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Brothers in arms. The screw, cross of Jerome Brown and Reggie White

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Published on Oct 09, 2016

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For a player of the southeastern United States for fourteen years, so many dreams and beautiful hopes, be able to attend a camp of a university team known as the Tennessee Volunteers have all the connotations of the dream.

See how to train adults, to understand and to copy their techniques, to stay in contact with coaches and players adults is a experience of those that remain attached to the skin. Then maybe it happens that that boy big and chunky, yes, he's a defensive tackle as the fourteen-year-old, to take him with him for a chat, to explain a technique, as it passes between a center and a guard, as you spring a blocker in time for a nice tackle.

Well, then the camp ends, there is a greeting, and perhaps an address for correspondence (this is in 1979), perhaps a telephone, a goodbye, if it happens. The fourteen-year-old thinks that what seems to be strong indeed, if the college puts you in the light maybe it has also paved the way towards the glory of the NFL. Maybe you remember him. Who knows.

Brooksville is a small town of Florida, county of Hernando. Not Miami, not Tampa, and even Jacksonville or Orlando. Twenty thousand souls in all. In 1988, this small town hosted a scene that may seem like a quote of the Blues Brothers, when our heroes, with their police cars scattered in the middle of a the event of the nazis of Illinois.

Already, because one fine day a delegation of the KKK decided to go there to exhibit their discutibilissime instances. The chronicles relate that at a certain point, it came in a pickup white, with the music at a volume beyond the threshold of bearable. Went down to a single person, who calmly performed a sign that says “Go away KKK”, and passing among the crowd and inviting everyone to stay quiet.

The demonstration ended spontaneously without further disorder. Not for the particular threat posed by the vehicle, although the music had been of fortunately, problematic exposure, neither for the trivial metric of the cartel. Just for a sudden attack of good sense of the lords of the hooded people had understood that those who held that stock manuscript was a twenty three year old is already quite well-known in the city.

It was called Jerome Brown, and was the guy who, at fourteen years of age he went to assist at the camp of the Volunteers. For completeness of information, the young defensive tackle with whom he had fraternized in the camp of 1979, responded to the name of Reggie White.

Jerome Brown, “Go away KKK”

In 1979, after years of sports programs in low-level football, the university of Miami named a new head coach, in the name of Howard Schnellenberger. The new coach had a good reputation in Miami, especially at the level of the NFL, as it had been the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins the perfect season and again until 1978, he held the same role as a collaborator of Don Shula, after a quick stint as head coach of the Baltimore Colts.

The imprint of a head, so bulky as he saw that immediately. Schnellenberger imposed a new radical approach by the parties of Coral Gables until you get to the logo of the helmet. Via the M, too similar to the logo of the Dolphins, already colored neighbors. “We are The U”.

Also at the level of aptitude, it was a real year zero. The religion of the work of the new coach led the Hurricanes to victory at the Peach Bowl in 1981, but above all the historic victory of the Orange Bowl of 1984, against the strafavoriti Nebraska Cornhuskers, filled with the stars of the level of Mike Rozier, Irving Fryar, Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler. Led by Bernie Kosar, who succeeded as QB Jim Kelly, the Hurricanes stopped at the end of the meeting, a conversion from two points of the Cornhuskers and against all odds brought to Coral Gables first national title in the history of the college.

After the triumph, Schnellenberger left to try without too much success by the money of the LEAGUE, which at that time was seriously hurting the major league, bringing home talent such as Herschel Walker (New Jersey Generals) and a defensive tackle sensational, already highlighted as a volunteer to the training camp of his team, that he took the opportunity to stay and play close to home by accepting the offer from the Memphis Showboats. We speak of course of Reggie White.

Reggie White with the Memphis Showboats in 1985

But the work done by Schnellenberger with the Hurricanes had lit the spark. And as a style of game that as an attitude, never a team in the NCAA has been so similar to one of the NFL. His place was then inherited by a young coach from Oklahoma State Jimmy Johnson.

