Freshman Brown now knows what it takes

Tailback eager to send seniors out with bowl win

Tennessee running back Bryce Brown (11) Memphis linebacker Winston Bowens (50) on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009 at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee running back Bryce Brown (11) Memphis linebacker Winston Bowens (50) on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009 at Neyland Stadium.

Injuries slowed him down.

A huge number of carries for another running back limited Bryce Brown even further.

Oversized expectations for the Tennessee freshman might have been difficult to reach even without those obstacles, but that doesn't mean the Vols will be lowering them anytime soon. If anything, the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia Tech on New Year's Eve (TV: ESPN, 7:30 p.m.) could be the start of something special for Brown after a trying first season.

"At the beginning I didn't know what to expect," Brown said. "Now I'm broken in and I know what to expect coming into next year. I think it was a nice season for me as far as learning and getting my feet wet.

"I think it's what everybody has to go through at some point in time. I think it's good for everyone, but for me that's definitely what it was. It was frustrating, but it's more mental than it is physical by far."

At times it seemed the opposite was true for the No. 1 recruit in the nation last year, who was visibly bothered by a nagging hip injury and often couldn't quite find his extra gear to break open a play.

Brown finished the year with 460 yards on 101 carries with three touchdowns, numbers that certainly bode well for a productive future when a large majority of the attempts aren't going to Montario Hardesty.

"I feel like Bryce looks the best that he has," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "I think for freshmen in general the season gets so long, they get so worn down and it's so different than what they're used to in high school that their bodies start to wear down. Then when they have a little bit of break like they did after the season, they come back refreshed and so I think our freshmen in general have looked better.

"I think he would have (met preseason expectations) if he would have had the opportunity to. His average per carry was up there, and he played extremely well. There was a variable that a lot of people wouldn't have been able to predict, and that was a 1,300-yard rusher in front of him."

Ultimately that could turn out to be a blessing for Brown since he didn't have to shoulder the load before he was ready.

In addition to all the offense he supplied, Hardesty also gave Brown time to develop behind him and likely saved the Vols some mileage on their tailback of the future.

"I think it's been a good year, but I feel like I can contribute more and do a lot better than I've showed," Brown said. "I think just overall the pounding on the body that I felt, I don't think I've been 100 percent in any game. That's just how it is, and I know going into next season how I've got to take care of my body and think about those things like doing the extra stretching, getting the extra ice and those little things because they count.

"I don't think (high expectations) were unfair. Unfortunately it didn't happen, as much I would have liked it to happen. I got my first year under my belt and I'm excited going into next year, but I really just want to focus on this bowl game. It's our seniors' last game and I want them to go out on top."

Either way, Brown is ready to slide in when they're gone.

Take Two: Nick Stephens got another extended shot with the first team again Sunday, and for the second day in a row the junior quarterback didn't disappoint.

"I think it's a very good example of when someone has to play, they play better, usually," Kiffin said. "He's done really well.

"He's playing the best he's played since we've been here. A lot of that has to do with he's going in there with the (starters) and going in there with a tight end that's playing extremely well, a couple of tailbacks and receivers. When you go in with those guys, it helps. Especially as well as those guys have been playing."

Bumps And Bruises: Starting quarterback Jonathan Crompton was limited again with soreness after hitting his hand during a throw Friday.

Cornerback Stephaun Raines and defensive tackles Wes Brown and Dan Williams were all limited with concussion issues.

The Vols had a couple other injury scares in their Sunday workout when offensive linemen Aaron Douglas and Jacques McClendon went down with apparent leg injuries, but Kiffin indicated both would have kept playing it if were a game.

"Other than that we're pretty healthy," Kiffin said. "We continued to pound away, very physical practice, guys were in good spirits. We're making progress."

