Hearts Were Won; Now It's Time To Win Games

When Charlie Weis was hired as Notre Dame's head football coach a little over two years ago, he made stern statements about X's and O's, and exploiting the opposition's weaknesses while on offense, and it was love at first sight for Irish fans. Corwin Brown did pretty much the same thing when he was announced as Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator at an afternoon press conference, on Friday.

When addressing the media, and pretty much all of the Irish Nation, Brown made statements that give fans hope that the defense will make the same kind of strides the offense did when Weis came into the picture. It is believed that with those strides, the Irish will eventually win a National Championship.

"We have a system in place and within that system we should be able to address different matters that will come up within a game and I feel personally that you have to, sometimes you have to dictate what the game is going to, how the game is going to unfold," Brown said, drawing everyone in. "Sometimes you have to be the aggressor."

Wham bam thank you man. An Irish fan somewhere smacked his desk at work with the palm of his hand, a big smile on his or her face, when watching the press conference on the internet.

Who cares what the base defense is going to be next year, whether it's a 3-4 or 4-3 formation (which Brown said he has a background in both), lets just see some aggressive, running to the ball, lay-you-out mean streak on defense.

"You have to get after it," Brown stated. "I believe in being aggressive. You have to hit. You have to run. And you've got to play hard. And that's what I believe in. You have to hit and run and you gotta play hard and that's what we're going to do. We're going to be tough."

If Brown would've been speaking in an atmosphere similar to the one of Jimmy Clausen's verbal commitment to Notre Dame, he would've racked up a couple more standing ovations than the big-time recruit did.

Anyone could make these statements. Why these statements hold water is simple. Brown's playing and coaching background, and the recommendations and praise given from the likes of Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Al Groh, Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini. They were some of Brown's biggest fans until the Irish faithful edged all of them out in that department.

Charlie Weis went and hired himself a Charlie Weis guy. A guy that stands before you the man he is today because he took something from all the great minds he was around before arriving at this point. In this case, it happens to be many of the same minds.

Brown takes pride in learning from Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr as a player at Michigan. He knows he's been in a great environment at Virginia with Groh and in the NFL. Like Weis draws on his Jersey roots, it looks like Brown will do the same from his youth in Chicago.

Over the last 14 years, Brown either played for, coached with or under the aforementioned coaches. It was with them, like Weis whom himself coached with or under most of those guys, further learned the way the game of football should be played and taught. Being around those guys gives Brown the same confidence that Weis had at his initial Notre Dame press conference, to come in make statements about style of play, and then back them up on the field when the fall rolls around.

The NFL success is what really sells this whole thing. First with Weis, his innovative offensive approach helped the New England Patriots win Super Bowl rings, and land Notre Dame into the Bowl Championship Series two years in a row. With Brown, he coached the secondary of the New York Jets for three seasons, breaking in two rookies this past year, and helping maintain one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Not to mention, Brown obviously rubbed those coaching celebrities well with his personality, dedication and brightness.

What Brown learned as a player under Parcells and Belichick, then as a coach from Groh, Edwards and Mangini, will be applied to the Notre Dame defense. While Weis spends the majority of the time this spring with the offense and specifically the quarterbacks in search of Brady Quinn's successor, he will know that the defense is being ran the way he wants it. The only way all those guys know how. That coaching clique and style should have some kind of call name they go by.

While Brown and Weis will see eye-to-eye on almost everything, there is one difference between the two.

"I'm a man of few words," Brown said in his opening statement. That's okay, because with Weis' personality, he has enough words (including a little bit of profanity) for the whole coaching staff. Besides, Brown doesn't have to say anything else publicly for awhile, he has already won over Notre Dame fans with just a few matter-of-fact statements.

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