Finally, some good news on the health of Ole Miss defensive end Fadol Brown. A day after Brown made it through an entire practice without incident—the first time he'd worked out with the team since undergoing season-ending surgery on his foot back in December—Hugh Freeze said his hulking run stuffer could produce "20 to 30 good snaps" against Florida State on Labor Day.
"He looked good today. I’m pretty confident he’ll give it a go," Freeze told reporters after practice on Wednesday.
Apparently the treatment for which Brown travelled to Dallas over the weekend ended up paying off. Freeze said on Monday that there was no lingering structural damage and that it was just a matter of pain management—but that nothing would be determined until he got out on the practice field and tested it out. Two days later, it sounds like the foot is holding up just fine.
Brown, who was listed on Monday’s depth chart as the No. 2 behind senior John Youngblood, probably won’t start. It’s a role that Youngblood’s apparently been preparing for since early summer, when he got word that Brown’s stress fracture wasn’t healing properly.
“Coach [Chris] Kiffin called me in and told me I needed to be ready to play a lot of snaps and I'd better get ready," Youngblood told the Ole Miss Spirit this week. "I took that to heart.”
That Brown is available in any capacity is big news for a defense tasked with fencing in superstar 'Noles running back Dalvin Cook. Here’s what I wrote about him a couple of weeks back:
There is no more dangerous open-space runner in the country than Cook, who led the nation last season in runs of at least 20 yards and averaged 3.3 more highlight yards per opportunity than the next-best Power 5 back, Leonard Fournette. The junior’s blinding speed and nitrous-level acceleration is deadly if he can outflank a defense, while his tightrope balance and deceptive power makes the 213-pounder a difficult tackle for perimeter defenders.
You can read the full analysis here, but the gist is that as the strong-side defensive end, the 6’4, 273-pounder will be the key to maintaining the defense’s shape at the point of attack and prevent Cook from escaping outside to the open field.