Brittain Brown turns out to be a bad guy, and just what the doctor ordered for UCLA’s backfield.
The Bruins hoped Duke’s graduate transfer could be the versatile knockout punch the backfield needs to counter all of their other guns, and while it’s only been one match so far, that good.
During UCLA’s season-opening 48-42 loss in Colorado, the Bruins were 28 points behind in the first half, and that limited the chances of a north-south back like Brown, a 6-foot-1,210-pound powerhouse who will become asked to get hold of the hard yards for the Bruins this season and to move the chains consistently.
Brown carried the ball twice without yards in the Bruins’ loss to Colorado, but it was a whole different story in Sunday’s 34-10 win over Cal, in which Brown carried the ball 12 times for 71 yards, including a powerful 31 – fourth quarter yard touchdown run that sealed the win.
“Every time I touch the ball, I try to score,” said Brown. ‘So people say I’m angry. I just run as fast as I can and try to break one down. ”
Brown simply would not be brought down as defenders approached him and showed both his strength and speed as he drove off as soon as he got onto the open field.
It had been more than two years since Brown scored a touchdown, but he saw the opportunity and didn’t think twice about what to do.
It’s probably instinctual. I’ve been playing football for a long time, since I was 5 years old, ”said Brown of his TD run. “When I get a game like that I make the first cut and when I see daylight in my head I get the ball vertical and just run. No yelp, no cutting, just nothing because as long as you do that the defender has to respond to your speed and at that point it’s too late. ”
Here’s what UCLA hoped to get from Brown, who is different from combo-back Demetric Felton, a rollback receiver. But together they can give the opponents a headache. Felton had 25 carriers for 109 yards and also three receptions for 28 yards.
Add to that quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson, who ran 12 times for 56 yards to go along with other backs like Keegan Jones, Kazmier Allen and others who offer their opponents so many different looks to think about.
“When you get down to business and you try to be a more balanced team, that’s what we always try to be, your hasty total shows,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said in a conference call on Wednesday. And that’s what happened. We had 54 tries (against Cal). We more than doubled our hasty efforts in the second game. Where did that come from? The combination on 1 and 1A is Felton and Brit. ”
You will often hear that one is thunder and the other lightning, but Kelly will not label Brown that way.
“He’s what we thought he was,” Kelly said of Brown. ‘He’s a physical back. He’s got some strength. He’s a bit more built like Joshua Kelley (now in the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers) than some of our other guys who are smaller, faster guys and we try to use them all accordingly.
“But (Brown) can run out, he can do it all. He’s a real midget back. He is very good at pass protection and he is a good route planner. We now only have a small sample size. He had two carries in the first game and 12 carries in the second game, but hopefully we can increase that. If our hasty totals are over 50, we’re probably doing some good things. ”
Brown agrees, the more guys involved, the more balanced and better off UCLA’s offense will be.
“It’s good to have several guys who can get in 100 percent,” said Brown. “They’ve kept me and Felt on the field at different times, so it’s kind of thrown off the defense. You have a speed man and you have speed and power so it is good to have different skills.
“We have a lot of new stuff we’re putting in. We’re trying to calculate the number of iterations and the number of carriers we all get. Not just me and Felt, but a lot of good backs that can come in and do their things.”
OREGON, UCLA KICK-OFF TIME NOT YET SET
UCLA (1-1) will take on 11th-ranked Oregon (2-0) in Eugene on Saturday, but the Bruins have not yet gotten time to kick off.
UCLA was originally scheduled to play Oregon at 7:30 PM, but was postponed for a day because UCLA played Cal on Sunday. That’s how the coronavirus pandemic has moved the goalposts. UCLA was scheduled to play against Utah last week, but the Utes were unable to play as multiple players were eliminated due to the corona virus. So UCLA and Cal agreed to play and had only two days to prepare for their Sunday meeting.
Kelly wasn’t too concerned about not knowing the start time, and even joked about it.
“It’s like getting a cable,” Kelly said. “We were told we would have a match somewhere between 12 noon and 7:30 am. So if you ordered a cable for your home and people said they would be there somewhere between 12 noon and 7:30 am, we are prepared for that. ”
Kelly isn’t sure when they’ll find out.
“I know the TV partners in the league are trying to find a window because the game was clearly scheduled for Friday night,” said Kelly. “And some of that may change from I understand other games have been canceled, is there a slot to bet us? We had to know … I don’t know when to know, but I know it’s Saturday and it’s between noon and 7:30 pm ”