As Oregon’s season progresses, Pharaoh Brown continues to ‘grow up’
Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown realized he made a mistake immediately.
Seconds after a 66-yard reception in the beginning of the 2nd quarter that highlighted his speed as well as his power, Brown — entrapped by the high emotion of a big play — spiked the ball to the ground. He tried to retrieve the ball before anyone noticed but he was too late. Brown was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Ducks offense was charged 15-yards.
That’s kind of been the way this season as gone for the junior tight end from Lyndhurst, Ohio. He’s had flashes of unparalleled talent followed by a hiccup in discipline. It happened last week against UCLA when Brown caught a 4-yard pass for an Oregon first down. He followed that with a face-to-face altercation with bruins linebacker Myles Jack that resulted in a personal foul.
“That kid is a talented guy, phenomenally talented player and when he gets it all together, it’s really good,” head coach Mark Helfrich said after No. 9 Oregon’s 45-20 win over Washington. “Do we want a 15-yard penalty? Absolutely not. But we like the 66-yard gain before that and we’ll coach both ends of it.”
Brown had a career-high 99 yards receiving on three catches against the Huskies.
It’s been gradual, but Brown has been growing up. Like any young person, he’s learned from his mistakes.
“When you get those you just have to learn from them,” Brown said. “We’re all young twenty year old kids—young adults I should say. You just have to learn from stuff like that.”
Since last December, Brown’s name has been sewed together with the visions of a retired Oregon professor being covered in snow. He was suspended for the Alamo Bowl. He learned from that experience and he’s impressed his teammates with his ability to bounce back from his mistakes.
“It’s coming along with Pharaoh,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “You know, he’s learning as he goes and obviously coach Helfrich and the rest of the coaches have done a great job of keeping him disciplined, helping him understand that everything he does, he has a responsibility for and he’s been learning from his mistakes and he’s going to be a big part of what we do this year. We have to count on him.”
Running back Byron Marshall noted that Brown’s spike was obviously a mistake, but it wasn’t intentional.
“It may have been an unsportsmanlike conduct but it’s nothing you go back and scratch your head like, ‘why is this kid doing this’?” Marshall said. “Everyone on this team is growing up and Pharaoh is definitely one of them. He understands it, now it’s just a matter working hard and making plays and hopefully the side stuff can stay side stuff.”
Oregon wide receiver Dwayne Stanford added, “I don’t think it was anything intentional, where he—you know—was being a bonehead. I think that was just spur of the moment excitement. It’ll probably never happen again.”
So, the next time Brown catches the ball, he knows exactly what to do when the play concludes.
“(I’ll) pick the ball up and hand it to the referee.”
Follow Joseph Hoyt on Twitter @JoeJHoyt