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OXFORD, Miss. – Following an injury that kept him sidelined him for most of the season, Fadol Brown made his return to the Ole Miss defense two weeks ago against LSU, where he registered three tackles and a tackle for loss. His presence was definitely felt in last week’s game against Auburn. In that contest, Brown finished with 5 tackles, two of which were solo, one tackle for loss, and one sack.
Now, Brown is hopeful he can contribute even more and help the Rebels finish the season on a positive note.
But the senior defensive end understands that Ole Miss, who has now lost three straight, will have to take it one game at a time and not look past Georgia Southern (4-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) this Saturday.
“It is what it is at this point,” Brown said Monday about Ole Miss’ struggles. “Just focus on the next one and focus on being 1-0 this week. That’s all I can do. That’s all we can do.”
It’s been difficult for Brown to watch from the sidelines as his teammates have come so close in key games this season, only to see them fall just short after holding leads or entering halftime tied. But while Brown was rehabbing from the foot injury he suffered last season, he was a fixture at practices, mentoring the young defensive players when needed.
Even though Brown couldn’t physically be in the game with this teammates on Saturdays, he still wanted to show support to the ones who were suiting up for battle on game day.
“I train hard for myself. Then once I get out on the field, I just be vocal and help with anything I see that I went through. Just little things like that I try to coach them up and get them right because when we are out on the field, that’s when it matters on Saturday.”
Defensive end Fadol Brown
At one point, the Charleston, South Carolina native wasn’t sure if he would be able to return to the gridiron to play another down for the Rebels. It was in the back of his mind, week after week, when wasn’t cleared to play, but thanks to his family, his teammates, and Ole Miss’ coaching staff, Brown stayed positive in hopes of returning.
Brown has played in four of the Rebels’ eight games this season, recording 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss of six yards and one sack for a loss of five yards.
“I always had faith,” Brown said thoughtfully. “It’s a deal that you can’t rush and if you rush it, there are going to be consequences.”
Brown says his foot isn’t bothering him anymore, and he is focused on helping Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) win its last four games of the 2016 season. The Rebels have given up an average of 236.9 rushing yards per game, which ranks 118th in the nation. Ole Miss is ranked 114th in the nation in total defense (468.1 ypg).
The last four games on the Rebels’ schedule will be vital for Brown, who’s a senior, and he wants to make the best of the opportunity in front of him. He and his teammates will be working hard to make sure Ole Miss reaches a bowl game.
“That’s major. That’s very important. We have to win out. That’s it. That’s just what it is. We just have to win out. You have to win every game from this point on and physically just dominate upfront and whatever we need to do defensively to get the job done.”
Brown’s experience and leadership will be critical for a young Rebels’ defense to take into the remaining games of 2016.
“Me as a leader and as an older guy, just got to step up and be more vocal or try to provide more energy for the team by making better plays or just finding ways to impact the game and help my teammates rise up.”
Ole Miss and Georgia Southern face off in Oxford this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. (CT). The game will be televised by ESPNU.
(Feature image credit: Joey Brent for The Rebel Walk)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.