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Comments » 53

sm1 writes:

I have liked Bryce Brown since the first game of the season when he knocked the poopoo out of a Western Kentucky player that would have intercepted a Crompton pass if Brown had not broken it up. That play showed me that Bryce Brown is a tough hard nosed football player. I think this year learning behind Hardesty has been good for him. By the time his career at UT is over (barring injuries) he will meet or exceed all of our expectations.

nocleats writes:

Just want to see him play with fresh legs and no bumps or bruises. I think he got hurt in the very 1st preseason practice when he got "Blown Up" on a non contact drill in shorts and helments only. If he could come into the bowl game Totally Healthy and Fresh, look out

Ayres_Hall writes:

Tony Williams

BigOrangeGhostHunter writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The other kids name is Toney Williams. He had a great camp. I'm not sure it Tauren Poole is gonna be around next year. I think he might transfer, especially with Brown coming back.

SmokeyHound writes:

bryce brown 4 heisman

sm1 writes:

in response to BigOrangeGhostHunter:

The other kids name is Toney Williams. He had a great camp. I'm not sure it Tauren Poole is gonna be around next year. I think he might transfer, especially with Brown coming back.

I hope Poole stays at Tennessee, but if he transfers, I hope he goes to Chattanooga to play with B. J. Coleman. UTC could use some more Division 1A (FBS) caliber players.

TommyJack writes:

BB will excel in time.

BigOrangeGhostHunter writes:

in response to sm1:

I hope Poole stays at Tennessee, but if he transfers, I hope he goes to Chattanooga to play with B. J. Coleman. UTC could use some more Division 1A (FBS) caliber players.

UTC HAS A TOUGH CROWD TO PLAY AGAINST, BUT IF POOLE TRANSFERRED THERE, WATCH OUT FCS!

Thad123 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree, Guys are a lot more physical in the sec then highschool, but i think he is from Kansas. He will be a fine Tenn runningback.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to TommyJack:

BB will excel in time.

Agree with this.

Fossilfiction writes:

I don't see how he feel bellow expectations. Every knew that Hardesty was the number 1 guy this year. Brown came in when needed and normally picked up solid yards. What exactly was expected of him this year? 1000+ yards? No injuries? I believe he is going to be a top three running back in the SEC next year. I could be wrong but he has had a good showing being the number 2 man. Triple his carries and he is about a 1200 yard rusher. He will be really good to watch.

SLOBBER_knocker_U writes:

in response to BigOrangeGhostHunter:

The other kids name is Toney Williams. He had a great camp. I'm not sure it Tauren Poole is gonna be around next year. I think he might transfer, especially with Brown coming back.

Poole already said that he is coming back. So it will be Brown,Oku,Poole, and Williams

volgrog#210164 writes:

BB is a good back, but to be a great back he needs to see the field better and cut back when he's got a chance as well as explode through the hole when he sees it. Hardesty is a great role model in both areas.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to SLOBBER_knocker_U:

Poole already said that he is coming back. So it will be Brown,Oku,Poole, and Williams

But does Poole really have a shot? I know, I know, 'the coaches will play the best player', 'open competition' and so on and so on. But really, after signing the top prospect in the nation last year, he's got to play. Otherwise the message it sends to other top players is 'come to UT and sit'. BB will play. Hopefully he's the best in the nation. If not let's hope he's the best of a well stocked Vol backfield.

DenverVol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

BB will excel in time.

Completely agree. Brown will be a star in due time.

Glad to hear Stephens is practicing well. Keep in mind that John David Booty started one season at USC and did pretty darn well. CLK had a hand in coaching that kid as well.

NJVol writes:

Is anyone else worried we are not getting the full story on Crompton and he is not going to be able to play in teh bowl game?

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to NJVol:

Is anyone else worried we are not getting the full story on Crompton and he is not going to be able to play in teh bowl game?

after all that kid has been through lol, he would have to be hit by a truck not to play his last game

he's fine

diamond_dave35#235769 writes:

in response to SLOBBER_knocker_U:

Poole already said that he is coming back. So it will be Brown,Oku,Poole, and Williams

Good news!!! I like Poole..he kinda reminds me of Charlie Garner

nocleats writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

BB is a good back, but to be a great back he needs to see the field better and cut back when he's got a chance as well as explode through the hole when he sees it. Hardesty is a great role model in both areas.

