MIAMI, Fla. – While all eyes have been on the quarterbacks facing off in the Orange Bowl, a Sooner fan favorite may quietly be making a comeback.
Marquise Brown, one of OU’s top receivers, has been listed as ‘questionable’ for the Orange Bowl after he was forced to leave the Big 12 Championship game with a leg injury.
Even though Brown was spotted practicing with the Sooners earlier this week, OU coaches and players are staying tight lipped about his condition.
“Well, we’ll see. We’ll see. Those things are what they are. He’s battling, so we’ll see where he’s at Saturday,” said OU head coach Lincoln Riley.
There isn’t any doubt that Brown wants to play in the Orange Bowl. Not only is it a chance for the Sooners to go to the National Championship game, but the bowl is also near his hometown.
Brown, who is also affectionately known as ‘Hollywood,’ grew up in Hollywood, Florida, which is about 40 minutes from Miami.
“Yeah, he’s certainly excited to be here. We’ve got a couple of guys from the South Florida area that are certainly happy. We don’t play a ton of games over here, and so to be back home for them is great. But he’s been in big games, kind of like the team, I think he’s ready to handle it,” Riley said.
Prior to his injury, Brown was a staple on the Sooner offense.
The junior wide receiver has recorded 75 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He’s averaging 17.6 yards a catch.
“Oh, he’s meant a ton. I mean, his growth has been as much as anybody I can remember in such a short amount of time. I mean, keep in mind, last year even about halfway throughout the season, he was a reserve for us. He was a two. Really took off the second half of last year, has gained confidence. He’s continued to practice hard, practice fast, plays that
way. Been very coachable, and he’s just continued to get better and better. He’s been one of the more explosive players in the country now for about a year and a half, and it’s been a huge part of our offense,” said Riley.
While speaking with reporters earlier this week, Brown said that he is working hard to make sure he can take the field on Saturday.
“I’m anticipating to play and I’m going to try my best to be out there,” Brown said.
When asked how the game in Florida may be affecting Brown's rehabilitation, Riley says his wide receiver has been trying to heal as quickly as possible for whatever the future might hold for the Sooners.
"I don't know if it's added anything extra. I mean, he was going to rehab and push as hard as he could anyway to be in this game, whether it was played here or on the moon. I mean, it's -- I think he's excited about playing at
home, but I don't know that it's had a big factor on his rehab or his approach to it. I think he's motivated for this team and wants to help us win a championship," Riley said.