Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
After making a little history in his first game as a freshman this season, Tennessee’s Bryce Brown has been pretty quiet in the running game ever since.
He rushed for 104 yards on 11 carries in the season-opening 63-7 win over Western Kentucky, but hasn’t had more than 56 yards in a game since and is averaging just 3.6 yards a carry in his last four games.
In the 26-22 loss to Auburn last week, he got just three carries for 14 yards, fueling speculation that he might be battling some injuries.
But Brown said it’s all part of getting acclimated to playing in the SEC, playing through the bumps and bruises.
“It takes some getting used to (playing through the pain), but I think it’s more mental than physical,” said Brown, one of the top-rated running back prospects in the country last year.
While Brown hasn’t been a huge factor in the running game the last few weeks, he has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and has eight catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. He’s averaging 13.5 yards per catch, which is second on the team.
Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said Brown’s lack of carries last week were just circumstantial.
“He’s going to be a great player here eventually, and we’ll continue to push him to be that,” Kiffin said.