10" 0f 92
Cornflakes and Fire
Co-captain Brown's. enthusiasm drives 'M' defense
Bettis takes the handofffrom Mirer
at the 48 ... Big holekup the middle!...
He's at the 40, avoids two tacklers, one
man to beat and... Wow! What a hit
he just took from Cowin Brown !...
The ball is loose, and it looks like
Michigan has recovered! ... And Bettis
is slow getting up ...
Remember that play? Well, it
never happened. Corwin just
imagined it. And now he's hitting
his mental rewind button to watch
it again. And again.
Ask him, and Brown may
imagine a completely different
play for you, albeit one with a
similar outcome. Mirer rifles a pass
over the middle to Lake Dawson.
Dawson jumps, reaches. Out of
nowhere, Brown comes up and
flattens him, the ball scuttles away,
and Michigan's No. 20 stands over
the motionless receiver glaring.
Welcome to my neighborhood.
Hope you enjoyed your stay.
After all, it is his film. Why
should Bettis, Notre Dame's tank
of a running back, get the glory
and the touchdown? Why should
Rick Mirer, the Golden Boy, be
This is Corwin's film, Corwin's
stadium. Call it the Cornflakes
Bowl, a place where he and his
Michigan teammates are
invincible. A place where
Michigan's senior free safety
travels to before each and every
The Saturday warriors dress
methodically in the Michigan
lockerroom before a big game
which, in an 11-game season at a
major college football powerhouse,
is every game.
The players follow a routine, to
each his own. Certain
superstitions, unconscious habits.
The tape, the pads, the jersey,
then the tears. The tears?
"I don't know what it is,"
Brown says. "It's something that I
live by. I'm an emotional person
anyway. But what'll happen before
the game is I'll get real intense and
I'll think about what I have to do
And then he'll scream and yell
and cry real tears of emotional
anticipation. All before the team
takes the field.
"You know, it's just a way of me
expressing myself and showing a
little bit of excitement," he says.
"Some people just sit down and
they meditate. I just express
myself in a little bit different way."
Which is fine by senior tackle
Chris Hutchinson, who was
defense and they all had
"Everybody always called me
Corn, they couldn't pronounce
Corwin, for nothin'. That's how it
is in the city, with slang and stuff.
This guy, Lou, he was like, 'Well,
you know, you're small. You look
like just a little flake, anyway, so
were gonna call you 'Cornflakes."'
And thus, the strange nickname
was born. Cornflakes, who is now
usually just called 'Flakes, opted to
lift weights instead of play
basketball in high school. He now
stands at 6-foot-2, 193 pounds,
hardly a little flake anymore.
Just ask some of the recievers in
the Big Ten. Or even those on his
own team. Brown has established
himself as one of the most
punishing hitters in the college
"He's gotten me in the rib cage
a few times," says Wolverine tight
end Tony McGee,.holding his
right side and laughing. "He
thrives on (his reputation). If he
gets a big hit in the first quarter,
he'll probably get 20."
But Brown says he remembers
when other teams weren't afraid of
the Michigan secondary.
"When I was a sophomore., the.
secondary received a lot of flack for
being sort of soft. I wasn't playing
back then, but I took it real
personally. I said, 'When I get the
chance, no one's gonna say that
about me when I'm back there.' So
that's what I'm trying to do.
"I don't really try to just hit
people hard. What I try to do is,
every time I get a chance to lay a
lick on a receiver -especially if
Bettis. I may think about Bettis
poppin' through the line, and he's
corralled, and I can just come up as
hard as I can and hit him. And
maybe he'll fumble the ball or I'll
knock him down hard and I can
just get up and look at him and
maybe put a little fear into him.
Something like that."
T I S-
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Something like that ... it
doesn't always happen. And that
fact - that great things and big
plays didn't always happen for the
Michigan defense last season -
doesn't sit well with Corwin
Even now, as the Wolverines
start anew, embarking on another
season full of promise and
potential, there is still this painful
reality: Corwin Brown's game films
don't look much like the real Rose
Bowl game films that he and his
teammates and coaches have
watched over and over.
East Ann St.
'.. ', .
Corwin Brown will be called upon this season to be the emotional leader
of the Michigan defense.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: 11:00 AM-4
selected along with Brown as the
team's defensive captain for the
"I'm glad he's there,"
Hutchinson says. "I'm not an
emotional guy. He complements
me very well. I lead by example,
and he gets everyone jacked up
"I really like having him out
there because we work well
together. After a great play he flies
in screaming and yelling, pumping
up the guys."
"I don't do that much yelling,"
Brown cautions. He would prefer
not to be made out to be some
crazed lunatic, though that
mentality certainly fits the job
description for a defensive back.
"But when we start hittin' I
might let out a few screams," he
continues, adding with a smile:
"When we start hittin', that's
when I really start going."
Even in preseason drills,
Hutchinson says, citing an instance
last week during two-a-days.
"At practice the other day,
Corwin called the defense over in
between drills and told us, I'm
gonna get emotional now. I love all
"Before the games he gets all
worked up and cramped up,"
Hutchinson says. "He gets so
worked up and wound up that he
gets in a big ball. He cries and says,
'I love you guys.' It got funny
toward the end of the season."
It's funny, now, for Corwin
Brown to look back and
remember. No one ever could get
that skinny kid's name right.
Brown was in the 10th grade at
Julian High School in Chicago, and
all the other guys were seniors on,
'Every time I get a chance to lay a lick on a receiver -
especially if he's going to catch the ball in my area - I
want to let him know that I'm going to be there, or at least
that if he's going to catch the ball, he's going to have to
pay a price.
- Corwin Brawn
How You Like Pizza At Home.
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 11:00 AM-3:00 AM
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he's going to catch the ball in my
area - I want to let him know that .
I'm going to be there, or at least
that if he's going to catch the ball,
he's going to have to pay a price.'
All that gets envisioned in
Brown's pre-game ritual.
"I try to think about what I
have to do to make sure the team
plays well," Brown says, explaining
his mental preparation on
Saturdays. "As the safety, I have to
make a lot of checks and calls to
get everybody playing the right
"Then I'll think about myself
makinga big play. Take Jerome
"Actually, I've thought about it
all summer, I can't lie," Brown
said, as the frustrated thoughts and
memories of the 34-14 Washington
victory start to spill ou. "I've set
one of my goals - to get back out
to the Rose Bowl, to play
Washington. I mean, we could
have done a lot better ...
"I think 17 points, at best, is
what they should've scored. But I
think we'll go back out there, the
offense will get another shot at
them and we'll do a lot better this
While the Michigan offense
rang in the New Year by getting its
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