First year Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines.

First year Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines.

After guiding Boston College to the No. 1 team defense in 2015, Don Brown quickly became a sought after defensive coordinator in college football.


Following the departure of D.J. Durkin, spending just one year in charge of the Wolverines defense before bolting to be the head coach at Maryland, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan began searching.

Although Brown and Harbaugh didn't have much of a relationship, just a plethora of mutual friends and colleagues across the nation, the two quickly came to an agreement bringing the lifetime East Coaster to the Midwest.

"What he's been able to do at all his stops, I just felt like where else would you want an opportunity to be a defensive coordinator?" Brown said. 

"He's just such a solid, fundamental, philosophical approach guy, it didn't take long to see that this was the type of environment that I felt good about."

Looking closely at the paths of both Brown and Harbaugh, it's easy to see why it could be such a good marriage.

When Brown arrived at Boston College in 2013, the Eagles came in No. 113 nationally in team defense. Jumping 112 spots in three years, Brown turned nothing into something.

With Harbaugh, the track record of turning messes into mighty football programs is vast, dating back to his time at San Diego, Stanford, San Francisco and this past season doubling Michigan's win total from the year before.

"I just think having the opportunity to come work for Coach Harbaugh, I think Michigan provides the opportunity to play at the very highest level," Brown said. 

"I've been in New England most of my career and just felt like this was an opportunity I did not want to pass up for sure."

Now a few practices into his tenure as defensive coordinator at Michigan, Brown likes what he sees from a Michigan defense that saw a resurgence of sorts in 2015.

"Every day is a new day," Brown said. "We're working hard. I went to the bowl game and went right back on the plane and we had that dead period so I had a couple of weeks in the office to kind of watch tape, figure out what we were going to do, where we were going to go and then get out on the road to finish up recruiting. 

"We used the last couple of weeks to just figure out exactly what our plan was going to be for spring, where we're going to play specific personnel because we've made a couple changes. Just come out, have a plan and the guys are excited, playing with a lot of energy. Try to make it simple on us and tough on them and our opponents."

Brown says the energy and athleticism on his defense is exciting, admitting until the Wolverines throw pads on consistently it'll be difficult to fully judge exactly what he has.

As far as a base defensive scheme, Brown isn't pigeonholing Michigan's unit, ready and willing to provide multiple looks and strategies to make life difficult on opposing offenses.

"We'll start with a four down scheme but guys will be out there, we're not exclusively that," Brown said. "We'll do it all and we'll play a lot of man tight coverages but we'll also play some other things. 

"That's the new piece and that's the learning piece. I've done this a few times now, gone in a few places and said here we go, we're going to get after."


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