ATLANTA — On Thursday, Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown met with the media for the first time since the Wolverines 62-39 drubbing at Ohio State. It was the most points a Michigan defense has ever given up to the Buckeyes, the most since Don Brown has been the defensive coordinator in Ann Arbor and a shocking lapse all around.
Cutting right to the chase, Brown made no excuses, took accountability, and said that it’s best for his unit to learn from the moment and move forward — rather than stay mired in what happened in Columbus on Nov. 24.
Ultimately, Brown said what they saw from the Ohio State offense on tape wasn’t terribly different than what they actually saw on the field.
“What we prepared for is kinda what we got,” Brown said. “I don’t agree in total with some of these comments. There were some Day One mistakes made in that game that I’m still puzzled by. Head scratchers.
“You’ve got to be accountable for it, and the buck stops with me. Take full responsibility for it. Move on, prepare and get ready for the next football game.
“You sit there – plus, at the same time, I don’t live in the world of negativity. You guys can. That’s up to you! But I’m not gonna live in the world of negativity. I’ve got to move a defensive group forward that was, despite it all, in my opinion, had a helluva year. Disappointing, the one game scenario, I’m not discounting that at all. But you’ve got to move forward!”
But was he surprised at the outcome?
Despite the nation’s No. 1 defense and No. 1 pass defense getting absolutely torched, Brown says that it wasn’t necessarily shocking, given how good Ohio State’s playmakers are.
Beyond that, Michigan’s playmakers on the defensive side did little to help themselves.
“Nothing surprises me,” Brown said. “I thought Haskins was as good as advertised. I thought he was really good that day. Parris Campbell – he did not play very well against us the year before, I thought he played probably his best game. He was certainly a challenge for us.
“And then a couple of easy ones: we blow the jet sweep, we blow the eagle post coverage down the pipe. Those are the things that leave a bad taste in your mouth. As I said: correct and move on.”
Now it’s time for Michigan to move on, as the No. 7 Wolverines take on No. 10 Florida on Saturday.
While the Ohio State game isn’t exactly in the rearview — and Brown doesn’t expect it to be — he’s happy with the progress that his defense has made in recent weeks — especially after arriving here in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
“That game’s not looked upon lightly,” Brown said of Ohio State. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s okay – let’s move on.’ I think everybody feels it. But we’ve worked our way back – I was really happy with the way we’ve practiced. Especially when we hit here for the first couple days. I was kinda curious how we’d respond when we got here. Our response has been really good.”
Still, you can ensure that the Ohio State game will be on Brown’s mind until his team actually beats the Buckeyes.
When Michigan got torched by Penn State in 2017, 42-13, Brown said he thought about that game every single morning between then and when Michigan beat the Nittany Lions this time around in 2018, 42-7.
And Brown says that OSU will have that same type of focus — but not until after Saturday’s matchup against the Gators.
“Yeah, starting next week,” Brown said. “I’ve got a game to play. I can’t be worrying about Ohio State right now. I’ve got to worry about Florida. If we don’t take care of Florida, we’re not gonna win. You’ve got to take care what’s in front of you. Then, we’ll shift gears – for sure.”