Tony Brown fills the void for CU Buffs with Juwann Winfree sidelined

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado receiver Tony Brown tries to escape a tackle on Saturday against New Hampshire at Folsom Field.

Tony Brown always remained confident he eventually would enjoy the sort of productive days like the one he turned in Saturday. It just took a little longer to get there than he originally planned.

Stepping into a bigger role with fellow receiver Juwann Winfree sidelined due to an ankle injury, Brown was one of several bright spots for the Colorado Buffaloes’ offense on Saturday, as he enjoyed his most meaningful amount of playing time since transferring from Texas Tech during the Buffs’ 45-14 drubbing of New Hampshire Saturday at Folsom Field.

“It felt pretty good. It was a big-time thing for me to step in and do what I had to do,” Brown said. “Just being out there, it’s an amazing feeling. Sitting out (last year) was rough, but it got me thinking and it gave me time to work on my craft. It came so fast and the season is already here. Getting in with the ‘Black Out Boys’ I feel pretty comfortable with Darrin Chiaverini here. Everything pretty much worked out.”

Chiaverini, CU’s receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator, originally recruited Brown at Texas Tech. When Chiaverini moved to his alma mater in Boulder, Brown soon followed, ultimately sitting out the 2017 season per NCAA transfer rules after recording 27 catches for 378 yards over two seasons with the Red Raiders.

Chiaverini lauded Brown’s play during preseason training camp while Winfree dealt with a hamstring issue, but through the first two games the 6-foot-1 Brown contributed just three catches for 22 yards. The bulk of that damage did come on a critical 17-yard grab on third down by Brown during CU’s winning touchdown drive last week at Nebraska.

With Winfree sidelined, Brown more than filled the void against New Hampshire, finishing with five catches for 80 yards. The five receptions matched Brown’s career-high, which he reached twice at Texas Tech, and his 80 yards trailed only the career-best 117-yard effort he posted as a true freshman at Baylor in 2015.

Brown made a career-long 53-yard reception in the second quarter on Saturday, which set up a Kyle Evans touchdown run that gave the Buffs a 21-0 lead.

“Everybody has a role and everybody has been making plays,” Brown said. “We have a good two-three deep group of guys. We’re all making plays. It’s what we do. When one guy is out, the next guy steps in. We continue to make plays. We’re play-makers and it’s what we do.

“We haven’t done anything yet. Yes, we’ve won three games, but we still have a long road ahead. We’ve just got to keep on moving forward. Glad we got the win, but even though it’s a bye week next week there’s still another way to get better.”

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