Web Brown: The glue can be a little slick

Senior center Web Brown leads the USC offensive line by making the line blocking calls, handling the snapping duties and providing senior leadership to a line that is relying on several new faces this year. Brown is emerging as the glue that binds together the unit that must act in unison more than any other on the field. He is "playing the best of all of them," according to Coach Steve Spurrier.

Brown also sweats. His hard work, the heat, and humidity were contributing causes to some early season fumbles, so he now changes his uniform pants at halftime and has a spare on the sidelines just in case. Gamecock fans have to hope Brown keeps up the effort in LSU's Death Valley Saturday and is not distracted by anything, like the raucous crowd.

Coach Spurrier joked on Tuesday that lots of crowd noise may be good, as check offs by his quarterbacks this season have not been successful. However, Brown says, "Communication is a big part of the offensive line, especially at center. You've got to get guys going the right way."

Brown and his teammates may practice whispering to each other during practice this week.

"You've got five guys working together, sometimes six (tight end)... Everyone's got to be coordinated, going the right way, and it's my job to make sure everyone on the line has the right call."

Brown compares the 2007 LSU defense to the 2006 Mississippi State defense because of their similar strong and speedy defensive lines.

"It's a challenge, and we love challenges around here."

What about facing the #2 ranked Bayou Bengals, a defense with 22 straight games recording a sack and that has given up just 7 point in three games this season?

"This is definitely going to be a game where we find out what we are made of," says the Business Management and Marketing major. "It's a great challenge. We want to go against the best in the land, so we are looking forward to Saturday."

According to Brown, the team is extremely focused this week in practice while preparing for the challenge that lies ahead.

"This is the biggest game in a long time, at least since I've been playing here at Carolina. It's going to take the utmost concentration this week in practice to be successful this week."

"It's going to take some intensity. It's going to take concentration and focus. Everyone's got to come out and play the best they have played so far."

Brown is a fifth year senior, just like starting quarterback Blake Mitchell, and how the veteran duo combats the noise of 90,000 of the most expressive fans in the country to get the play off without penalties may be a subtle yet important factor in how the offense performs on Saturday. Especially after the mistakes, turnovers and blown blocking assignments the offense had against S.C. State last Saturday.

"It's gonna be a tough job this week. (It will) be as loud as anything."

Brown's job is to read the defensive line and make the proper line call, so that the offensive line is all "going the right way" on each play. He started the first four games at guard in 2005 and the first two at guard in 2006 and then the shuffle began. A porous line required the elusive Syvelle Newton at quarterback instead of pocket passer Blake Mitchell until the Arkansas game when the unit finally came together. In 2006 Brown injured his back in spring practice and then his knee against Florida International that fall, but in the spring of 2007 Brown established himself as the successor to three year starter Chris White. He was named the "Most Improved Offensive Lineman" of the spring.

Brown is a leader off the field as well. He serves on the NCAA Football Issues Committee, made the SEC Good Works team for community service and represents all SEC football players as the conference representative to the NCAA Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Nicknamed "Web", he was a 2002 Shrine Bowl performer out of Booneville, N.C. who was redshirted his first year in Columbia.

One reporter was asking players, somewhat tongue in cheek, "Why bother to play the game?" Brown replied, "Why play the game? Why climb a mountain? Because it's there."

"If we start out on the right foot, who knows what can happen?" Brown says. "If we play our assignments right, good things will happen."

If the Gamecock slide away from Baton Rogue with an upset victory Saturday, the sweaty glue that holds the offensive line together will be part of a performance that sticks out in the Gamecock football record book.

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