(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Michigan running back Carlos Brown stepped into the starting line up for an injured Mike Hart in Champaign, Ill., last weekend. After rushing for 113 yards on 25 carries, Brown met with the media to talk about the big day in his first collegiate start.
ANN ARBOR -- When running back Mike Hart limped off the field against Purdue late in the first half, Michigan fans across the nation cringed. Despite guarantees by teammates that Hart would be back on the field against the Fighting Illini the following weekend, No. 20 finally emerged from the visiting tunnel in Champaign, Ill., in street clothes.
Enter Carlos Brown.
Limited with a hand injury the first few weeks of the season, Brown, a 6-foot, 210-pound speedster from Franklin, Ga., became the Wolverines starter at running back despite carrying the ball just 26 times in the Wolverines first seven games of the year.
Almost doubling that in his first start, Brown surpassed the 100-yard mark for the first time while helping the Wolverines past the Fighting Illini 27-17 in a hostile environment.
"I thought he went in, in a very high-pressure situation and performed extremely well. He's a very, very young back. A year ago, the only game I can remember him playing in was in the Indiana game," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
"He got a few snaps late in the game, late in the season because, as I mentioned, we tried to prepare him for some other things regarding our team a year ago at the quarterback position. Then this fall he did get an opportunity to play earlier. He had a broken hand. So when he couldn't secure the ball, it limited him being able to get more snaps."
Cast now removed, Brown plans on making the most of his impromptu opportunity. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the length of time that Hart will be sidelined, Brown, who ran for over 1,500 yards from the quarterback position his senior year in high school, is excited to be the Wolverines feature back.
"I feel a lot better now. I got a couple carries and I feel a whole lot better just about everything. I feel like a different person," Brown said.
"I was like, we practice everyday, so I'm just going to do what I do every day in practice, and everybody else, the offensive line is going to do a great job, the quarterback's going to do a great job and I'm going to do what I know. I'm going to do what I do every day in practice."
This week the Wolverines practice for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Sitting at 1-7 on the season, the Gophers look to salvage their season by winning back the Little Brown Jug in Ann Arbor for the second straight game at Michigan Stadium.
Brown, who plans on preparing as if he'll start for the Wolverines, is excited for the challenge.
"I'm glad I got a chance to do it. I'm ready for the next one (opportunity)."