February 27, 2008

Brown visits high school coach, shares details

Franklin (Ga.) Heard County High School head coach Tim Barron welcomed an unexpected visitor yesterday - junior running back Carlos Brown, home this week while Michigan is on Spring Break. Barron got plenty of scoop from Brown and shared it with TheWolverine.com …

"He told me he's very excited and all of his teammates are excited," Barron said. "They're doing their strength stuff right now and it's entirely different than what they did under Lloyd Carr. There used to be a lot of machines, but now it's traditional weights, squats, power cleans, core development, and Carlos said he's never worked harder in his life. Some of the guys may be whining about it, but they're all getting bigger and stronger and faster."

After struggling to adapt to his role at tailback in 2006, Brown emerged Mike Hart's most dependable backup in 2007. He rushed for 382 yards and four touchdowns, gaining 100 yards in back-to-back starts against Illinois and Purdue while Hart rested injuries. Barron caught as many of Browns games as he could and made sure to promote the former Brave as often as possible.

"I'd record his runs, put them on a DVD to bring into school to show our kids, and then when we'd sent our film out to a school that we were playing that week, the first thing they saw were a couple Carlos Brown runs," Barron said. "It felt great to see him making an impact up there for Michigan this year. That experience certainly makes Carlos confident he can be the guy to get the job done this year."

Brown will receive plenty of competition from classmate Brandon Minor, redshirt junior Kevin Grady and a slew of freshmen eager to impress. However, Brown has experience, and unlike a few of his backfield teammates, he possesses the perfect skill set for Rich Rodriguez's offense.

"When the coaching move took place, we were all excited down here knowing that the kind of athlete Carlos is, his strengths and weaknesses, that he will fit into that system extremely well," Barron said. "He can play running back, can play in the slot, can catch the ball - there are so many different things that offense can do to showcase Carlos' abilities.

"He's not your traditional power back, which I think was always going to hurt him up there, but with the new offense, he can do so many good things with the ball in his hands. Carlos won't know for sure until the practices start, but he thinks he'll see the field at several different places and get some reps at quarterback in their option series. He's not particular about how they use him as long as they use him to the best of his ability."

A year ago at this time, Brown had made the move to cornerback but didn't care for it. There were rumors he was heavily considering a transfer, but a return to tailback quashed such talk. Barron said U-M fans need not worry this spring.

"He's a Wolverine all the way," he said. "There was an adjustment period and his first year was a lot harder than he expected. He didn't redshirt but never really played and that wears on you mentally. I think he had some doubts, but when you hear him talk now everything is 'We' and 'Us.' He's a Michigan football player, and with these new coaches in place I really think he's going to be a kid that everyone is talking about next year."

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