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June 13, 2006Bursting on the college scene starting five of last seven games of his freshman year, Titus Brown clearly had a bright upside with the Bulldogs. Brown had a dominating performance in his first start against Arkansas with career high 18 tackles. After playing linebacker his entire football career Titus decided to put the team concept first and make a position change.
Two years later and a position change Brown still has big plans, but now at the defensive end position. "Of course linebacker comes natural to me from playing it my entire career, but playing the defensive end position I have had to work harder to reach the standards I set for myself as a linebacker. It's challenging at times, because I'm still learning the position. I can see glimpses of myself being a better defensive end than a linebacker."
As with any new challenge, experience makes a world of difference and this is no different in playing SEC football. "People say you play how you practice, but I think the game experience has helped me the most. Going against guys at practice you know their strengths and weakness. Playing against Alabama, LSU, and Auburn, and the rest of the SEC gets you more experience and plus you get better each and every time you go against those guys. The experience I got last year gives me an edge, because now I have a better understanding of the position."
With any coaching change, there is a lot of turnover and changes made to the team and staff. This was no different in the case of the bulldogs. Coach Croom and his staff moved players into the best position to help the team be successful. "I think the move to defensive end brings little more speed to the defense and a rough and rugged mentality to the defense. My move to end allows Quinton Culberson to be in the middle of everything. I think the coaches were just trying to get some more speed, agility, and quickness on the field."
In statue Brown is not your typical defensive end, but he points to that as being a strength that he will try to take advantage of. "I think I can use my speed, quickness and agility as an advantage. I'm going against linemen that are between 300-330 lbs., and all I have to do is beat them to the outside and I'm in the backfield and hopefully that will help us win some ball games this year."
With Titus not being a prototypical defensive end, he looks forward to getting in the weight room. "My bench is 375, I squatted 515, I ran the 40 in the spring in 4.7, and my vertical jump was 35 inches, and I had a power clean of 315. I'm working hard and improving on those numbers everyday."
Being an impact player means you have to be able to play all downs and make game changing plays. Brown has pointed to summer workouts to help him achieve one of his goals. "I want to really work on my endurance this summer. I want to be able to play four quarters of bulldog football. I don't wont to come out for anything if I don't have too. I think with me being in there every play it brings a lot of attitude to the defense."
The bulldogs closed out last season with the torch flaming to begin the 2006 year with a new attitude. This new attitude was sparked by an Egg Bowl win over Ole Miss. "Ole Miss is a big rival. I'm just now really understanding the animosity between us, with me being from Alabama. I think it's great, anytime you can beat your rival the way we did. It helps out recruiting wise, being the king of Mississippi. It really brought a lot to the table going into the off season by beating Ole Miss."
Many parents wonder what kind of effect will their son's head coach have on them and whether or not a coach really cares. At State parents don't have to worry about that, because Coach Croom has always been a coach that puts the players interest first. "Coach Croom is always preaching to us about our character and responsibility. He is a very hard-nosed type guy. He accepts nothing less than perfection from us. I really like that about him, he's a genuine person, an excellent role model, and a player's coach."
College campuses differ from one another and each one has its own unique features, but State's closeness and hospitality are just two things that set it apart from many others. "It's a great campus to come, too. I love the campus atmosphere. It's not as big as some of the others and not as small either. It's not far to get to class, you don't have to drive across town to get to class as you would at Flordia or Alabama. I can walk every where I need to go around campus. Every thing is easy to find, the students are friendly, the teachers will go the extra mile to help you. As far as the coaches, we got coaches that care about you. They want you to play, but they also want you to get your degree also. The coaches are always stressing to us represent the university well."
Going into his junior year Titus had seen a lot of ups and downs with the defense, but looks to some team goals as bench marks for being successful. "We want to limit points per game and rushing yards. We want to be ranked in the top twenty in the nation in total defense."