CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Chase Brown is well aware of his place in the Illinois football record books. The junior running back became just the 14th player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards last season, finishing the year with 1,005 yards. Now the Ontario, Canada native has an opportunity to further cement his place in Illini lore, only two other players have ever run for more than 1,000 yards twice in their career: Jim Grabowski and Robert Holcombe.
“I see a lot of stuff on Twitter, totally aware of what I did last year, it’s just something to build off of,” Brown said. “What I’m focused on right now is how we can go into the season as the best team possible. Cause I know as long as we play good football, complimentary football week in and week out, I’m going to get my yards, I’m going to get the touches but it’s all about getting wins.”
To help match or surpass his production, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound tailback is focusing on being patient in his approach. Picking his spots to attack defenses is something Brown has worked on during the offseason, as he tries to further develop his game as both a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield in new offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Junior’s system.
“When you get reps, you got to be mindful of the tempo that you have while you’re running the ball. Even when I met with Coach B, he was like, ‘Hey, you got to be patient. Like when you get the ball, you just want to go.’ And you know, he’s right. So, you know, I’m just trying to, you know, take as much information and feedback as I can.”
Illinois opens the season with a Week 0 game against Wyoming Saturday at 3 p.m. on Big Ten Network.