PROVO — Terence Brown is one of those seniors that football coaches love to have around the squad.
He's smart, confident, physically capable at 6-foot-4, 318 pounds, and backs up his words down after down.
In the locker room, he's a sage, a man to have a word and be listened to; a solid leader.
Brown has been a starter since he came to Provo from Summerville, S.C. He plays center, a major role and position in the fray, a spot where an offense must have a fearless leader who knows what he's doing. His moxie has to bleed off to those around him, including the quarterback and all the running backs.
Brown is long in the tooth, in that he was recruited and signed by Gary Crowton, but has played all his eligibility under current coach Bronco Mendenhall. He has stripes and rank and has experienced 34 BYU wins. He's a clubhouse prophet. He has institutional knowledge. He understands the tradition, what is asked of players, and what it means to be a BYU football player as the school heads into independence in the game.
A Rimington Trophy candidate, Brown knows enough about football to respect great defenders in front him. He doesn't mind announcing to everyone who'll listen that the BYU defense he goes up against every day is "pretty danged good."
And, he is steeped deep in gratitude to have his job.
"I love it," Brown says of playing center. "It's a lot of responsibility to make calls up front. I feel like it tests me and I believe I do well under pressure. In anything you do, if you are being tested it brings the best out in you and that's when you succeed."
Brown knows the experience of four returning offensive starters is a huge plus for the Cougars. He sees it daily.
"It is just being confident, the way you walk around, the demeanor you have.
I think guys feed off of that. I think the team is doing a great job. It's not perfect, it's never going to be, but I think guys are battling and we have down days and up days but we've done a good job of limiting down days and bouncing back when we have down days."
Brown knows people are watching. With Outland Trophy candidate Matt Reynolds on his left, he understands the expectations and pressure to perform for both of them. Each lost 15 pounds to prepare for this, their senior campaign.
"I'm just going to play my hardest, grateful I'm on that (Remington) list but it doesn't affect how I go about my business day to day. I want to play hard and improve. As long as I'm improving, I'm happy."
Brown and Reynolds are four-year starters come Ole Miss. Having Braden Hansen and Braden Brown with a lot of games under their belts makes all the difference in the world.
"Many times we don't have to say anything, we just know by how a defense is lining up what needs to be done and with that experience it allows us to be as physical as possible. When you're young, it's tough; you worry about blocking the right guy, not messing up. We're not worrying about that now, just playing hard."
Brown says he loves the way BYU's squad battles every day and the tweaked offense under coordinator Brandon Doman is exciting to the players.
"It's a commitment to the run and a commitment to being balanced. There will be more motions. The QB is under center more often and we're throwing more from under center. I think it will be harder for defenses to stop us.
We'll line up and if we want to run it, we'll run it and if we want to pass or play action, we'll do it." Brown says he and sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps are "on the same page."
When Heaps audibles, "I know what he's doing. Jake is doing a great job.
He'll continue to grow and he'll be good."
His younger brother, Rhen Brown, has joined Dallin Cutler as smaller but very quick receivers in BYU's offense and daily this fall Brown has made impressive plays. Cut out of the mold of Cougar receivers of old, Terence said his brother has presented a "body of work" that shows consistency. "Hopefully the coaches can use him."
Brown praises BYU's defense, which has had many a day in camp where they've stymied the offense.
He praises BYU's front seven, extolling their strength, speed and ability to make plays. "And they're young."
Brown is optimistic about BYU's season — as any senior would be. Everyone wants to go out a winner.
"This team has worked their butts off, so have the coaches. There's kind of a swagger out there that we'll take. Hopefully we'll go down to Mississippi and win and start this season off right."
Brown: The center of attention, a senior you'd be a fool not to have in your corner.