Bryce Brown looks to improve, get healthy

Bryce Brown had a solid public debut in a Kansas State uniform over the weekend. During the Wildcats’ spring game, the sophomore running back rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns on 13 attempts. He also returned three kicks for 45 yards and looked good with the ball in open space.

At times, he used his strength and moved like Daniel Thomas. At others, he used his speed and darted up field like William Powell. The former high school All-American at Wichita East and Tennessee transfer clearly has a wide skill set, and he’s looking forward to showing that off further next season.

After injuring his left ankle at the beginning of spring practices, he was not at full strength on Saturday. Getting healthy is his No. 1 goal heading into the fall.

He said that will help him, “Get faster. That’s what my game is about: speed.”

Brown will need to be at 100 percent. Even though he remains the favorite to be K-State’s top running back in 2011, John Hubert will challenge him. On Saturday, he ran for 79 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

But neither that competition, nor the expectations he will face to replace Daniel Thomas, bother Brown.

“I embrace it,” Brown said. “But I don’t let that take away my focus. With me, it’s always about getting better and being the best Bryce that I can be … I just want to be the best player that I can be.”

K-State fans want the same. At least that’s what Brown guesses. He’s been in Manhattan for almost an entire school year, and still can’t say for sure how he’s been received on campus.

“I’m not really out much,” Brown said. “I don’t do a lot of interviews. They had to hunt me down to do this one. Nobody has heard me speak. I haven’t talked to many people at all. I’m just staying to myself and waiting for that first game.”

– Brown addressed several other topics after the spring game, including what made him choose to transfer to K-State …

“Main thing was my brother coming back, being close to home,” Brown said. “Having that feeling that my parents could only go to one game while I was at Tennessee, with the Coach (Lane) Kiffin departure I was just like, ‘The best place for me is to be at home.’ I got with my dad. It was his, my dad’s, final decision and I support him and what he did. So I came home.”

On his feelings about Tennessee …

“I love Tennesse,” Brown said. “I still go back to Tennessee often. I built great relationships there.”

On sitting out a year while transferring …

“Everything happens for a reason,” Brown said. “I didn’t get the release. I had to sit out. I think it really made me appreciate the game more. I think that’s something, I can’t say I took the game for granted, but it made me appreciate the game more, which I needed. Also my brother needed it as well. I think it did the same for both of us.

And on playing alongside his brother, Arthur …

“It feels good,” Brown said. “Not exactly like high school, but I can look over at him and he gives me that energy, that extra push. He puts that want-to in me. He keeps me going good and forces me to play better.”