Michigan Football: Somehow Don Brown remains on Harbaugh’s staff

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

It seems unimaginable, but here we are hoping to have a 2020 Michigan football season despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and Don Brown remains the teams’ defensive coordinator.

After a strong second half to the 2019 season, Michigan football suffered another embossing ending to their campaign at the hands of Ohio State and Alabama.  It was expected defensive coordinator Don Brown had coached his final game with the Wolverines, but here we are on May, 25th and Brown is expected to call the Michigan defense once again.

Suddenly working for Jim Harbaugh proves to be a more secure job than anything America has to offer.  Imagine that, getting dominated by an Ohio State offense year after year failing to make any in-game adjustments and always blaming the lack of success on how talented the Buckeyes are year-to-year and continually retaining your job.

It’s time the Michigan football program takes a look in the mirror.  You’re Michigan, get out, and find the recruits and coach them up. It doesn’t matter how many five-star recruits you roll out onto the football field, you won’t be successful if you fail to coach them up. Year after year, the Wolverines defense is stout until the final week of the regular season.  Look at all of the pass rushers, linebackers, defensive linemen, and players in the secondary the Wolverines have sent to the NFL during Harbaugh’s tenor as head coach.

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Brown is supposed to be this wizard of defense, and he’s done a tremendous job against the much-lesser opponents, but is that something to hang your hat on?  It’s time to get over the Ohio State hump and leave the excuses at the door.

Why does Brown constantly use man-to-man press coverage on the outside with no safety help over the top against receivers that can separate and feast on man-to-man coverage?  Using the excuse that man-to-man coverage allows the defense to blitz and create pressure is not a good enough excuse when the pass-rushers fail to get home.

This ‘pressure’ didn’t happen during the Ohio State game, or in the teams’ bowl game versus Alabama.  Jerry Jeudy took a post route to the house beating single man coverage easily.  Some of you are saying, well, he’s a first-round draft pick and potentially the best receiver in the entire 2020 NFL Draft class.  Ok, so you are going to leave him singled up?  That’s my entire point.  Adapt.  Use zone coverage.  Don’t you think Don Brown would recognize this during his bowl prep?  Apparently not.

It proves Brown’s ego has become his own worst enemy.  The year prior, Ohio State crushed the Wolverines with a plethora of crossing routes, which caused the Michigan football defenders to fight through and get lost in the wash in man coverage across the middle of the football field, leading to big play after big play.  Brown was again too stubborn to adapt using zone coverage to prevent the crossing competitions and force Ryan Day to use a different offensive philosophy.  Day must have been shocked on the Buckeyes sideline watching the Michigan defense continue to call for man coverage.

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It’s year after year, and it’s become immensely frustrating to watch.  Rather than hiring a new defensive coordinator for the 2020 season, Harbaugh seems content in watching Brown pad his stats early on in the season only to piss them away once the games start to count.  It’s nice to earn a top-20 defense year after year, but what does that account for come late November and early January?  Not much.