Brown comes up big in first middle linebacker start
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, September 30, 2012
9/30/12 at 7:42 AM
Read more stories on the Tulsa-UAB game.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - We're just five games into the season, but DeAundre Brown has already started at all three linebacking spots for Tulsa.
On Saturday, he rescued the Golden Hurricane in his first game as middle linebacker.
Brown made an interception off a tipped pass to set up TU's go-ahead touchdown then got a sack that helped wrap up Tulsa's 49-42 victory over UAB at Legion Field.
"DeAundre is so improved," said TU coach Bill Blankenship. "He made some very big plays in this game."
Brown had moved to the middle just three days ago when injuries forced TU to look for a new starter.
Brown started the season as the weakside linebacker for three games. Then, against Fresno State, he was moved to strongside for a game.
On Thursday he moved yet again to the middle.
"DeAundre knows this is his opportunity," said TU defensive coordinator Brent Guy. "Now, he's continuing to do it and make big plays.
"That interception was just a great effort play. He is playing well, especially considering he had just three days of practice in the middle."
Brown has been one of Tulsa's most consistent defensive stars through five games.
"That's amazing since he's had to play three different positions," said Guy.
Brown's big plays came at the most important part of the victory over UAB. With about eight minutes to go, UAB had the ball and was driving in a 42-42 tie.
That's when Brown found himself in the right spot.
"The ball kind of tipped off the guy's hands," said Brown. "I just kind of hustled over there and caught the ball.
"Our coaches are always telling us to run to the ball. That's all I was doing."
It was huge. It set up Tulsa at the UAB 31, and the Golden Hurricane cashed in that turnover for the go-ahead touchdown with about five minutes to play.
On UAB's next possession, Brown was again in the right spot to make a big play. He sacked the UAB quarterback on a key third down with about three minutes to play.
"That was a case where the defensive linemen were doing a great job and opened up a huge hole for me," said Brown. "All I had to do was run through and make the tackle on the quarterback."
Brown has not only been making big plays but he is helping fill one of the most injury-riddled positions on Tulsa's team.
"He has done a great job of moving around," said Blankenship. "We're pretty light in our rotation right now because of the injuries."
Brown had seven solo tackles, including one sack for nine yards, in the victory over UAB.
"It was like a tennis match," said Guy. "We were volleying back and forth and someone needed to break serve."
Brown's interception broke serve.
"Our team needed a turnover," said Brown. "I knew if we could get the ball back for our offense that we would pound it in there."
Original Print Headline: Brown comes up big in TU win
John Klein 918-581-8368
TU's DeAundre Brown battles with UAB running back Darrin Reaves. BUTCH DILL / Associated Press