If you ask Anthony Brown what the term “leadership” means to him, the conversation very quickly becomes abstract.
Brown, the Oregon sixth-year senior and de facto QB1 doesn’t necessarily think of himself as the rah-rah guy in the Ducks locker room. He doesn’t see leadership as a concrete, hard, and fast concept, and he knows there is more than one way to lead.
What does it look like for him?
âTo be what the team needs me to be,â Brown said when asked to describe how he sees himself as a leader. âJust being a leader where I am needed. “
It may seem low-key – and even disappointing to those who would prefer their starting quarterback to fit the mold of Tom Brady or Philip Rivers.
But speak with those who work with Brown on a day-to-day basis and you’ll quickly discover just how integral he is to the Oregon locker room.
âBeing able to be under a guy like him is great because he has so much knowledge, so much experience,â said first-year quarterback Robby Ashford. âHe taught me so much.
It could have been very easy for the Oregon quarterback’s current situation to turn volatile in the offseason. A senior and veteran quarterback taking on three talented and promising freshmen?
In some programs, this could have been a recipe for disaster.
But on Oregon media day, young callers from the Ducks were excited to talk about what it meant to work side-by-side with Brown.
âIt’s a blessing to have him in the room,â freshman quarterback Ty Thompson said. “He’s a really good mentor to me and the other guys in this room.”
Brown’s take on leadership changed during his freshman year at Boston College when he tore his ACL in his right knee and saw his 2017 season end prematurely. It’s tough to order a locker room when you can’t be on the pitch, and as Brown rehabilitates his injured leg, he’s also considered the most effective way to get the best out of his teammates.
âI wasn’t necessarily able to be a leader by example,â Brown said. âSo it was just about being where I needed it. “
In that sense, he thought his actions would show more than his words. He wanted young Eagles players to see how hard he worked every day – even if it was something as simple as rehab or mobility drills – and strive to replicate that example.
He brought that mentality to Oregon and made a tangible impact on the Ducks quarterback room.
âI think Anthony Brown did a phenomenal job taking on the leadership role,â said offensive lineman Alex Forsyth. âHe just did a great job leading the offense and leading the quarterfinals. That’s what you need to have in a starting quarterback.
Thompson jokes that Brown, who recently turned 23, is “an old head” and an old soul. When he enrolled at Boston College in 2016, none of Oregon’s other quarters yet had a driver’s license.
“He’s been here forever … I try to pick his brain as much as possible, whether I make a mistake or ask questions for next time,” Thompson said. âIt’s a blessing to have as a mentor.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal is adamant that Brown will enter camp as the quarterback battle leader, but has indicated that Ashford, Butterfield and Thompson will all have the chance to compete for the departure station.
One of the reasons for the optimism surrounding Brown is the fact that after his transfer to Eugene he essentially had no prom, no summer training, and a moderate fall camp due to the pandemic. Even still, he quickly established himself as a highly respected player in the Oregon locker room.
Now that he’s had a full offseason, it’s believed there’s a lot more to come for Brown.
âAB did nothing but win these number one reps,â Ashford said. âIt is not even to discuss.
âEveryone is just sleeping on him. What I like to see, because we know how it is.