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One-on-one coverage: UConn RB Donald Brown

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Donald Brown leads the nation in rushing, and his average of 167.7 yards per game is 20 yards more than his closest competitor, Michigan State's Javon Ringer.

Brown has exceeded the 100-yard mark in every game this season and is on pace to go over 2,000 yards for the season. But can the Connecticut star handle our one-on-one coverage?
What's the mood of the team like after the Rutgers loss?

Donald Brown: The mood is pretty high, to be honest with you. We put the Rutgers game behind us and we realized the mistakes we made and we just can't make them again. We're excited to go out there and play this weekend [against Cincinnati].

How big is this next game, since you already have one conference loss?

DB: When you're talking about conference play, every game's critical. We're trying to be Big East champs, so every week's important from here on out.

You've played three straight road games. How much will it help getting back home, where you've won 10 straight?

DB: It's definitely going to help us out, to have the crowd be on our side this time. It's homecoming weekend so there's going to be a nice turnout. But the last time we lost at home was to Cincinnati, so we've got our work cut out for us.

What are your thoughts on the Cincinnati defense?

DB: They don't do anything flashy or special, but they're very good at what they do. They're very physical.

Rutgers shut you down in the second half, which we haven't seen this season. What were they doing that was so effective?

DB: They were doing a good job slowing down the run, and our field position didn't help any. We were backed up inside our own 5 three series in a row, and that's every defense's dream. But we made it easy for them and they took advantage of the situation.

You're having a phenomenal season and have even been mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate. What's that like hearing your name talked about like that?

DB: To be honest, as long as we keep winning, that's all I care about. We let the last two games slip away, and hopefully the outcome will be different Saturday. You know, the offensive line has been making it easy for me, making my job a lot easier. [The attention] is great, but you've just got to worry about one week at a time and stay focused and that stuff will take care of itself. I'm not worried about any of that stuff.

You're averaging more than 29 carries a game through seven games. Is your body beat up?

DB: You know, coach [Randy] Edsall has been taking care of us, and we prepared hard in the offseason for the rigors of the season. It dates back to January 1 of this year. You've got to be ready for anything. You just try to be in the best shape you can be in. That's the best way to deal with all it.

You're known as a conditioning and nutrition nut. How did that get started?

DB: I got interested in it early in my junior year of high school. I knew I wanted to play Division I college ball, so I knew I would have to get serious in that way. I just have a knack for that kind of stuff.

And you're majoring in exercise science. What kind of classes are you taking?

DB: You know, all your sciences. Right now I'm taking sports biomechanics and human physiology, just studying the way the body works and things along those lines.

Besides playing professionally, what would you like to do with your education?

DB: I'd like to be a college strength and conditioning coach eventually, somewhere in that field. I'd like to train elite athletes.

Randy Edsall comes off as kind of a serious guy in his press conferences. What's he like with you guys?

DB: Off the field, he's a laid-back guy, a real class act. But on the field he means business, like any other coach. He's a great guy to be around, and he'll treat you straight, that's for sure. He won't beat around the bush. He tells you how it is, and he respects you as a person, not just as a player.

What's on your iPod right now?

DB: Probably some Bruce Springsteen, the last time I played it. I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan. He's from right down the road from where I grew up [Atlantic Highlands, N.J.]