CEDAR FALLS — Toughness goes a long way in football. Northern Iowa senior offensive lineman Jackson Scott-Brown can attest.
The Council Bluffs St. Albert grad had a choice to make in the spring of his redshirt freshman season in 2016 — have surgery on a hernia or play through the pain and work toward a starting position.
“I decided I (was) just going to battle it out and I think that kind of showed the coaches my toughness and how willing I was to be able to participate,” Scott-Brown said. “Before spring ball, I really wasn’t probably an option or a thought of even being able to (start), but then I got an opportunity to play at tackle because Cal Twait had surgery that year on his ankle.”
Filling in for Twait and going up against former UNI All-American defensive end Karter Schult all while managing the pain of his hernia injury earned Scott-Brown an opportunity as a redshirt freshman. He started seven games at left guard that season and has followed it up with 26 consecutive starts.
“He’s played through injuries and he’s done a great job,” UNI offensive line coach Ryan Clanton said. “If you really think about what this program is and the way the O-line plays, he just resembles that in every way. Love his attention to detail. He’s basically like a coach on the field.”
Scott-Brown and the Panthers suffered a disappointing 29-17 loss at fourth-ranked Weber State last week when a 17-point first quarter deficit proved too much to overcome. Neither he nor Clanton are interested in anything but wins and losses, but a 4.5 yards per carry mark was a positive for a run game that has struggled.
“I think the run game, in my opinion, it was established last week,” Scott-Brown said. “Obviously we couldn’t run as much because we were down and behind the chains and whatnot, but we’re just going to have to deal with establishing it again this week.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Scott-Brown added that the continuity of personnel along the offensive line has begun to help the unit with its run-blocking the past couple games. Clanton’s new-school techniques have also begun to take with some of the Panthers’ younger linemen, too.
“I think other coaches have done a good job of teaching techniques and that, but (Clanton), that’s his thing,” Scott-Brown said. “In our meetings we watch a lot of NFL film because there’s numerous different pass-sets and run-blocking techniques that you would think the average (person) would know about but there’s a lot more than people really know.”
Clanton’s passion and love for the game is another element of his coaching personality that Scott-Brown appreciates. Those characteristics align with his reasoning for choosing UNI over North Dakota State, Western Illinois and others as a high school senior in 2015.
“The biggest thing for me was I could tell Coach (Mark) Farley was very genuine and he was a guy I really wanted to play (for),” Scott-Brown said. “What kind of brought me here was the genuineness and you know coming to UNI, it’s going to be a tough brand of football. I was really attracted to that idea.”