Michigan will reportedly hire Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown

Michigan will reportedly hire Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown

December 20, 2015

Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown (right) will hold the same job at Michigan

I will admit that I am not very familiar with Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown, who will reportedly be named Michigan’s new defensive coordinator. He spent the last three seasons as the Eagles’ coordinator and coached the linebackers. Brown is 60 years old and has spent most of his career at the lower levels of football (Ivy League, Division I-AA, FCS, etc.). He was UMass’s head coach from 2004-2008 before behind defensive coordinator at Maryland (2009-2010), Connecticut (2011-2012), and then Boston College.

Here are some of his numbers from this past season:

2015: #4 in scoring defense, #2 in rush defense, #8 in pass defense, #1 in total defense, #20 in sacks, #1 in tackles for loss, #38 in interceptions, #5 in Defensive FEI, #3 in Defensive S&P+

Hit the jump for more on Brown.

This past year, he had two First Team All-ACC members: DT Connor Wujciak and LB Steven Daniels. Safety Justin Simmons (2nd team), LB Matt Milano (3rd team), DE Mehdi Addesmad (honorable mention), and DE Harold Landry (honorable mention) were also honored.

Brown ran more of a 4-3 Over this past season, or a 4-2-5 against spread teams. Although BC went 3-9 in 2015, they put up pretty good fights against ranked teams. They lost 14-0 to Florida State, 19-16 to Notre Dame, and 34-17 to #1 Clemson (who averaged 38.5 points/game).

It will be interesting to see how things shake out defensively, where Michigan was previously more of a 3-4 team.


  1. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Dec 20, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    Lots of stuff on your plate tonight? Red jersey got you.

    Boston College is Eagles. Rutgers is Scarlet Knights

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 20, 2015 at 10:16 PM

      Yup yup. Today was a jam-packed day, and I had just read an article about Chris Ash going to Rutgers. Bad combination, I guess.

  2. Comments: 118
    Joined: 10/22/2015
    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:37 PM

    Hey Thunder. If this is a “4-3 Guy” then how does this alleviate some of our concerns at LB Depth? Also, how does it affect guys like Bush? Does he go from an ILB to a WLB?

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Dec 21, 2015 at 1:09 AM

      The 3-4 OLB and 4-3 WDE are almost identical. Brandon Graham and Lamar Woodley are listed as OLBs in the NFL because they play in 3-4 Defense.

      All of our defenses have been “multiple”. So will Brown’s.

      Mattison (who ran a 4-3) stated clearly that WLB and MLB were interchangeable and should be considered ILBs. It was only the SAM/OLB that was a significantly different position.

      • Comments: 118
        Joined: 10/22/2015
        Dec 22, 2015 at 11:53 AM

        Rajah Dat! Thanks!

  3. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:40 PM

    You keep bringing it up, but I’m personally not buying the ‘switch’ to 4-3 as being any sort of big deal. Brown sounds like he runs multiple fronts (as did Mattison and Durkin). Boyd’s article described a BC defense that sounds extremely similar to what Michigan did. Stunting DL with aggressive press coverage from corners, LBs that read/react to what goes on behind the DL. Blitz could come from anywhere, etc.

    Michigan was led brilliantly by Durkin for most of the year as he turned a DL that lacked an outside pass-rushing threat into a consistent pressure unit by collapsing the pocket with jumbo DE/DTs and stunting the Edge Rusher around. It was brilliant optimization of personnel, covering up the units deficiencies expertly.

    Brown’s defense sounds more aggressive and blitz-heavy than Durkin’s. Other than that…VERY SIMILAR. And, that makes a whole lot of sense. For a unit bringing back so much (7 of 11 starters returning from a top 10 D) you don’t want to change scheme too much.

    Personnel wise…To the extent it matters, the 4-3 is a better fit for Carlton at WDE (vs. Linebacker). Regardless, Michigan will need some of the young edge ends to step up and that was true with the 3-4 just as much as the 4-3. Our talented secondary should be ideally suited for Brown’s preferred scheme.

    I need to learn more about Brown, but at first glance I like the hire. Obviously he did great at BC this year, but 1 year, no matter how good, doesn’t tell me much.

    I looked back at FEI rankings and he had BC in the top 35 the last few years before this season’s outburst. That’s no small feet given BC’s talent level relative to the rest of the conference. He also had UConn doing good things while he was there. Before that at lower levels he seemed to get a ton of respect and he got his opponents attention. I need to learn a bit more about what he did at Maryland…but, again, it seems like a good higher.

    At the moment I’m hoping Brown’s an assistant version of John Beilein – a guy who is pretty innovative and put in a lot of time at lower levels. I like the fit and I like that he has no clear ties to Harbaugh. I wasn’t too enamored with the Lance Anderson rumors, so I’m pretty relieved too.

    Helps too that the BC kids seem to love Brown.

  4. Comments: 183
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    suduri xusai
    Dec 21, 2015 at 1:28 AM

    I wonder what Thunder really thinks of Brown’s resume and what Brown brings to the table after watching films of BC defense. I’d love to hear your opinion, Thunder.

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