Cowboys' 'Pit Bull' wraps up career
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 29, 2012
12/29/12 at 6:27 AM
DALLAS - Oklahoma State senior cornerback Brodrick Brown will start and end his bowl career in the same place (the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex) and under completely different circumstances.
Brown's freshman season ended with a trip to the Cotton Bowl in Arlington. He made his first career start in that game because starting cornerback Perrish Cox ran afoul of team rules at the bowl site and was suspended.
Fast forward to the present and Brown has started more games (38) than anyone who will suit up for OSU's defense in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Purdue on Tuesday.
In between the bookend bowls, Brown graduated from pup to "Pit Bull." He said he was given that nickname by former OSU linebacker Orie Lemon.
Pit Bull? Brown, who is 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, has long wanted to prove it's not the size of the dog that matters. It's the size of the fight in the dog. He practices and plays with a mindset that he is the pit bull no one wants to antagonize.
"I had two older brothers that were always bigger than me and taller than me and stronger than me, so just competing with them and watching them as they competed, I wanted to compete and be just like them," Brown said.
"It just stuck with me that you are not always going to be the biggest, tallest, fastest or strongest guy out there, but you have always got to play with a chip on your shoulder, and that stuck with me ever since I was a little kid."
Of course, Brown responded the right way at the end of his rookie season, when he got his trial by fire in a Cotton Bowl defeat.
"He did a nice job," OSU coach Mike Gundy said. "We threw him out against Ole Miss and they couldn't hardly throw a forward pass. It was a little different (than now). But he played good that game. They challenged him twice and he knocked the ball away and he ended up being a pretty good player for us as he went on, a three-year starter."
Bill Young said Brown - a first-team All-Big 12 performer and an SI.com All-American in 2011 - has had a tremendous career.
"Unfortunately this year he has been so beat up he could barely play," OSU's defensive coordinator said.
"I think he could only play about 10 plays in the Baylor game, and he was on crutches the OU week. It's an unfortunate way for such a heck of a player to end his career, but thank goodness it didn't end it there and he gets to go on and play in the bowl game."
Two cornerbacks who were all-league defenders this season will be on the field for the Heart of Dallas Bowl, but they are not OSU's corners. Purdue cornerbacks Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson are second-team All-Big Ten selections.
Brown and OSU junior cornerback Justin Gilbert did not record an interception this season. Brown suggested the perception for a cornerback is you are not having a good season if you fail to make attention-getting plays, interceptions included.
"It's all about if you are doing your assignment," he said. "I did a lot of that this year. If you do your assignment, that's how you win games."
Young, in Brown's defense, said, "It's hard to play corner when you are healthy. When you are about 50 percent, it's impossible."
Young said rest has allowed Brown to get close to 100 percent healthy.
After a Friday practice, receiver Charlie Moore said he loves going against Brown because he plays so hard and is always competing.
"He is a tough kid," Moore said. "This being his last game of his career, I hope he has a great game and I hope we get a win for him. It's guys like him that make this last game special. We want to win it for the seniors."
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
Oklahoma State's Brodrick Brown (left) and Torrance Carr celebrate after defeating Texas Tech on Nov. 17 in Stillwater. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World