Former Brown pupil: DC hire makes Michigan national title contender
Don Brown is a game-changer.
That was the consensus opinion from the coaches Jim Harbaugh talked to who had worked with Michigan’s new defensive coordinator.
On the player’s side, it wasn’t much different.
In 34 years of coaching experience, Brown has worked with thousands of players, many of whom went on to greater things. One of them was former UMass and current Detroit Lions defensive back James Ihedigbo, who played for Brown on the 2006 team that played in the Division I-AA national championship.
According to Ihedigbo, the hire will instantly put Michigan back among the college football’s elite.
“I think honestly with the adding of coach Brown, they’re definitely going to be in the running for a national championship – I think he’s that good of a coach,” Ihedigbo told The Detroit News in a telephone interview from New Orleans on Monday. “With the duo of Harbaugh and coach Brown, an offensive genius and defensive genius together, that’s why I say they can win a national championship.
“They will be aggressive on both sides of the ball. Coach Brown got the best out of you. Michigan is going to love him.”
It’s hard not to love a guy that comes in having just led the nation’s top unit at Boston College. He turned around a BC defense that had far fewer pieces to work with than he’ll have at Michigan.
While the Wolverines boasted the fourth-rated unit in 2015, they surrendered an average of 31 points per game against the likes of Michigan State, Ohio State and Utah. Those games, obviously, stood in the way of Michigan becoming a national title contender.
Getting a guy with Brown’s experience, Ihedigbo said, will help Michigan get over the hump.
“Look at his track record,” Ihedigbo told The Detroit News. “At UMass we were the No. 1 scoring defense in all of football, we had four shutouts (2005, 2006 seasons combined), and then you take him and put him at Boston College and he does the same thing. It’s a testament to his philosophy and coaching style.”
Michigan has a chance to set the defensive tone for the Brown era when it takes on Florida in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1.
And after that, plenty more will likely echo Ihedigbo’s belief that Michigan will be in the national title conversation sooner rather than later.