Will we see Brown and McCoy in '09?

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
My previous post detailed the enticing running back matchup between UConn's Donald Brown and Pittsburgh's LeSean "Shady" McCoy this Saturday. This could just be Round 2 of a three-round battle.

Brown, a fourth-year junior who's close to graduation, and McCoy, a sophomore who attended a prep school, could both declare for the NFL Draft after the season. McCoy announced last week that he intends to come back for his junior season, and he reiterated that on Wednesday.

"There are a lot of things I can improve on and I don't think I've done enough here at this level," he said. "Pitt is kind of getting that tradition back here, and the team we have coming back next year is a good team. Plus, I just love school. I love it here."

I asked McCoy if he might change his mind if he were projected as a first-round NFL pick in January.

"Nope, not at all," he said. "Because, God willing, that will be there next year, and hopefully be even better."

Brown's status isn't as clear cut. When asked about his intentions this week, he said, "I'm not worried about that right now. I'm only worried about our last regular-season game."

Earlier this week, UConn coach Randy Edsall said he'd sit down with Brown at the end of the season and talk about his future.

"We've already talked a little bit about it," Edsall said. "I don't think Donald's looking to leave or anything like that, but the opportunity is there and I think as a coach you should explore those opportunities."

Edsall compared the situation to last year with cornerback Darius Butler, who ultimately decided to come back for his senior year. Butler hurt his knee in the West Virginia game but was having an outstanding season before that and had been projected as high as the first round. Brown is an ultimate team guy, so it would come as no surprise if he came back. Then again, running backs have short pro careers and he's had a heavy workload this season at UConn, so he has to decide what's best for him.

If both Brown and McCoy are back, that could set up a fantastic running back rivalry for next season. And in case you're wondering, the two played against each other last season. McCoy had 11 carries for 70 yards and a score, while Brown went for 53 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown as UConn won 34-14.