STILLWATER — Oklahoma State running back LD Brown is at his best when he can use his speed in the open field.
“That’s just something I pride myself on, being that fast kid and being able to get the edge and outrun the defense,” Brown said before the season. “I love being that person.”
Brown was expected to be the clear No. 2 back behind Heisman candidate Chuba Hubbard, but he had a slow start to the season. He carried the ball seven times for just 8 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against Oregon State and hasn’t had more than five carries since.
Following the Tulsa game, in which Brown had five carries for 22 yards, OSU coach Mike Gundy said Brown just needs to focus on running north.
“He’s chopping his feet and looking around,” Gundy said last month. “He needs to run. That’s his strength, he’s fast.
“LD is chopping a little bit; he needs to run. He should be performing better than he is, and I think he will. He’s just a little unsure right now. We need him to stick his foot in the ground and go north.”
Six games into the season, it looks like Brown might be figuring it out. Brown looks to be doing a better job hitting the holes quicker. He had just four carries for 25 yards against Kansas State but one rush turned into a 10-yard gain.
That run was the longest of the season for Brown until he broke for a 23-yard gain at Texas Tech a week later. Brown had three carries in Lubbock and was on the field for nine total plays, according to Gundy.
Gundy said Brown needs to be in about 20 plays a game. He said Brown stopped chopping his feet, so he should be seeing more playing time.
“We asked him to do that, and that’s what he did,” Gundy said. “So he needs to be in the game more. We all know this. Chuba, I just don’t think he can do it 32 times a game.”
Hubbard has had 30 or more carries in three of the past four games, and Gundy said it’s hard to get Hubbard out of the game. But it’s something the coaching staff must do. If Brown continues to run straight ahead, he could be the answer to helping keep Hubbard’s carries down.
“He’s doing what we’ve asked him to do,” Gundy said of Brown. “So when a young man does that, we’ve got to give him a chance, and we’ll do that.”