commodities. Brown cites cleaner routes as one of the assets that he hopes will separate him from the pack.

"I feel real comfortable (with route running). I think that's one of the better parts of my game, is my route running. I had a good high school coach who really put an emphasis on it. A year in the system got me polished. I'm real comfortable with my route running."

He humbly makes sure to remind everyone it's always a work in progress if you want to win. "I need to work on my jam release the most." Brown said. "I've gotten a lot better at it in the off season, but it's something you always have to work on."

Having a strong defense to work out against is another advantage for Moe Brown, who credits Carlos Thomas and Captain Munnerlyn's tireless coverage for his improvement and preparation for 2007.

"I feel like I'm ready for the season. Coming out against Captain and Carlos, they are some of the best corners you're going see around," he said, "especially when it comes to ‘jamming,' so I feel ready for the season."

Brown says one season in the system has worked wonders for his confidence and his knowledge. Though he says it is a constant learning process, he speaks proudly of the progress, "The game has slowed down for me. I feel like things are coming a lot more natural. It's always good when the game slows down."

Brown caught a thirteen yard touchdown pass in the season's first scrimmage – his only reception of the day. The scrimmage was dedicated more to the freshmen and the unknowns than the more reliable Gamecocks.

On September 1st, keep an eye locked on the kid who no one else is paying much attention to. Like he says, he's been that guy all of his life. So far it's worked out just fine.

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