Don Brown: 'Every time he has the ball, I can't breathe'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday December 28, 2016

Don Brown’s defenses had to face Jameis Winston while he was at Boston College. Now at Michigan, Dalvin Cook draws a similar amount of attention from Brown ahead of the Orange Bowl.

The Wolverines were No. 7 nationally in rushing defense at 3.1 yards per rush, while Cook averages 6 yards per rush. As he prepares for Florida State again, the always-quotable Brown described his thoughts on the FSU offense.

“I'm one of those guys, I'm not afraid to pressure anybody. I mean, that's just the way I am,” he said. “But you've got to be smart about how you go about doing it, and so all those things go into making up a game plan. But let me tell you something: Every time 4 has his hands on the ball, I can't breathe. I'm 61 years old, and I just (hyperventilate), and then we get him on the ground and you move on to the next play and start breathing again.

“He's a very, very good player. I would say if he's not the best, he's one of the top three players that we've played against, will have played against all year, and I have great respect for his toughness, as well.”

The Wolverines are No. 2 nationally in tackles for loss per game, because of that pressure. Every player in the starting-11 on defense earned at least All-Big Ten honorable mention. But what about an offense full of fast players like FSU?

Whether it’s on the ground or through the air, Brown defended his defense against any notion a Big Ten team will be slow compared to the Floridians on the Seminoles roster.

“Every throw you make, you're going to have to earn it, because we're going to play the game right here with those guys,” Brown said. “Don't think we're some slow Midwest team that's coming in here to play now. Our guys can play. We'll play with tremendous technique and fundamentals. Our front four is playing at a high level, and our linebackers, led by Jabrill Peppers and Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray, we've been able to piece that together so that those guys complement the front and back end.

“Our guys have been in the soup a little bit and know how to play.”

The Wolverines and Seminoles will kick off at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to