MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia University returns one of the Big 12’s top defensive end duos with Christian Brown and Noble Nwachukwu.
Brown finished the 2015 season with 33 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in 13 starts. He had three tackles in the Mountaineers’ Cactus Bowl victory.
In his redshirt senior season, everything is finally starting to click.
“Oh, boy he had a great winter and it’s carrying over into the camp,” WVU defensive line coach Bruce Tall said. “He’s doing some good things. The light is definitely on now. It’s completely on now.”
Tall thinks everything came full circle against the Sun Devils.
“He started in the Arizona State game and it just keeps going in the right direction,” he added.
The 6-foot-2, 298-pound defensive lineman wasn’t focused on himself his junior season. He was more concerned with making an entire team better.
“As a junior I was just focusing on trying to make the team better,” Brown said. “I wasn’t pretty much focusing on myself. I was focusing on trying to make the whole team better. Just doing everything I had to do to complete the defense.”
But something clicked during the Cactus Bowl in January.
“I kind of feel like toward the end of the year I played better,” Brown said. “I don’t see why it’s like that. It’s just me being a competitor. People look at every game with you. What I had to do is bring that same intensity every game, and be the best.”
Now that the light is on for the Fort Myers, Fla. native, he can do what he has always been capable of doing.
“I can’t wait till the season come,” he said. “It’s going to be a good year for us, especially just us seniors and just leading the whole defense. As a defensive lineman, we are the closest to the ball so it all starts with us.”
Brown feels that his strength is his best asset but he is working on becoming quicker.
“My main thing is strength so if I have to ball rush I can but this season I am kind of working on more speed and working on hands and stuff.”
With Brown embarking on his fifth season, the underclassmen look up to the senior and he is just trying to guide them in the right direction
“I tell them to just be in the film room,” Brown said. “That’s where I started off. Any days that you have nothing to do, just come up here and watch film on the little things that you need to work on. Then just go from there.”
And he believes that hard work pays off in the end.
“Just keep working,” he added. “That’s all it is. Keep working. You can’t let that get big headed over you. You have to keep pushing. Every day isn’t a promise, so you have to keep working each day and get better.”
Brown and Nwachukwu could be a force to reckon with this season for the Mountaineers. The duo should strike fear into the league’s quarterbacks.