Michigan named J.B. Brown as its special teams coordinator toward the end of last week. He is being elevated from an analyst position after spending the previous three seasons as a special teams analyst, advising Jay Harbaugh.
Hit the jump for more.
Brown is originally from Texas and then played baseball at Pacific before being drafted in the 14th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Mets. He then became a graduate assistant at Kansas (2015-2016) after his baseball playing days were over, followed up by two years doing the same at Houston (2017-2018). He got his first coaching gig at FCS Texas Southern (2019-2020), when he was their special teams coordinator.
Michigan has had one of the top special teams units in the country over the past several years, including the three (2021-2023) when he has been on staff. I have heard good things about him from behind the scenes, but those are just tidbits. He has very little on-the-field experience except at the FCS level, so it’s difficult to gauge how effective he will be. We like to attribute Jay Harbaugh’s special teams prowess to Jay Harbaugh himself, but certainly part of the credit has to go to Brown.
Since there’s not much to go on, I’m more inclined to wonder how Brown will fit on the coaching staff and on the recruiting trail. Specifically being named “Special Teams Coordinator” means he probably won’t have much to do with offensive/defensive positions. Michigan hasn’t had a specific special teams coach since 2015, when John Baxter came to Michigan for Jim Harbaugh’s first year. Otherwise, it has always been in the hands of either Chris Partridge (who coached safeties and linebackers at different times) or Jay Harbaugh. So whereas Jay Harbaugh coached the safeties the past couple years, now the entire secondary may fall to co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Steve Clinkscale. Presumably, Michigan will have just four defensive coaches:
- Co-DC/CB: Steve Clinkscale
- DL: Mike Elston
- LB: ??? (previously Chris Partridge/Rick Minter)
- Co-DC: ???
This makes the defensive coordinator hiring very interesting. The hot name right now is Kansas City Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who overlaps with Elston.
Another consideration is where Brown will be assigned as a recruiter. I would like to think he should be a positive on the recruiting trail because of his youth and his lack of a prominent role on the coaching staff. A Texas native who went to school in California, coached a little bit in Kansas, and then went back to Texas before coming to Ann Arbor should be an asset in the Texas area.
Michigan’s coaching staff as it stands today:
- HC: Sherrone Moore
- OC/QB: Kirk Campbell
- RB: Mike Hart
- WR: Ronald Bellamy
- TE: Steve Casula
- OL: Grant Newsome
- DL: Mike Elston
- LB: ???
- CB: Steve Clinkscale
- S: ???
- STC: J.B. Brown
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