DT Malcom Brown
If there's a player who couldn't wait for a coach like Charlie Strong to arrive, it was Brown, a future NFL player who deserved to be coached the way Strong, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and DL coach Chris Rumph coach their players.
"I got in-your-face coaching in high school (at Brenham)," Brown told me. "So having it any other way, was a change for me. This is what we needed to bring the edge back to Texas."
Brown is a big part of the edge in a Texas defense that Charlie Strong clearly feels good about. Why does Strong feel good about the 2014 defense? It starts with Brown. He is a three-technique DT with bad intentions and has a chance to restore the tradition of the Longhorns at the position established by the likes of Casey Hampton, Shaun Rogers, Roy Miller and Lamarr Houston, to name a few.
If Brown puts up an all-conference year it could be his last at Texas. One thing is certain - look for opponents' rushing totals to fall dramatically below the 183 yards per game on the ground surrendered last year. The biggest reason for that is the chemistry of Brown and Desmond Jackson at DT.
It all starts up front for a Texas defense that may have to carry the Longhorns at times this season. And that front is anchored by big No. 90, who I think is ready for a special season in 2014. That new attitude of the Texas defense will be embodied and personified by Brown.
Brown will eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark this season. Mark it down.
If he stays healthy, which he did for the first time in his UT career last season when he rushed for a team-high 904 yards, Brown should receive first-team All Big 12 accolades and be in discussion for the Doak Walker Award. I truly believe he is going to have that type of a monster year.
As I like to say for seniors, or even juniors with aspirations of foregoing their last season, this is a contract year for Brown. He knows he has to bring it because RBs aren’t getting drafted like they used to.
But that’s not his primary concern at the moment. His chief priority right now is helping this team win, and he’ll play a large part in that.
He came to fall camp more physically imposing that he already was. And, for as much as it hurt Texas that Johnathan Gray got injured last season, it really helped Brown show that he could back up the hype that he arrived at Texas with.
The way I expect him to play this season will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is every bit the five-star recruit he came to UT as.