Don Brown's defense at Michigan is one of the most aggressive, intense, and fun to watch in all of college football.
Back just after Jim Harbaugh lost defensive coordinator DJ Durkin to the Maryland job and was looking to fill the role with a proven defensive coordinator, he happened to be talking to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about a completely different position entirely when the conversation kind of shifted to Brown, who was coordinating one of the top defenses at Boston College, despite an offense that was struggling mightily at the time.
This excerpt from an article on Brown via ESPN lays out how that conversation between Harbaugh and Belichick went:
"I happened to be talking to Bill Belichick about a trainer," Harbaugh said. He asked the New England Patriots coach if he knew anyone that Harbaugh could hire to run his defense. Belichick begged off. "Talk to some of the other guys," he said. "I mean, what do I know?"
Yeah, what does Belichick know?
"Then, like typical Bill," Harbaugh said, "he's like, 'I was watching Boston College play the other night on TV. You might want to get whoever's coordinating that defense. They're pretty good.'"
Of course, Harbaugh made an offer to draw Brown to Ann Arbor, and now the Wolverines have one of the most dominant defenses in college football and are knocking on the door of the college football playoff with wins this weekend against Ohio State, and a trip to the Big Ten title game against Northwestern yet to play.
Brown got his first shot as a defensive coordinator in 1983 at Mansfield, and coordinating the defense at Michigan marks his ninth defensive coordinator gig of his coaching journey. He previously served as the head coach at Northeastern (D-II - MA), and also UMAss from 2004-2008 while the Minutemen were still content being an FCS program.
Harbaugh goes on to explain the in ESPN piece how special Brown's eye is when watching his defense perform on the field, noting that it might be the best he's ever been around. Brown sees a potential weakness, or misalignment or missed assignment and can get it corrected and shored up as quickly as anyone in the business. And he does all that while taking the game in from the sideline, which is a really unique skill.
Head over to ESPN to read the full piece, including why Brown is a big believer in getting guys lined up fast, and in multiple looks to give his guys an advantage. It's a great read on one of the best defensive coaches out there and what makes him so special.