Hard to cutback and explode on a bum hip. He has been hurt since the very first practice in shorts. One difference that I see between this staff and the previous is the media is not given much injury info other than season ending.. Im sure this makes the media mad, but it also doesnt give the other teams coaches an in depth look at possible weaknesses.. If you saw any of his HS films(see Youtube) cutback and explode are his game..!

Hickmc writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DC please give the diggs a rest. Phil Fulmer was not hated he will always be remembered as a true Volunteer. The problem was the game had (for the most part) passed him by and he couldn't admit it had. I feel Phil loved/loves Tennessee and in time will get over his dismissal and hopefully come back to the fans and University.

The new staff has been able to put the life back in the program and generate the Tennessee footbal excitement of old. With the money being demanded for salaries at all Major University football programs average teams are not going to be accepted. I know I for one love Tennessee football but the ticket price has removed me from the stadium and placed me in front of the TV for all games but I still love Tennessee athletics.

On a different note Merry Christmas to all....

Madkels writes:

Gotta love Brice Brown's attitude. He understands that his college career is a journey and not a sprint. What a refreshing attitude versus some other top recruits who expect to be pampered and play every snap the day they arrive on campus.

beef4davols writes:

Anyone see Arian Foster's stat line yesterday?
2 car. 7yds
1 rec. 13yds
1 FUMBLE LOST!!!
I really miss 'em!!

movol77 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did Poole play LB in high school too? Is there inside-the-team talk about Poole playing LB?

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have an astute command of idiocy.

Vol43 writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

You have an astute command of idiocy.

Yeah, but apparently he's OUR idiot. I've been watching this site for quite a while and it never ceases to amaze me why these trolls love us so much. Hey, maybe that's it...we're sooooooooooo loveable!

gaj619 writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I love coach Fulmer and consider him a true Volunteer. However, you said it yourself 'through out the 90's' tells the story. Being passed by the game happened in the last 7-8 years and if it has not passed him by why has he still not been hired by another major program.
Merry Christmas to all.

Psychovol writes:

Tony Williams would make a heck of a fulback. It'd be great to have playmakers at tight end and fulback in addition to the receivers. The Vols would be very hard to stop with that many options to defend and Brown and Oku would run wild.

tennrich1 writes:

I love Brown's demeanor and attitude....very humble and of high character...so it seems...just hope he can handle the rigors of SEC pounding...i think he can....just hope he bulks a little more in off season...

Thad123 writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I disagree that is not good enough. I bet that if you look at the 90's we were at least 2 if not maybe an argument for 1. I remember when I was pissed off when we lost to Florida and at the end of the year that was our only loss and that was a disappointment. Fulmer put this program in a position where I’m actually excited about 7 and 5 and going to the chic-fila bowl. That is why he was canned because 5th in the SEC is not going to cut it now or in the future. I do think we are going in the right direction and I’m excited about this new staff. GBO

johnlg00 writes:

I just hope the Vols can do another miracle job with the O-line. I agree that a healthy Brown with a Hardesty-like number of carries should be near the top of the conference, but without an O-line at least the equal of this year's, he may not get the carries he needs. He will either get beat up or we won't be able to keep the ball long enough for him to get his carries. We could well be a passing team by default if we can't control the line of scrimmage.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to FARRAGUT0406:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The Oku comment was idiocy. I have no problem with Bama's RB's. It's the comments made about Oku I disagree with.
He was in a logjam at RB this year and hardly ever made it on the field except in KR mode. This coming season will give us a better indicator of how good David is.

