Don Brown responds to 'high risk' notion: 'That's a bunch of baloney'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday August 22, 2016

The Big Ten Network described Don Brown’s defense as “high-risk, high-reward” on a recent trip to Ann Arbor, and Brown isn't having it.

On Monday, he was asked by reporters about that notion and quickly jumped in.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That’s a bunch of baloney,” Brown said. “High risk? No. We don’t just throw this stuff against the wall and take and go, ‘I’m going to run this play.’ Come on. We’re not doing that. We look at the formations. We look at the personnel groups.”

Brown’s defenses are very aggressive, and he admits as much. Last year, his Boston College D was No. 1 in TFLs (9.5 per game) and fourth in scoring D (15.3 ppg). But it’s not about “risk."

“Whether you’re running or passing, we’re going to have the ability, when we dictate, to come. That’s what it’s all about,” Brown said. “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. We’re not throwing things against the wall. It’s not that kind of a scenario.

“I guess some people say it because you’re playing man coverage, but guess what? That’s what (defensive backs coaches) Mike Zordich, Brian Smith, they’re accomplished teachers. If you call that high risk because we’re going to play you up, I don’t call that high risk. That’s just part of the deal.

“One thing we believe in is we deny free access. We’re not going to play 8-to-10 yards off and let you play that game all the time. You’ll see us play off, but we determine when we do that. We’re going to do it all, but I can assure I’m not just, ‘Oh, they’re going to run the zone read and we’re just going to throw this against the wall and see if it works.’ I’m too old for that.”

Asked if he’s seen the physicality he wants in the Wolverines, Brown scrunched his face like he was cringing. The message was clear.

Whew. There’s been some days out there. I stood behind the 9-on-7s, and it’s kind of a ‘Ooh’ cringe moment. Both sides,” Brown said. “I’ve been happy with that. I think, when we go, I don’t have any question we’re going to go.”

Michigan opens the season with home games against Hawaii, UCF and Colorado.

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