Newcomer looking for role as UIW holds spring practice

February 16, 2019

As Ra’Quanne Dickens was leaving Highland (Kansas) Community College for UIW after the 2016 season, Kevin Brown was getting set to enter the program. Brown said he and Dickens became fast friends, “joking and clowning every day.”

Two years later, as Dickens leaves UIW after setting the program’s single-season records for rushing yards (1,117) and touchdowns (14) in 2018, Brown is again ready to step in.

Brown is listed at 5-11 and 205 pounds; Dickens checked in last season at 5-10, 195. Brown said he and Dickens are similar players, with one key difference.

“I’m faster than him,” Brown said.

As a reminder, Brown wears cleats patterned like cheetah fur. Dickens told him UIW would be a strong fit, and Brown is on campus with the Cardinals, hoping to use the spring practice season to find a place in the offense alongside returning back Ameer King.

“He has a different speed than anyone on our team,” UIW coach Eric Morris said. “Faster than Ra’Quanne. Faster than Ameer. He’ll add that home run threat to our offense, like Ra’Quanne was, if he can get in there and learn the playbook.”

UIW opened its spring season Monday and will hold practices through March 7, including a spring game March 2.

Morris and his staff started getting Brown up to speed on the system and terminology from his first day on campus. Morris said Brown has made a couple of mistakes during the first few sessions, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After the Cardinals’ second spring session, Brown said things were starting to slow. He said the most difficult part is mastering the signals and concepts — a process he has been addressing on his own with extra study outside of a team setting.

“It’s moving fast for him,” Morris said. “The play calls, and where he needs to go with the rapid pace that we like to play on offense. I think that it’s always an adjustment for those kids that first get here. Which is why it’s so key that we got him in this spring, so he can go through this spring practice and have the summer to continue learning the playbook. Through fall camp, we’ll be just perfecting his craft.”