Jonathan Brown Q&A
When he signed with Illinois, Jonathan Brown hoped to make an impact as a freshman. He did that and more against Indiana, returning an interception 66 yards for his first touchdown. With an older crowd at linebacker, his playing time figures to increase in coming seasons.
Q: How many times have you watched your interception return?
A: Once or twice. Not too many times. I try not to watch it too many times because I don't want to get cocky.
Q: Did you think you were close to stepping out of bounds?
A: It didn't feel like I was close to stepping out of bounds at all. I wasn't thinking. I didn't think he was going to catch me. The running back skills paid off, I guess.
Q: You couldn't let the quarterback tackle you, right?
A: No, I could not do that or I'd be hearing about that until I graduate. At first, I didn't think he was that close. But then when I pointed at him, he kind of got mad a little bit and he sped up.
Q: Who have you heard from since the touchdown?
A: Pretty much all of my friends. My little brother (11-year-old Cameron) told me it took my jersey number (45) to get into the end zone. Forty-five seconds.
Q: When was your last touchdown before the Indiana game?
A: My last game in high school. It was a routine touchdown. The first game of my senior year, I had an 80-yard interception return, but it got called back.
Q: Do you think you will score another touchdown in your career?
A: I hope so.
Q: Enough with the glory questions. Let's talk penalties. Did you block in the back?
A: The referee saw it as a block in the back, so it was a block in the back. I haven't watched it yet.
Q: What did Ron Zook say to you after the first penalty?
A: He asked me if I thought it was a penalty. I said, "Yeah, I did the first one." He trusts your word over the referees, so you've got to be honest with him. Then he said, "No more mistakes."
Q: How about after the second?
A: That was an interesting one. I came over and told him, "That was not a block in the back." He said, "We'll see on film."
Q: Do you think blocking in the back should be legalized?
A: No. Not at all. It's a dangerous thing to do.
Q: What if Troy Pollard had scored touchdowns on those kick returns?
A: I would have felt really bad. It's something we don't have to worry about, fortunately.
Q: Are there team punishments for being flagged?
A: You may have some up-downs.
Q: Other than your family, what do you miss most about Memphis?
A: The cooking. All of the food down there: chicken, fried green tomatoes, candied yams. I haven't had that yet here. I'm missing the food.
Q: Did you spend much time on Beale Street?
A: Not really. Of course, you go on Beale Street once in a while. It's a special place.
Q: How many times have you been to Graceland?
A: I've never been to Graceland. Every time I tell somebody that, they're like "What?" They look at me like something's wrong.
Q: True or false: Elvis is the greatest singer ever?
A: I don't listen to Elvis, so I'll have to say false.
Q: Do you own a velvet Elvis painting?
A: Surprisingly, I do not.
Q: He's been dead a while. Does all of the adoration creep you out?
A: Yes. When you walk around during his birthday and you see 300 people dressed like him, that's kind of creepy.
Q: Growing up, what was your favorite Halloween costume?
A: Power Ranger. I always wanted to be a Power Ranger. To this day, I still want to be a Power Ranger. I was a Power Ranger multiple years. I was a white Power Ranger. I think one year I was even a yellow Power Ranger. Don't quote me on the yellow one. From age 4 to maybe 12. I'm actually planning on being a Power Ranger for Halloween.
Q: Favorite candy?
A: That's a tough one. I eat a lot of candy. I'm not a big chocolate fan. It would have to be Skittles or Starbursts.
Q: Are you a Grizzlies fan?
A: I am a Grizzlies fan.
Q: Why can't they win?
A: Honestly, I don't know. I feel like we're on the up and up. It's about to turn promising these next couple of years. I'm confident in the Grizzlies.
Q: Why did you pick Illinois?
A: I had a great feeling here. The people are great. It's a real family atmosphere. Everyone's close.
Q: Ever think about what life would be like at Mississippi or Arkansas?
A: No, because I'm really happy where I am right now. This is the place for me.
Q: Who are tougher, linebackers or tight ends?
A: Linebackers. We have to do a little bit of everything.
Q: Who are smarter, linebackers or running backs?
A: Linebackers. We have to know the whole defense and we have to know what the offense is doing. Running backs can be smart.
Q: Who does better with women, linebackers or defensive linemen?
A: I'll have to say the linebackers. We're obviously the best-looking group on the field.
Q: What do you think about Vic Koenning?
A: I love Coach Vic. He's been a father figure for everybody here. He's a great guy, and he's really smart when it comes to football. Coach Vic is a sharp guy.
Q: Are you able to understand him?
A: Being from the South, it's not really an accent.
Q: In a few questions, I'm going to ask you to tell me something people don't know about you. But first, tell me something people don't know about one of your teammates.
A: My roommate, Ernest Thomas, watches "The Bad Girls Club" 24-7. It's on Oxygen. That's all he watches. It got to the point where I was like, "C'mon, man." If I'm not breaking through now, there's nothing I can do. I go along with the flow. I'm starting to like it a little bit. It's just a bunch of crazy girls, stuck in a house.
Q: Who is your favorite female entertainer?
A: Gabrielle Union.
Q: OK, a night on the town with Gabrielle Union or another pick six in a win against Purdue?
A: That's an easy one. I'll have to take the pick six and the win against Purdue. That's a no-brainer.
Q: Tell me something people don't know about you.
A: I can cook. I'm a real good cook. I can't make it from scratch, but if you give me a recipe, I'll make it my own. In the summer, I used to cook all the time. Now I eat in the cafeteria.