During the past three seasons, Aggie fans have seen enough of running back Demario Brown to know that he has the ability to someday end up as one of the best backs in Utah State history.

Since becoming the starter late in his freshman season in 1996, Brown has scored 18 touchdowns, run for more than 1,500 yards and produced 10 100-yard games.Just think what he could do if he was ever healthy.

For two years in a row, Brown has suffered an injury in the opening game against Utah and subsequently sat out longer than anyone anticipated.

Last year, it was a knee injury that sidelined Brown for three games and limited him in several others, including the season-ending Humanitarian Bowl.

This year, he injured his ankle late in the Utah game, played ineffectively against New Mexico, then sat out the past two games against Colorado and Sam Houston State. That, on top of missing much of the preseason camp with a hip injury.

All the injuries makes one wonder that perhaps Brown just isn't a tough player, who can't play with pain.

But USU coach Dave Arslanian strongly denies that.

"Demario's a real warrior," he said. "He wants to play. (The ankle injury) is just one of those things that didn't respond as well as everybody hoped it would."

Brown should be back this week against Oregon State, a team he rushed for 131 yards against last year. But then again, maybe he won't be.

GETTING BETTER: Utah State fans are understandably not happy with their team's record this year, and neither is first-year coach Dave Arslanian.

At least Arslanian is off to a better start than in his two previous jobs.

His first year as Snow College head coach he started 0-6 before getting a victory. At Weber State he started 0-5 before getting a win. This time he only got to 0-3 before getting his first win at Utah State last Saturday against Sam Houston State.

NO REDSHIRT FOR WHITE: Many folks, even some close to the football program, were shocked when No. 32 was inserted into the lineup midway through the third quarter of Saturday night's game against Sam Houston State.

No. 32 is Emmett White, a highly touted running back from Ben Lomond High who was expected to redshirt this year. However, he ran the ball seven times and finished with 25 yards rushing.

Arslanian said Brown's recent unavailability had something to do with the decision.

"We need to make sure we have three good, healthy running backs, and right now he is the third one," he said. "With Demario not being ready last week, we just thought we have to get him some playing time and experience and let him play. We will find spots for him on special teams."