Hickmc writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let me ask you this, where would Florida rank on that list had they retained Ron Zook? All schools are going to do what is in their best interest and with coaches demanding high salaries along with those demands come expectations. You will never see coaches stay at schools for long periods of time. There won't be many/any more Joe Pa's, Bobbie Bowdens, or even Bear Bryants because with salaries, ticket prices, and even "donations" being required to buy tickets fans expect to win. How patient would you be with Urban had he came in and went 7-5 or 6-6 for 2 out of 4 years? Then think about going 5-7 2 out of 4.

DC you may not agree with me or I with you but again it is just my opinion and if you truly meant your initial statement as a compliment we thank you, it just didn't translate that way to me.

Take care and again Merry Christmas to all on GVXtra...

abnermc writes:

in response to BamaBeacher:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You need to be concerned abt. Texas. Bama has been known to let our conference down in big bowl games (Utah). To get back on the "subjuct" ,if Brown was on scout team in Tusculoosa, he would be on PROBATION.

cloudodust writes:

Let us hope that Bryce Brown et al have a solid offensive line to knock the D's about.

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to BIGGEST_BIPOLAR_BEAR_UT_FAN_ETC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Biggest, come on now, you know Alabubba was "tired" when they played us. I think they had also contracted the "WHINE FLU" from Florida.

Alabubba needs to send Daniel Lincoln a ring "if" they go on to win the NC!! Without Lincoln, Alabubba doesn't have a shot at the NC!!

Go Vols!!!

BigOrange4Eva writes:

in response to BamaBeacher:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This has to be one of the most foolish comments I have read on this site, and I have read quite a few. Brice Brown was second to a guy who has a season similiar to Mark Ingrams (Hardesty). The truth is that if Tennessee had made it to the Atlanta this year, Hardesty might have won the Heisman... thats if things weren't so biased against our Big Orange (Peyton Manning-Charles Woodson).

Back to the issue, Brown is going to be a stud for the Big Orange. He will be known as the best SEC back since Hershel Walker.

Check out the forums at Tennessee-Vols.com

stinky_pinky writes:

concussion issues?? did i read that correctly?

537081 writes:

Brown would have had 12 or 13 hundred yards if he had played full time. I can't wate to see him 100% playing full time next year go Brice.

carlsusanellis#574472 writes:

Good discussion about running backs but I believe we are in good shape at the running back position. My concern is OL and QB.

sm1 writes:

in response to gaj619:

I love coach Fulmer and consider him a true Volunteer. However, you said it yourself 'through out the 90's' tells the story. Being passed by the game happened in the last 7-8 years and if it has not passed him by why has he still not been hired by another major program.
Merry Christmas to all.

To quote Vince Lombardi, "Football is blocking and tackling. If you block and tackle better than the other people, you win."

This is and always will be a true statement. Everyone wants to talk about the success of Tim Tebow, and he truly is an exceptional player. But he owes alot of his success to the offensive linemen in front of him. In 2008, when he dropped back to pass, hardly ever did anyone even lay a hand on him; he had all day to find an open receiver. And when he ran the ball, he usually did not meet up with an opposing player until he was at least two or three yards past the line of scrimmage. The only exception is the Florida vs. Ole Miss game; the outstanding play of Ole Miss's defensive line was probably the main reason why they beat Florida last year, and their defensive line play helped them shut down Tennessee this year too.

I often hear people say that "the game passed Fulmer by." I disagree. I think the downfall of the Tennessee Volunteers under Fulmer is a direct result of increasingly bad play on both sides of the line of scrimmage. When Mike Barry was the offensive line coach, we had good offensive lines. We could run and we could pass at will. On the other side of the ball, under Fulmer, the last year that we had a good dominant defensive line was 2001. It was downhill after that. But IMO the problem was not with schemes as much as it was with fundamentals, heart, determination and execution. (This all goes back to coaching.)

People want to talk about Urban Meyer's offense as if it is some "new scheme." It may have what seem to be a few "new" wrinkles in it, but these new wrinkles are only varying combinations of "old" plays and formations. In its essence, Meyer's offense is the Single Wing that was run by many teams in the 50's and 60's, and Tim Tebow is essentially a tailback in a single wing offense--somewhat akin to Johnny Majors.

