HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Brown.
[divider]MORE: Compare Any Two FCS Players or Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
BROWN (2-8 IN 2017)
Ivy League (Brown was 8th in 2017)
COACH: Phil Estes – 21st year (114-85)
2017 OFFENSE: 13.0 ppg (118th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 30.1 ppg. (96th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: In many ways, 2018 will be a crossroads sort of year for the Brown Bears. Head coach Phil Estes appears to be making some schematic changes to how Brown will play football in the future, accompanied by parallel coaching moves. Kevin Decker, who was already on staff as a tight ends coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator, while Chris Zarkoskie was brought over from New Hampshire to head up the offensive line. Both Decker and Zarkoskie are former UNH players; the Bears seem to be heading in the Wildcats' direction, in terms of philosophy.
That alone would be a lot of change for one offseason, but Brown will also need to re-incorporate a sizable number of players who were injured in 2017, all while in the midst of a significant facilities redesign project.
All this is happening around a team that failed to win an Ivy League game in 2017 and hasn't gone over .500 since 2013. Some of that was injuries and bad luck, so we should see some regression to the mean. Even still, there are a lot of changes going on at Brown this year. That could mean the Bears are in for a tough transitional year; it could also jettison the program out of its 2017 funk and into that second tier of good, not-yet-great Ivy teams.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Estes' big moves reinvigorate the program and set it back on a path toward sustainable success. With the top of the Ivy looking very good this year, Brown's goals are perhaps less about conference titles and more about rediscovering a successful process with a new system and a new order of coaches. With plenty of talent on the roster and a handful of winnable games on the schedule, Brown needs to prove it can generate wins. If the program can make progress as a unit, win a few games and set itself up for title competition in 2019 and beyond, that's a huge win for the 2018 campaign.
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BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1[divider]
TOP RETURNEE: OL Christian Montano (Two-time All-Ivy selection)
THE NEXT FIVE: DL Michael Hoecht (45 tackles, 10 TFLs in 2017); WR Jakob Prall (All-Ivy HM – 51 catches, 587 yards); LB Daniel Aidman (45 tackles, 5.5 TFLs in 2017); AP LJ Harriott (Athlete who has played QB, RB or WR); TE Anton Casey (two-year contributor).
TOP NEWCOMER: Paxton Alexander (First-Team All-State Texas High School Runningback)
DID YOU KNOW?: Brown's primary campus in Providence's College Hill neighborhood is a federally recognized architectural district with plenty of authentic Colonial-Era buildings.
THE QUOTE: "Chris was an outstanding player at UNH, who became a great coach and asset for them… Chris and Kevin will implement the offense that they played at UNH and bring that success to our offense at Brown." -Brown coach Phil Estes on new roles for offensive coordinator Kevin Decker and offensive line coach Chris Zarkoskie
Congratulations to James Develin ‘10, who signed a two-year extension with the New England Patriots. The two-time Super Bowl Champion plays fullback for the Pats, and was named to the 2017 Pro Bowl. Congrats! @Patriots @BrownAthletics @BrownUFootball pic.twitter.com/dfom9rO6hX
— Brown Alumni Magazine (@BrownAlumniMag) June 21, 2018
MEET THE NEW NEIGHBOR: How does Idaho's return to FCS impact the Vandals?