"Well, the house burned down," she said.
A fire that had started in a neighbor's yard had spread to the Brinsfields' house, consuming it in minutes. "Nobody was home at the time," Brian says, "but had it happened when my parents were asleep, they wouldn't have survived."
The following evening Brinsfield's parents were two of the people lining Tiger Walk, the path from the athletic dorm to Jordan-Hare Stadium that Brian and his teammates march along in an Auburn ritual before home games. "I'll never forget my dad's face," says Brian, who broke down in tears upon spotting his family. "One day after he'd lost almost everything he'd worked his whole life for, he's cheering me on. He even joked that he wished our old boat, which we want to replace, had been closer to the house."
Small wonder that such harrowing experiences as the Tigers' 30-26 win over Louisiana State, in which Auburn came back from a 23-9 fourth-quarter deficit, haven't fazed Brinsfield, who has not misfired a snap in three seasons. "There's a Biblical verse that reads, 'Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance,' " says Brinsfield. "I might as well change my name to perseverance."