Patience pays off for Cowboys' Brown After Hill's injury and King's transfer, Brown makes most of his chance
STILLWATER — Everything changed for LD Brown in just one week.
Oklahoma State's season opener felt like a breakout game to begin his third year in Stillwater. He broke for 110 yards on just nine carries as OSU routed Missouri State.
His first carry against South Alabama, going for 14 yards, continued his upward trajectory, until it didn't.
Brown left the field hobbled by ankle pain. He wouldn't be heard from again for two months.
“It was really a frustrating time because it just lingered,” Brown said. “A high ankle sprain, they say it's better to break your ankle than to have a high ankle sprain because it's going to linger for a while. It still lingers, honestly. Something you've just got to fight through.”
For the sophomore from DeSoto, Texas, the timing of the injury couldn't have been worse. First, he signed in the Missouri vs. Oklahoma State 2:45 p.m. Dec. 31 At Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
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same class as Justice Hill. While Brown redshirted in 2016, Hill staked his claim as OSU's star back. Then, in a year in which the Cowboys had a quartet of running backs that arguably stacked up with anyone in the country this preseason, his injury made him an afterthought behind Hill, Chuba Hubbard and J.D. King.
But Hill got hurt, and King announced he was transferring. For OSU's final two regular-season games, the forgotten man among the Cowboy running backs was thrust into a backup role behind Hubbard, a redshirt freshman.
With Hill announcing
would forgo the Liberty Bowl game against Missouri on Dec. 31, Brown figures to have a similar role in three weeks. And with a thinning running back corps, his prospects for 2019 are looking up, too.
“A lot can change in a matter of time,” Brown said. “Don't take nothing for granted.”
In limited opportunities, Brown has showcased big-play ability and speed. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry last season, rushing for 223 yards and three touchdowns on just 34 carries.
He was dynamic against West Virginia this year, too, rushing for 26 yards on four touches. TCU shut him down like the rest of OSU's offense, limiting him to 5 yards on 10 carries.
But the 10 carries matched a season high — and provided some validation for Brown, who said he maintained a smile on his face and a patient disposition while waiting for his chance.
“The biggest story going around college football, the Jalen Hurts situation with Tua (Tagovailoa). … In our situation, J-Hill did get hurt. J.D. did end up transferring, and now it's just me and Chuba,” Brown said. “You never know what will happen. You've just got to keep faith.”
Just a year ago, Hill and King accounted for nearly 88 percent of handoffs to OSU running backs. Brown had 34, and former OSU back Ja'Ron Wilson had the other 17. Hubbard redshirted.
Now, although true freshman Jahmyl Jeter could play in the bowl game and will be a factor next year, Hubbard and Brown have carved out a larger role in the future of this offense than anyone would have guessed.
“It's like I said, you've just got to be patient,” Brown said. “I didn't find myself isolating myself from my teammates or anything like that. I just tried to keep faith and have hope and just do what I can do.”
ATLANTA — Georgia native Geoff Collins said Friday he landed his dream job when hired to return as Georgia Tech's coach.
Most notable among changes the former Temple coach will bring to the Yellow Jackets will be a shift from the spread-option offense used by former coach Paul Johnson the last 11 years.
At his introductory news conference after his hiring was announced early Friday, Collins said he will install “NFL-based” schemes on offense and defense. Those changes will be a challenge for players recruited by Johnson for the run-first attack with its triple-option plays.
Collins said he began recruiting immediately to prepare for the early signing period that begins on Dec. 19. There will be some key needs, possibly including at quarterback, to jump-start the transition to a pro-style offense.
“I've already been watching tape on the plane,” Collins said, adding “Recruiting matters. That is a huge priority for us.”
The 47-year-old Collin, is a former Florida and Mississippi State defensive coordinator and Georgia Tech assistant who was 15-10 in two seasons at Temple.
Before his time at Florida (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2011-14), Collins was a graduate assistant and tight ends coach at Georgia Tech under coach George O'Leary from 1999-2001. He returned to serve as recruiting coordinator at Tech under coach Chan Gailey in 2006.
A native of Conyers, Georgia, Collins said he began dreaming about eventually becoming Georgia Tech's coach during his two stints as an assistant. He said the opportunity, which developed quickly when Johnson stepped down on Nov. 28, was not expected.
“I formed a vision in my head in multiple stops I've been here of what this place can be, what this place should be,” he said.
He spoke of emphasizing the Georgia Tech brand and culture.
“Recruits choose brands and our brand should be as strong as anywhere in the country and it's going to be,” Collins said.
He said he would take advantage of the school's tough academic requirements as a selling point in recruiting “to come to a place where education matters.”
Collins also spent a season as director of player personal at Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban's first season leading the Crimson Tide.
Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft said assistant coach Ed Foley will serve as interim coach for the Independence Bowl against Duke on Dec. 27.
Collins had an 8-4 record with a 7-1 mark in the American Athletic Conference this season. in one of the nation's upand-coming coaches to replace Hall of Famer Bill Snyder.
Littrell told the Mean Green in a meeting Friday that he would not be leaving for the Wildcats. It ended a courtship
Oklahoma State's LD Brown (right) tries to outrun West Virginia's Toyous Avery Jr. in Stillwater on Nov. 17. LIBERTY BOWL
Newly hired Georgia Tech football coach Geoff Collins speaks during a news conference Friday in Atlanta.in which Littrell met with Kansas State officials several times this week. North Texas will face Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl next week.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa scrambles for yardage against Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Nov. 10. Tagovailoa has been wearing a boot and riding a scooter due to an ankle procedure.