CEDAR FALLS — At a position where making it through entire season unscathed is hard to do, Northern Iowa’s Jackson Scott-Brown has been a true ironman.
As a redshirt freshman in 2016, the Council Bluffs native made a pair of appearances as a rotational player for the Panthers before making his first career start at left guard on Oct. 8 at South Dakota.
Now a senior-to-be, Scott-Brown hasn’t missed a game since.
“I focus on nutrition and strength and conditioning stuff,” said the former St. Albert four-sport star. “Time management is key in being able to get in for extra treatment, extra stretching. It can’t be once a day, it’s got to be a couple of times a day, especially in season or spring ball because you can easily aggravate something if you don’t.
“That has been a key for my career so far.”
Barring injury, Scott-Brown will make his 34th consecutive start at left guard when UNI opens the season at Iowa State on Aug. 31.
“He has been durable. He has been consistent, and he has gotten better every year. He really is at the top of his game,” Panther head coach Mark Farley said.
Scott-Brown will be far and away the most experienced lineman for the Panthers in 2019. Mason Neisen, Spencer Brown, Matthew Vanderslice, Nick Ellis, Erik Sorensen, Trevor Penning and Colton Lueck have all either started or played previously, but don’t have nearly as much experience.
It may be one of those players lining up next to Scott-Brown with Cal Twait now gone.
“It will be pretty weird,” Scott-Brown said of not looking over and seeing Twait lined up next to him. “It will be a good experience for me, too. I want to continue to play after college so it will be good to play with different guys, to learn to play off different players.
“Cal and I did things differently than other people, and we were good at that. Myself and other players can also be good together, but we just have to re-learn things, I have to re-learn some things.”
Scott-Brown said one guy who has stood out has been Penning, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound, Clear Lake native. With Vanderslice out for the spring rehabbing an injury, Penning has gotten a ton of work at left tackle.
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“A guy who has stuck out to me is Trevor,” Scott-Brown said. “He came in as a freshman, probably was 260, 270, but has busted his butt and is probably 300, 310. He looks like a monster out there.
“I see him working into a starting role or a rotational role for us. He has really opened my eyes.”
Because UNI has had only six or seven healthy linemen for most of the spring with Neisen, Vanderslice, Brown and Sorensen (Wednesday) all out, Scott-Brown said the focus has been to find consistency and be dynamic with whomever is next to him on the line of scrimmage.
Scott-Brown also added that second-year offensive line coach Ryan Clanton has done a great job of inspiring his unit.
Clanton is the fourth offensive line coach for Scott-Brown. He was recruited by Rick Nelson, had Ben Barkema for two seasons and Mike Simmonds for one before Clanton.
“All have had been good at their own things,” Scott-Brown said. “His (Clanton’s) is his passion for the game. You can tell he literally lives to coach football. That is what we are trying to emulate as players, live up to that standard.
“We’ve changed the culture a little bit. It really started the year before, doing extra work in the off-season, turned that up a bit.”
Farley said that extra work has been noticed.
“I think he and Cal (Twait) led the charge there, pushed each other to be better, which pushed Spencer Brown to be better and he (Scott-Brown) has become a very good football player by that extra time put in,” Farley said.
PRACTICE UPDATE: Farley said UNI has had two productive practices this week with a different side of the ball winning the day.
“Monday, the offense did a nice job, probably their best practice of the spring,” he said. “(Wednesday) the defense had the better day, kind of made amends for what happened on Monday ... took some pride in improving.”