When Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was forced to reconstruct his running backs position this week he at least had a 2,000-yard rusher to consider.
High school statistics really aren’t much of a measure when trying to become a college-ready back, but you’d rather have them than not have them.
Immediately after the Rebels’ 14-13 loss to BYU – when starting tailback Brandon Bolden was shelved for an indefinite period, and Enrique Davis was rendered questionable – Nutt talked about moving freshman defensive back Chief Brown to running back.
“It’s been going good. I like running back, and it’s not that hard of a transition,” Brown said. “If they need me to play there, I’ll play there. If they need me in the secondary, I’ll play there. Whatever is best for the team.”
Brown ran for 2,173 yards and 28 touchdowns at Winona last year.
The reality is he’ll be the fourth back Saturday against Southern Illinois. The rotation – assuming Davis does not play – is shaping up to be Jeff Scott, Devin Thomas and Korvic Neat.
Nutt was impressed with Neat’s “recall” earlier in the week. Neat also was a high school running back but was moved to receiver not long into his Ole Miss career.
Sometimes situations like this uncover something positive. Maybe the game will play out in such a way that Brown gets a few carries.
Brown (6-1, 190) is a little bigger than Scott and Neat.
He didn’t put up big numbers only on offense at Winona. He also had 61 tackles, eight interceptions and three forced fumbles as a safety.
Running back really wasn’t on the radar when he was being recruited.
“They said where they needed me most was the secondary. They said, ‘If things don’t work out in the secondary we’ll play you at running back,’” Brown said.