When Spurrier's Gator's played Nebraska, Jan. 2, 1996, the game was dubbed as "the offensive of the 50's vs. the offense of the 90's." many expected Florida to win decisively. But--to the surprise of many--the final score was Nebraska 62, Florida 24. Nebraska wan handily because they blocked better and they tackled better.

Tennesse will become a dominant team again when they return to being dominant on the line of scrimmage. QB's RB's and receivers are handicapped w/o a good OL. And the foundation of any good defense is a dominant DL.

Liberal_Vol writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Urban Meyer and Boy George is a better comparison cutey.

Liberal_Vol writes:

in response to sm1:

To quote Vince Lombardi, "Football is blocking and tackling. If you block and tackle better than the other people, you win."

This is and always will be a true statement. Everyone wants to talk about the success of Tim Tebow, and he truly is an exceptional player. But he owes alot of his success to the offensive linemen in front of him. In 2008, when he dropped back to pass, hardly ever did anyone even lay a hand on him; he had all day to find an open receiver. And when he ran the ball, he usually did not meet up with an opposing player until he was at least two or three yards past the line of scrimmage. The only exception is the Florida vs. Ole Miss game; the outstanding play of Ole Miss's defensive line was probably the main reason why they beat Florida last year, and their defensive line play helped them shut down Tennessee this year too.

I often hear people say that "the game passed Fulmer by." I disagree. I think the downfall of the Tennessee Volunteers under Fulmer is a direct result of increasingly bad play on both sides of the line of scrimmage. When Mike Barry was the offensive line coach, we had good offensive lines. We could run and we could pass at will. On the other side of the ball, under Fulmer, the last year that we had a good dominant defensive line was 2001. It was downhill after that. But IMO the problem was not with schemes as much as it was with fundamentals, heart, determination and execution. (This all goes back to coaching.)

People want to talk about Urban Meyer's offense as if it is some "new scheme." It may have what seem to be a few "new" wrinkles in it, but these new wrinkles are only varying combinations of "old" plays and formations. In its essence, Meyer's offense is the Single Wing that was run by many teams in the 50's and 60's, and Tim Tebow is essentially a tailback in a single wing offense--somewhat akin to Johnny Majors.

When Spurrier's Gator's played Nebraska, Jan. 2, 1996, the game was dubbed as "the offensive of the 50's vs. the offense of the 90's." many expected Florida to win decisively. But--to the surprise of many--the final score was Nebraska 62, Florida 24. Nebraska wan handily because they blocked better and they tackled better.

Tennesse will become a dominant team again when they return to being dominant on the line of scrimmage. QB's RB's and receivers are handicapped w/o a good OL. And the foundation of any good defense is a dominant DL.

Yeah, ole' TT looked awful good against Alabama - hell, he threw that pass right to 28 in the end zone. Yeah, he's out freakin' standing.

sm1 writes:

in response to Liberal_Vol:

Yeah, ole' TT looked awful good against Alabama - hell, he threw that pass right to 28 in the end zone. Yeah, he's out freakin' standing.

Please notice: I said nothing about Tebow's play in 2009. This year defenses are getting more pressure on Tebow, and as a result the quality of his play has declined. But my point is this: the game of football is ultimately won and lost on the line of scrimmage.

TennesseeGorilla writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He will do well but don't act like this kid will stay 4 years, he came here to get ready for the NFL and he will be gone after his Jr. season.

Rugby2 writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You make my point by defending Coach Fulmer. What was his record against the Gators? I live in Florida and Gator fans have not feared playing Tennessee since 1999.

I liked Coach Fulmer and he did raise the expectation bar at UT. And then he couldn't meet those expectations. In the 90's everyone hated Fulmer; Now rival fans say we should have kept him on ... you like beating us (and rather badly beating us recently), UT needed a change and Coach Kiffin has started out pretty well for season one. I know Gator fans would want Coach Meyer's head if he went 5-7 2 out of the last 4 years, no doubt.

