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Vols freshman Brown battles concussion

In his freshman season, Tennessee running back Bryce Brown has played well as a complementary component in a Volunteers’ offense that is led by starting running back Montario Hardesty.

But as Tennessee (7-5) prepares to play Virginia Tech (9-3) in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Thursday, Brown has been sidelined because of the effects of a recent concussion. Brown missed the Volunteers’ practice on Saturday and was supposed to undergo further testing on Sunday to determine his readiness.

Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin said sophomore Tauren Poole and freshman David Oku would likely split carries if Brown was not available to play in the game.

If Brown cannot play, it would take away an explosive option for the Volunteers. While Brown, the nation’s top-rated prospect last year, is not a focal point of its offense, he is the team’s second-leading rushing and a threat as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.

He ran for an average of 4.6 yards per carry and had three rushing touchdowns. He also showed his ability as a receiver in Tennessee’s loss at Florida on Sept. 19, when he had 60 yards on two catches. But he has not been a regular receiving target for the Volunteers.

“I think he’s a very explosive player,” Hokies free safety Kam Chancellor said of Brown, adding that he is “probably one of the best backs we’ll face this season.”

By Mark Viera  |  December 28, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
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