Cornbread is what they call him.
“I got it when I first came here as a true freshman,” University of Alabama offensive lineman Deonte Brown said when asked the origins of his peculiar nickname. “Some of the older guys joking around with me and saying that and it became my nickname.”
Brown, who starts eight games at right guard a season ago for the Crimson Tide, appears to be making the transition back to left guard, where he started five games in 2018, this season.
“I’ve played both right and left guard,” Brown said. “To me it’s probably more mental than physical. [As for physical] the only real difference is hand on the ground. But knowing which position is doing what is probably the most challenging.”
The 6-foot-4, 350 pound lineman is one of the four returning starters to Alabama’s offensive line, and the Crimson Tide will rely heavily on him, in the interior of the trenches.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Brown said. “There really wasn’t that much chemistry lost.”
Earlier in fall camp, Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian noted how important this unit will be for the team’s success in 2020, starting with Brown.
“We obviously have an abundance of of experience up front, when you start talking about Deonte Brown, Landon Dickerson, Alex Leatherwood, Chris Owens, Evan Neal,” Sarkisian said a couple weeks ago. “Those guys have played a lot of football. I think one of the things that comes out of it is the communication factor, those guys can communicate really well with one another up front. I think, two, their communication to us as coaches. They’ve seen a lot of football, they know some of the issues the defense is presenting and making the proper adjustments that way. And then thirdly, I think from a game plan standpoint. When have a veteran group, you can do some subtle tweaks, you can do some things with those guys that maybe you couldn’t do with a younger group, just from an inexperience standpoint.
“So all in all, these guys are battle-tested, they’ve been in a lot of big games, they’ve competed against the best opponents, so we got a lot of faith in them and we’re fortunate. I’ve been in seasons where we haven’t had such a veteran offensive line, so with this group of guys we’re looking forward to those guys being the bell cows in the run game and the pass game, and from a leadership standpoint offensively.”
The Crimson Tide has a scheduled off day from practice on Friday, but if all went according to plan, this week should have been spent preparing for the USC Trojans in Arlington, Tex.
““It kind of is with COVID-19,” Brown said when asked if it was weird not having a game on Labor Day weekend.
“But we’re adjusting well.”