Southern linebacker Daniel Brown has a passion that — so to speak — goes much, much deeper than football.
“I want to be a marine biologist,” he said. “I like marine wildlife. I love the ocean. There’s things down there we haven’t seen. I’m just fascinated by it.”
Brown’s position coach raved about the passion the junior brings to the field.
“His motor is so incredible that I have to reel him back sometimes,” linebackers coach Lorick Atkinson said. “Daniel is a true, old-school football player. He just gives us relentless effort.”
The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder led the Jaguars with 12 tackles, including one sack, in their season-opening, 62-13 defeat Friday at Houston.
“He’s extremely athletic,” coach Dawson Odums said. “He can run running backs down. He can run receivers down. He’s got everything. He’s big, strong (and has) speed and explosiveness. He’s just a destructive player.”
Odums and Atkinson plan to maximize Brown’s physical attributes and use his versatility in a number of ways this season.
“We have to do a better job at getting him to put more pressure on the offense,” Odums said. “We’ve got to move him around more and take advantage of what he can do.”
That includes moving Brown, a product of New Orleans’ J.S. Clark High School, into positions where he can be most destructive.
“The teams that we play are going to find him and try and go the other way,” Atkinson said. “He’s that kind of player. So we’ll move him inside, put him on the edge, and the offense is not going to know where he’s coming from.”
Brown typically lines up in the Jaguars’ 3-4 alignment at strongside linebacker, helping to set the edge for the defense.
“My role on defense is to force the edge and spill everything to the safeties coming down,” Brown said.
But Brown noted — with a sheepish grin — that he does enjoy getting after the quarterback every so often.
“By playing outside, you can get the highlights and the sacks,” he said. “Everyone likes to get sacks.”
But Brown doesn’t care where he plays — as long he’s on the field.
“I just go after whoever has the ball,” he said. “Wherever the team needs me to play, I’m willing to play. ...
“We have a lot of captains on the team, but I see myself as a vocal leader. I’ve never really been a part of a winning team before. I’m just trying to help bring a winning team here to Southern. I know if we have that high intensity during practice, we’ll have that high intensity during the game.”
Away from the field, Brown sports a pair of bifocals. On the field, he plays without them.
“It doesn’t affect me unless it’s (a passing play) and I have to drop deep and watch the quarterback,” he said. “My vision of the ball is a little off. Other than that, it really doesn’t affect me at all.”
Brown said his decision to attend Southern was a no-brainer. Focused on winning, he wants Southern to go deeper than it has in recent years.
“I wanted to stay home, close to the family,” he said. “And with Southern having the winning tradition, I wanted to come here and help bring it back.”
Tickets are still available for the Southern-Northwestern State game, the first meeting of the teams in 11 years.
All tickets are reserved seats at $20. They are available online at NSUDemons.com/tickets and can be purchased in person or on the telephone at the Southern (225-771-3171) and Northwestern State (318-357-4268 or 318-375-5251) athletic ticket offices.
Turpin Stadium, which holds 15,971 seats, has sold out each of Southern’s four previous visits in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000. The teams last met in 2002 in Shreveport.
Fans driving RVs can reserve parking slots for $30 through both ticket offices.
There is a $10 parking fee for vehicles entering the south side of the campus surrounding the Stadium. There are free parking areas on the north side of campus within walking distance of the stadium.