When posed the question of comparing the growth of his defense from his first season at Michigan to his second, defensive coordinator Don Brown said “no question” there has been an improved learning curve from this year’s crop of players.
“Last year everybody was starting from scratch,” Brown said after U-M's spring practice in Rome. “Now this year there is a group of guys that have a grasp of what we are doing.”
That's saying something, considering Michigan returns only one starter from the No. 2 total defense a season ago. It's also a unit that saw eight of its former starters get drafted this past weekend, too.
“You know we’re doing some different things as well,” Brown admits. “So there is some learning curve, but the general principles of our defense and all that -- the ground has been laid.”
And part of that groundwork has already paid off with the early enrolled freshman, says Brown.
“It’s nice when you’re a mid-year guy walking in, for example a J’Marick Woods, a Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Ambry Thomas or Benjamin St. Juste and they can wall over to a guy like Lavert (Hill) and say ‘what was that stack all about?’ And that guy can tell him with very clear understanding, ‘hey, this is what that means,’” Brown said.
“Where last year they we’re probably like, ‘I don’t know.’”
And so far, so good in Michigan’s 2017 spring camp, says Brown.
“So it’s a little bit of a different deal,” Brown said. “It’s always good when you have a group that can pass down the schematics to the younger guys.”