Oklahoma lineman Orlando Brown Jr. a chip off the old block
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Years ago, a much smaller version of Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was called for a personal foul in a youth football game.
His dad, Orlando Sr. - all 6-foot-7 and well over 300 pounds of him -came rumbling down from the stands and onto the field. Not to complain to the officials. Not to chide his son.
Because he finally saw it.
The late Orlando Sr., nicknamed Zeus, started 119 NFL games as an offensive lineman, and he had long hoped the edge that could turn his son's enormous talent into something special would emerge. He used to leave his son's games when Jr. wasn't aggressive enough, but that day in eighth grade was critical in showing dad that young Orlando would have a chance to follow in his footsteps.
''I celebrated, and he never left the game since then,'' Orlando Jr. recalled.
Orlando Sr. died in 2011 at the age of 40, but his son has made a name for himself as a dominant left tackle. The 6-foot-8, 340-pound Orlando Jr., who has inherited the Zeus nickname, was named a second-team AP All-American after not allowing a sack all season for the seventh-ranked Sooners. He will try to keep that streak alive in the Sugar Bowl against No. 17 Auburn on Jan. 2.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley isn't sure his talented sophomore shouldn't have been higher than second team.
''We've watched tape on a lot of people this year,'' Riley said. ''I was glad he got second team, but I haven't seen five people that were better than him.''
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Brown is the total offensive lineman.
''Talent, size, his feet, his intensity, his toughness, his physicality,'' Stoops said. ''He has everything, and he's only going to get better. He just keeps developing his body and has all those attributes that make a guy special on the front line.''
From the nickname to the bandanna to the size, strength and intensity, Orlando Jr. is a copy of his father. Though the game has changed, Orlando Jr. can look at old film and recognize what was special about his father as he played from 1993 to 2005.
''I don't know if a lot of people have seen my dad play - he was a wild animal,'' the younger Brown said.
Orlando Jr., a soft-spoken, chilled out teddy bear off the field, sometimes goes overboard once the helmet and shoulder pads come on. He said he knows he needs to cut down on the personal fouls, but the edge fuels him.
''When I get out on that field, there ain't no guns, ain't no knives,'' he said. ''You can't take me to jail for acting crazy, so it's just what I do.''
Brown has announced that he will return for his junior season, giving the Sooners a massive foundation to build on. He never sent in paperwork to get a draft grade.
''You know, it's just understanding what they look for in the NFL, and basically what I'm good at, what I'm bad at, understanding I still have a lot to develop on and nowhere near what I need to be to be a first-round draft pick,'' he said. ''That's why I came here.''
Brown's relationship with Jammal Brown, a former Oklahoma All-American and friend of his father, has been crucial in his development. Jammal Brown was the one who helped Orlando Jr. realize he needed a little more fine tuning.
''What he says, goes,'' Brown said. ''I'll be an Oklahoma Sooner until I get a first-round grade. Until then, I'm here for however long it takes.''
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