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Brown finally lives up to expectations

Last season's standout keeps pressure on Auburn quarterback.


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000

GAINESVILLE -- The Auburn offense got a look at the preseason Alex Brown -- the preseason All-America, All-Southeastern Conference Alex Brown. The Alex Brown everyone expected to show up for every game this season.

Unofficial game day statistics credit Brown with one tackle for a loss and one sack, but a game review may show those statistics inaccurate.

The junior put the kind of pressure on Auburn quarterback Ben Leard that was expected of him early in the season.

"It felt good; I think it was starting to get to me a little," Brown said. "Each week Coach and I would come in and watch film and see that I was there, a step away. I knew it would come, and it came today."

One of Brown's most impressive plays never even will go in the stat books.

Brown juggled a Leard pass on the Auburn 12-yard line before gaining possession and returning it for a touchdown. However, the play was voided by an Auburn delay of game penalty.

It was Brown's presence that forced Leard to throw incomplete and hurried passes.

"Our offense went out and got on top pretty quick and now it becomes a pass game," defensive coordinator Jon Hoke said. "That's when Alex is probably at his best -- when he knows you are going to throw the ball. As long as he knows you are going to throw the football, he is pretty effective."

However, Brown had been anything but effective before Saturday's game. The defensive end recorded 23 total tackles and one sack in the six previous games.

His performance merited being benched during the first quarter of the Kentucky game.

Brown also was banned from the media following the Tennessee game, when he had three tackles, and has refused media requests since that time. After Saturday's game, Brown provided statements through the sports information department.

And despite the statistical difference in games, defensive end Kennard Ellis said there was not much of a difference in Brown on Saturday.

"He did have a great game today," Ellis said. "He was just able to take advantage of our opponent."

Brown helped to lead a defense that kept Auburn to a single-digit score -- something he was supposed to have done all season.

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