Don Brown: 'When he leaps, it's like, oh my God, he may kill me'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday March 16, 2017

Don Brown is always good for a quote, and he can’t wait to unleash defensive lineman Rashan Gary next fall.

Michigan is dead last nationally in returning starters in 2017, with just one on Brown’s defense, which was one of the nation’s best last year. But Gary, the former No. 1 overall recruit, should be a bright spot.

On Thursday, Jim Harbaugh tweeted some offseason testing results. The 6-foot-5, 287-pound Gary reportedly ran a 4.57 40-yard dash, vertical jumped 31 inches and broad-jumped 9-6. That 40 time was faster than any of the team's running backs.

Rashan Gary is a scary human being. That’s all I can say,” Brown said earlier this week on WTKA. “I run the mat drill and the four-point drill. They have to start in a football position, knees bent, ankles flex, and you call them out to the mat and they leap at you. He’s always in front of me, and I think he does it on purpose.

But when he leaps, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, he may kill me.’ He’s competing at an unbelievably high level. He’s got tremendous leadership skill for a young guy.”

Elsewhere on the line, Brown said Carlo Kemp is someone who has impressed in the winter, in part because of how he’s responded to Brown’s coaching.

“Last year at this point, I might have traded him for two footballs. Now we’ll keep him around, so we feel good about him,” Brown said. “He’s all business. He wanted to fight me this morning, which is fine. I love that. He’s competing at a high level.”

While there’s only one returning starter, Brown noted the entire defense had to learn his system last year. Now, there’s actually more experience in the system, if not on the field. As a result, nothing’s changing with scheme. Brown’s going to make sure his defense attacks, attacks, attacks.

"If you even approached our young corners and said, ‘Hey guys, you’re not capable of playing press or one of those types of scenarios,’ I think they’d fight you,” Brown said, per “I think they’d fight you in the alley and I think we have got really talented guys. (Defensive backs coaches) Mike Zordich and Brian Smith have a big challenge. We’ve got to get those young guys ready to play and no free access. 

“When the quarterback goes back to pass and looks out there and there is not an eight-yard cushion, life can be a lot tougher. I don’t know what it was, right around 140 yards a game last year. We’d like to think that we can just keep our foot on the gas and keep moving forward, playing Michigan defense and that’s really our thought going into spring. I’m confident that we’re going to be able to do that.”

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