In the midst of a whirlwind offseason under Jim Harbaugh's watch, Michigan's change at defensive coordinator has flown under the radar. Former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin is now the head coach at Maryland and, in his stead, Harbaugh snatched former Boston College DC Don Brown to captain the 2016 Wolverines on that side of the ball.
Brown has built a reputation as something of a "spread stopper" which certainly excites the Michigan faithful, but Big Ten Network analyst and former head coach Gerry DiNardo referred to Brown's scheme as "high-risk" that did not go over well with Brown.
Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press brings details from Brown:
"That's a bunch of baloney. High risk? No. We don't just throw stuff against the wall and say we're going to run this play. We're not doing that. We look at the formation, we look at the personnel groups. We lean to be on the aggressive side. Whether you're running or passing the ball, we're going to have the ability when we dictate, to come. That's what it's all about. I can assure you that every one of the calls we've made, we've done a thorough study. We'll at least have run it 100 times. So we're not throwing things against the wall."
Brown has turned lemons into lemonade at both Connecticut and Boston College in recent years, transforming defensive units without elite talent into some of the nation's best. At Michigan, he will be blessed with an extremely talented and deep defensive line, though Brown will have the task of slowing down spread running attacks, most famously with that of Ohio State.
The Buckeyes rushed for 369 yards while averaging 6.8 yards per attempt in the 2015 match-up in Ann Arbor, and that came on the heels of Michigan playing lights-out run defense prior to that game. The difference was that Ohio State's speed and spread attack are unique in Big Ten circles, and that appears to be a big reason that Brown was hired for the job.
Brown's ability to mold this group into the nation's best defense remains to be seen, but he is a calculated, informed architect on the defensive side of the ball, and you shouldn't refer to his scheme as "high risk".
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