Johnson proved to be a coach that cared only for the substance, which in football is clearly the results in the field. But giving free rein to the genuineness of her boys, the majority coming from areas that are not exactly quiet in the area, Johnson made it clear well the terms of the comparison of the previous with the NFL team: that group of college students were in all and for all a faithful reproduction of the Oakland Raiders of John Madden, and this attitude was not particularly well seen at the level of college football.

The team in the field was, to say the least padded of talents, people who would later written pages of the history of the NFL such as Michael Irvin, Vinny An, Brett Perriman, Bennie Blades, Jeff Feagles. Also good if you are not lucky in the pro the two runner Melvin Bratton and Alonzo Highsmith. An attack that he lived with the big play and a defending monstrous, anchored in the centre by the talented unreal of defensive tackle Jerome Brown.

Parade of champions of the Hurricanes, 1986. Jerome Brown ace of hearts

Brown was the recognized leader of a defense that embodied in full the adjective self-explanatory the villain.
Projecting, in the field and in the behavior. Were slaughtered by the opponent destroying systematically the games in the backfield, and ten seconds later, he was still a first down automatic for unsportsmanlike behavior almost guaranteed. Do the gesture of the tagliagola or attempt to plant the QB's opponent in the field as a beach umbrella was not well seen by the referees.

Also in the stands, the situation was not different. Seemed to participate in an episode of the legendary Miami Vice, in a world that instead of delighting in bands with drums and brass instruments, and with the academic discipline “Student body left, student body right” that could be, say, Notre Dame or Penn State.

The most famous episode, the almost legendary was that of the dinner before the Fiesta Bowl 1986, when, due to some comments a little’ affected by the players of the Nittany Lions on the legendary hairdo of Jimmy Johnson, Jerome Brown and some of his teammates on defense came in leather jackets and camouflage. Brown took the microphone and said that before Pearl Harbour the japanese had some dinner with the americans and fled the scene with all the team mates, the substance causing the whole nation to cheer against them.

Jerome Brown before the final against Penn State (1986)

Despite the dominance of the Hurricanes in all phases of the game, the final one on the field went down in the history of the night from a nightmare of Vinny An threw five interceptions. Penn State won 14-10 and took home the national title.

Apart from the results, however, are enviable on the field, the Hurricanes were eyes closed, the team most hated in the entire NCAA, and probably fought against the Miami Dolphins, the scepter of the city, though these were in the heyday of Dan Marino.

Jerome Brown, however, seemed predestined. Despite a character not really malleable and a couple of children already brought into the world with different women, in the field, it was simply the defensive tackle most dominant ever seen in that decade, perhaps including Reggie White

After the triumphs obtained in Chicago with the legendary 46 defense, Buddy Ryan accepted the offer of the Philadelphia Eagles, and by 1986, he became their head coach. For a genius defensive as him, to be in the house a player like Reggie White, who in the meantime had abandoned the minor league, it was a real wedding invitation. But the defense had talent everywhere, not only was Reggie White.

There were Clyde Symmons, Seth Joyner, Roynell Young, Andre Waters. You would then also added Wes Hopkins, Eric Allen. Ugly customers for everyone. White was so fast for his structure that could be deployed indiscriminately as a tackle or end with the same devastating results.

Says Phil Simms in 1986, fresh sample of the NFL, Bill Parcells called him in his office where they held the following exchange...

– Phil, your life is about to change
– Coach " I don't understand
– The Eagles will choose Jerome Brown
– Coach, but this is so strong?
– You

The prophecy of Bill Parcells was fairly obvious. Trasponendola today, have White and Brown in the same line would mean you have together with JJ Watt and Ndamukong Suh. The front four in the green jersey began to dominate systematically every opponent. Loads of talent and blessed by the genius for the defence of his coach, the defense was a headache guaranteed for every opposing coach.

Doubling on White? Brown turned and nailed the runner to the ground in the backfield five or six yards back.

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