Give Blood Play Rugby

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TennesseeGorilla:

He will do well but don't act like this kid will stay 4 years, he came here to get ready for the NFL and he will be gone after his Jr. season.

If he has two seasons like Hardesty just had, I'm sure most of us will feel he has earned that right. On the other hand, NFL rookie money won't be nearly as outrageous two drafts from now as it will be for 2010 draftees. He may be more likely to stay, especially since UT should be poised to make a major run in another couple of years.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

I like the fact that BB is kinda quiet and soft-spoken in interviews.....and Vols like Stephens, Tony Thompson,etc. in past were also quiet! Let the actions on the field speak for you! BB will finish in top-5 rushing at TN...

Mobbdeep4life writes:

in response to sm1:

To quote Vince Lombardi, "Football is blocking and tackling. If you block and tackle better than the other people, you win."

This is and always will be a true statement. Everyone wants to talk about the success of Tim Tebow, and he truly is an exceptional player. But he owes alot of his success to the offensive linemen in front of him. In 2008, when he dropped back to pass, hardly ever did anyone even lay a hand on him; he had all day to find an open receiver. And when he ran the ball, he usually did not meet up with an opposing player until he was at least two or three yards past the line of scrimmage. The only exception is the Florida vs. Ole Miss game; the outstanding play of Ole Miss's defensive line was probably the main reason why they beat Florida last year, and their defensive line play helped them shut down Tennessee this year too.

I often hear people say that "the game passed Fulmer by." I disagree. I think the downfall of the Tennessee Volunteers under Fulmer is a direct result of increasingly bad play on both sides of the line of scrimmage. When Mike Barry was the offensive line coach, we had good offensive lines. We could run and we could pass at will. On the other side of the ball, under Fulmer, the last year that we had a good dominant defensive line was 2001. It was downhill after that. But IMO the problem was not with schemes as much as it was with fundamentals, heart, determination and execution. (This all goes back to coaching.)

People want to talk about Urban Meyer's offense as if it is some "new scheme." It may have what seem to be a few "new" wrinkles in it, but these new wrinkles are only varying combinations of "old" plays and formations. In its essence, Meyer's offense is the Single Wing that was run by many teams in the 50's and 60's, and Tim Tebow is essentially a tailback in a single wing offense--somewhat akin to Johnny Majors.

When Spurrier's Gator's played Nebraska, Jan. 2, 1996, the game was dubbed as "the offensive of the 50's vs. the offense of the 90's." many expected Florida to win decisively. But--to the surprise of many--the final score was Nebraska 62, Florida 24. Nebraska wan handily because they blocked better and they tackled better.

Tennesse will become a dominant team again when they return to being dominant on the line of scrimmage. QB's RB's and receivers are handicapped w/o a good OL. And the foundation of any good defense is a dominant DL.

Well said. Everything begins and ends in the trenches. That's why I like the fact that Tennessee is recruiting so many D-linemen. Now all we need is more O-line recruits or for some of the D-linemen to convert.

sm1 writes:

in response to Mobbdeep4life:

Well said. Everything begins and ends in the trenches. That's why I like the fact that Tennessee is recruiting so many D-linemen. Now all we need is more O-line recruits or for some of the D-linemen to convert.

10-4. I totally agree.

I am confident that in time coaches Ed Orgeron, James Cregg and Jim Chaney will recruit and coach up a top notch OL and DL. And this will be the foundation of a championship caliber team.

But on top of that foundation, we also need to recruit more speed--especially on defense. We need an ample supply of LBs and DBs who can keep up with and tackle those speedsters like Brandon James (UF) McCluster (UM) and Holliday (LSU). We need LB's who get to the ball quicly and arrive with a bad attitude.

But like we have said all along, LBs can only play downhill--meeeting RB's in the hole or in the backfield--if the DL is winning in the trenches.

The game is ultimately won or lost on the line of scrimmage.

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