Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF's Brown Haunted by Five-Sack '99 Game

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF's Brown Haunted by Five-Sack '99 Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, Times-Union sports writer

GAINESVILLE -- The date was Sept. 18, 1999, and it was the day that the most wonderful thing happened to Alex Brown. It also was the day the worst thing happened to Alex Brown.

Brown ravaged Tennessee with five sacks in Florida's 23-21 victory at Florida Field that day -- a performance that propelled Brown to All-American status and consideration as a potential first-round NFL Draft pick.

That day changed Brown's life. Until then, he was a player on the cusp of greatness. Since then, however, he has been a victim of it.

"That game helped me a lot, but I think it hurt me a lot, too, because a lot of people still look for Alex to do that week-in and week-out," Brown said. "I'm trying, but it hasn't come."

At no time is he reminded more of that than this week, when the second-ranked Gators (2-0, 0-0 SEC) are preparing for the eighth-ranked Vols' return visit to Gainesville on Saturday. Brown's five sacks will be rehashed by fans all week, and following each rehashing will be the ripping.

Lazy. Takes plays off. Doesn't focus. That and worse has been said about Brown, whose 24 1/2 career sacks are fourth on the school's all-time list and 2 1/2 shy of Alonzo Johnson's school record. Those comments are unfair, linebacker Travis Carroll said, because Brown is being held to an unfair standard. The ironic thing is it's the standard he set that day against Tennessee.

"He's had some games that are unbelievable, and then there are some games you can't match up to," Carroll said. "A five-sack performance against Tennessee, I don't think you'll see anybody else do that -- ever. You can't go week-in, week-out making five sacks a game or he would have gone straight to the [NFL] out of high school.

"I don't think he's lazy. I see him working hard every day. That'd be utterly dominating if he could do that every game, and it's not possible. Yet that's the standard that people hold him to."

The reason Brown gets criticized, defensive coordinator Jon Hoke said, is the senior from Hamilton County has so much ability that it sometimes frustrates coaches when they see him not living up to it. …

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