Donald Brown Comfortable in the Limelight

When Donald Brown walked off the turf at Rogers Centre, television and radio reporters immediately went over to the Atlantic Highlands, N.J. native and the nation's leading rusher.

Brown played it like a pro. With the television and radio microphones in his face and the camera bearing down, Brown handled himself like it was a toss sweep over right tackle. It was routine.
 
What isn't routine is Brown, or any UConn football player, becoming a national figure. When Randy Edsall thinks about what Brown done that might be his lasting legacy.
 
Brown has shown everyone who will come after him what's possible. As he laces up, for perhaps the last time as a Huskies player in the International Bowl on Saturday against Buffalo, his legacy is already secure.
 
A football player at UConn can lead the nation in rushing with 1,822 yards. A UConn player can win the Big East Player of the Year Award. A UConn player can be am All-American and can actually compete for the Doak Walker, Ma xwell and Heisman Trophy awards.
 
UConn coach Randy Edsall marveled at what Brown has done for the Huskies program on the field and especially off it.
 
Never again can an opposing coach tell a recruit that he can't reach his goals coming to play in Storrs. That's an important threshold that was passed this year.
 
"We try to tell kids that you can come to UConn and accomplish anything that you want to accomplish," Edsall said. "What he has done, is he has proven it. You can be Big East Player of the Year, you can be an All-American, you can be the leading rusher. Until it happens, there are some kids who have a doubt.
 
"He has enhanced our recruiting a little bit more. We had an All-American, we had a kid who is the leading rusher, and there is a first for all the things."
 
Edsall is focused on Saturday's game, but he is already turning the wheels as he tries and builds a program. The 7-5 record and International Bowl is a far cry from a BCS game and the Big East championship. To say this year wasn't a succes s in the grand scheme of things discounts what Brown did, and what he represents.  
 
"We didn't get as many wins as we would have liked too, but we added individual situations we didn't have before that will help aid us sell the program more to aid us against what people may use against us," Edsall said.
 
Brown has said in the past that he is going to come back to UConn for his senior year. Edsall doused that matter of fact ness on Wednesday saying that he is going to give Brown all the information to allow him to make an informed decision. Brown was evasive about reiterating his past statements Wednesday and said that he is going to go home after the bowl and figure things out.
 
Edsall wants Brown back of course, but he has already provided the football program so much.
 
"Donald and I will talk (next) week. I will give him the info this week," Edsall said. "He made that statement (about coming back), but I have more information to give him. Whatever Donald Brown decides to do I will support him 100 percent."
 
Edsall has already tal ked to enough scouts and pro personnel to get a god idea what his stock is. Edsall isn't divulging what they said, but it was enough for the head coach to make sure his star running back takes a long look at leaving early.
 
First night

Edsall wasn't playing parent for the Huskies players on New Year's Eve.
 
The team was off after practice at 5 p.m. and wasn't due back in their room until 1 a.m. this morning.
 
"They were out (Tuesday) and had no issues with a curfew standpoint," Edsall said. "With New Years Eve, you can look out window and see what's going on. They understand what has to get done. I will be surprised if anyone is out anyway."
 
The curfew will be 11 p.m. on Thursday and then 10 p.m. on Friday before Saturday's noon time game.
 
Temperatures in Toronto were scheduled to be -14 Celsius with a nasty wind chill. Typically, as many as 40,000 people flock to the downtown area for the New Year.
 
"We are on a business trip, but you want to enjoy the atmosphere and festivities," Brown said. "We want to get a W. You have to stay in control of what you are doing."
 
Husky Notes
 
*  Senior place kicker Tony Ciaravino is likely to handle kickoff duties in place of punter Desi Cullen, who had an appendectomy in December and is still recovering from the surgery.
 
"Desi Cullen will punt, we will see how he comes along with kickoffs. Right now Tony (Ciaravino) is going to kickoff. Desi doesn't feel as strong kicking off. We will see how we do tomorrow."
 
*  Edsall isn't disappointed about the slow ticket sales and enthusiasm for Saturday's bowl. There are a lot of circumstances at play that are beyond the universities control.
 
"The economy is very tough. You take a look at weather issues and I think that our kids are thrilled to be here, happy to be here and are thrilled to go get a win."
 
*  Darius Butler is almost 100 percent and will start at cornerback for the first time since injuring his left knee against West Virginia on Nov. 1. Butler practiced without a knee brace.

 


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