BOZICH | Dominique Brown 'hip' to Bobby Petrino's suggestion - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Dominique Brown 'hip' to Bobby Petrino's suggestion

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Dominique Brown led Louisville's backs in rushing last season, but Bobby Petrino wants him to improve his technique. Dominique Brown led Louisville's backs in rushing last season, but Bobby Petrino wants him to improve his technique.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Dominique Brown led the University of Louisville in rushing last season by nearly 150 yards. He scored eight touchdowns. The Cards' other returning backs scored three.

Brown flashed for a 77-yard touchdown, Louisville's longest scoring play – pass or run – all season. Superb stuff for a converted quarterback who fought back from major knee surgery.

Brown was The Guy without ever really being named The Guy.

But that was in the Charlie Strong offense. If Brown expects to repeat those numbers in 2014, he's got work to do. Bobby Petrino, Louisville's new coach, says that Brown is too vertical when he gets to the hole. Linebackers are more annoyed by runners who get lower than tacklers can.

Every day before practice Petrino finds Brown and reminds him that he's got to drop his hips and get his shoulders closer to the turf to create leverage. The hips. It's all about the hips.

“Just running lower,” Brown said. “It was a big emphasis in the spring and it carried over into camp. He tells me all the time, ‘Don't run with all of 6-2.' I've been working on it. It's been a work in progress.”

It's the same thing that Petrino preached to Michael Bush, Kolby Smith and other talented backs that he coached during his first stop at Louisville. Bush worked on the same technique.

Is Brown figuring it out?

“I'm definitely learning,” he said. “We do drills and stuff like that with our coach (Smith).  Running under the chute and staying low. Corvin Lamb even struggles running through it and he's short (5-9). It's harder for me.”

That's the kind of fine-tuning Petrino has always preached, a reason that his best college offenses have delivered 40 points per game. Brown delivered 825 yards last season, averaging 5.1 per carry. He can do more.

“You get your power when you're lower,” Brown said. “You might be using 40 or 50 percent of your power (when you're too vertical), not 90 or 100.”

It's not something the previous coaching staff stressed?

“It's pretty much a new emphasis this year,” he said. “That's my emphasis pretty much every practice. It's still a learning process. It's nothing that's going to happen overnight. It's going to take all the practices.”

Halfback is one of the deepest positions on the team. Brown is a proven player. So is Michael Dyer. Brandon Radcliff, a sophomore, averaged 5.4 yards on 17 carries last season. Lamb is a burner. Freshman L. J. Scott excelled in the spring game.

“We don't really have one guy,” Brown said. “Your spot could be gone like that. We all just worry about being physical. We're going to run the ball a lot in the Petrino offense.”

Last season Brown earned nearly 36 percent of the carries. Will one back emerge this season?

“We really don't know, especially with the Petrino system,” he said. “He likes all of us. He's gives all an equal amount of shares … it's going to be his decision if he wants one guy to emerge.

“Especially with the guys that we have, anybody could go out there pretty much and play and we won't miss a beat. It's great to have that versatility in the room. That's why I think we're good as a room collectively. Everybody brings something to the table.”

But with his power, and lower pad level, Dominique Brown should be The Guy near the goal line.

“Yeah,” he said.  “Yeah, I like that.”

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