The most newsworthy item that came out of today’s Cotton Bowl media conferences was about Kansas State junior linebacker Arthur Brown. He says he will wait one more season before trying to make a NFL roster, and will be back with the Wildcats as a senior.
The most interesting item of the day may have centered on Brown, too.
K-State defensive coordinator Chris Cosh revealed his nickname: The Judge.
“That’s what we call him,” Cosh said. “He does a lot, but says very little. He’s always looking at us with that eye.”
Anyone who has met Brown can agree the nickname suits him. He rarely smiles, but is rarely upset. His voice and demeanor never change, regardless of his mood. And he always seems serious. Just like a judge.
You could also say his tackling style resembles a judge banging his gavel. Or maybe not. But you get the point. He’s good. He’s K-State’s best defensive player (he made a team-high 95 tackles and outplayed Heisman winner Robert Griffin III straight up in the fourth quarter of a close game). And he deserves a nickname.
When asked if he was surprised by anything Brown has done this season, Cosh had this to say: “Nothing. He’s got more to do. You’ll be writing a lot more stuff about him next season …
“Maybe he should go out for the Olympics …
“Arthur does some stuff in practice, he can do a flip and land on his feet somehow. You see stuff like that and it’s hard to define. You’ve got to see a picture.”
Cosh saw that picture several times before Brown was allowed to take the field in a K-State uniform. After transferring in from Miami, he had to spend a season with the scout team. He outclassed everyone around him, and showed glimpses of being the best defensive player on the roster.
He couldn’t make plays on Saturday, or help the first-team defense during the week. But he was already leading by example.
“We seemed like a perfect fit,” Brown said.
“I think he laid the foundation right there,” Cosh said.
Improvements still needed to be made, though. He needed to become more vocal. He didn’t used to talk much at all, and Cosh is always encouraging him to interact more. He has never seen him yell, and told me he thinks he could become the best linebacker he has ever coached if he can learn to lead with his voice.
But his mechanics and skills are all there. He doesn’t need much work on his physical game.
“He can see and diagnose,” Cosh said. “He can grom 0-60 faster than anybody. He had to learn how to utilize that, because that can be a disadvantage to you. You can take yourself out of a play. He can wait a tick and still get there faster than anybody.”
It hasn’t always been perfect for him this season. His brother, Bryce, left the team after three days and Brown now says he is in Tennessee. His future plans are unknown. For a guy who values family, and says the best part about playing at K-State is being two hours from his parents in Wichita, that had to be hard.
“It was difficult once he made the decision to leave,” Brown said. “It was his decision. I didn’t have much to say in the matter. He’s my brother and I love him. I definiltey will support him.”
On a side note, Brown said he believes his brother could possibly return to the Wildcats at some point.
“I believe that if he was willing to make the decision and was confident and talked to Coach (Bill) Snyder about it, I do believe the doors would be open,” Brown said. “But it would have to be his decision.”
Whatever happens there, Brown is focused on the Cotton Bowl. He wants to end a season that saw him earn Big 12 Defensive Newcomer honors and land on the Big 12′s all-conference teams in style. He thinks a good game on Friday can be like a spring board into next season.
Arkansas players realize avoiding him is the key to attacking K-State’s defense. Though certain Razorback players have been less than complimentary of the Wildcats this week, they have spoken highly of Brown.
Here is how the conversation has typically gone: “I’m not sure what his name is, but there is a guy I’ve seen, No. 4, who is really talented on their defense.”
Added Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino: “Their middle linebacker, No. 4, is just a great football player. He has great instincts and plays hard. He makes plays all across the field.”
Everyone respects The Judge.
Editor’s Note: On Jan. 6, the Kansas State football team will face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. With that in mind, I began counting down to the big game in Cowboys Stadium on Dec. 6 by attempting to write 31 blog posts in 31 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas at the moment. I’m confident that I can go 31 for 31, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.