OSU football: LD Brown is the Cowboys' happy helper at running back
STILLWATER — LD Brown’s first carry of the season looked to be going nowhere.
He had plenty of Oklahoma State blockers in front of him, but the Tulsa defenders had walled off the running lanes.
But Brown, OSU’s backup running back to Heisman Trophy contender Chuba Hubbard, hesitated just long enough for a crack to open. He popped through, gave a high-step move and lowered his shoulder for a 16-yard gain.
Brown looked like a man running angry last Saturday, but in truth, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound redshirt senior was having as much fun as ever.
“Aw, I was just playing football. That’s all that is,” Brown said, his smile radiating the joy he seems to feel all the time.
Brown only carried the ball nine times for 63 yards against Tulsa last week, though he could be in line for more touches when the No. 15 Cowboys host West Virginia at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Brown says he bulked up about 10 pounds over the offseason so he could better absorb the blows a running back takes in major college football. But he seemed to be dishing out more contact than he was taking, and still producing yards afterward.
“He was awesome,” coach Mike Gundy said. “LD played his best game in all areas. In pass protection, he stepped up and hit people in the face. When he had the chance to rush the football, he ran extremely hard and he did a really good job with ball security.
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“He played better and more aggressive and had more fun in that game than he has in his career here. And his (carries) will be increased with that.”
Brown, it seems, is never not having fun.
“With so much uncertainty going around and with the season, it was just fun to be out there,” Brown said. “The best thing to do is to have fun, play loose, and that’s when you play your best.
“Play loose, play fast. That’s all I was worried about doing.”
Brown has been a career backup, with the Cowboys recruiting NFL-caliber backs to play ahead of him. Brown has backed up Chris Carson, Justice Hill and now Hubbard.
But Brown, a native of DeSoto, Texas, stays positive in his role.
And he’s playing with a sense of urgency.
“You gotta think, this is probably my last chance. Of course, everybody gets this year back,” Brown said, referencing the NCAA rule that players who compete in the fall will not lose a year of eligibility. “But with that mentality of, man, I gotta make something shake. I took this away from (Carson) a long time ago — just put something on tape. That’s the mentality you gotta have with everything you do, showing teams you can do stuff.”
Of course, Brown’s biggest play of the Tulsa game — a 51-yard touchdown run — was called back because of a penalty, but he didn’t get dragged down emotionally.
And his teammates thrive off his positive energy.
“Man, I was so freaking happy for him,” senior receiver Dillon Stoner said. “We came in together. We were roommates freshman year, so to watch him get those opportunities and make the most of it is really cool to see.
“If you don’t like LD, something’s wrong with you. He’s one of the most likeable dudes on the team. Everyone respects that guy. Everyone loves to see him be successful on Saturdays.”