Don Brown: 'We're not doing that. It'll be over my dead body, OK?'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday September 21, 2016

Michigan’s defense has given up several big plays this season as they adjust to new defensive coordinator Don Brown. He’s put the mistakes on himself, but also says there’s no way the scheme is going to change.

UCF hit big plays on the ground. Colorado hit them in the air. The Wolverines have allowed seven plays longer than 30 yards, but they won both games big. Brown says he will not adapt his aggressive scheme to give a spread offense what it wants. He’s going to keep things multiple and work on his players’ fundamentals.

“These spread teams, what they want you to do is line up in one of two looks. That’s what they want. That’s exactly what I’m not going to do, OK? So let’s get that straight,” Brown said matter-of-factly. “We’re going to be extremely multiple, we’re going to stay on the aggressive side, and that’s how we’re going to go, and we’re going to learn it. Trust me, we’ve made significant improvement in that area. Let’s get that straight.

These guys want you to line up in quarters and a static front and kick your you-know-what. We’re not doing that. If it is, it’ll be over my dead body, OK? We’re going to stay aggressive, we’re going to stay focused, and we’re going to stay multiple. What it will turn into is (the QB looking to the sideline for a change). That’s where, who’s controlling the tempo now?”

Brown’s never one to hold back his emotions. It’s his Northeastern personality. He knows Michigan players are on their third defensive coordinator in three years and that it's hard.

But the scheme's not changing. His track record speaks for itself. He doesn’t want no-huddle teams to line up, see the look they want and go. He’s going to force them to think and adjust to him, not the other way around. And he means it.

Let me get it straight: I don’t play quarters. It’s not even in my repertoire,” he said. “The reason? Because everybody else does. So let everybody else do the same stuff. I’m not doing that. I’m just not.”

That aggressive style has its obvious benefits. The Wolverines are third in tackles for loss per game, at 10.3. Hybrid linebacker / offensive skill player / special teams returner Jabrill Peppers leads the nation with 3.1 TFLs per game.

Brown knows what he has in Peppers, and he’s not taking it for granted.

It’s almost criminal what we ask him to do,” Brown said. “He’s out playing press coverage on a No. 2 slot receiver. He’s in the blitz game. Then he’s playing static linebacker. We’ve got him all over the place, learning what we’re trying to do from a defensive perspective, and then he has other responsibilities other than defense.

“I think he leads the country in TFLs, leads our team in tackling. When he shows up, it’s usually in an ornery mood, and he’s explosive when he gets there. Those are good things.”

The Wolverines host Penn State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

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