Brown has an almost entirely different unit this year, though, as Michigan lost 10 defensive starters. As a result, him and head coach Jim Harbaugh constantly challenged their players on defensive concepts throughout preseason camp. They hoped that would best prepare them for the Wolverines’ season-opening test against then-No. 17 Florida.
The group responded, limiting Florida to 192 total yards in a 33-17 win Saturday and surprising its defensive coordinator in the process.
“It’s smarter than I thought, to be honest,” Brown said about his defense on 97.1 The Ticket on Thursday morning.
“We’re playing a lot of concept, and with that, in some of those pieces, there’s some pressure scenarios where it’s all gapped out,” Brown added. “Guys in the wrong gap, bad things happen. It’s important that guys function as a group. One guy not functioning properly can cause you problems. But it seemed we got off on the right foot in execution.”
Brown’s radio stint also included a shoutout to sophomore linebacker Devin Gil, who made his first-career start against the Gators. With starting weakside linebacker Mike McCray on the sideline for the opening series, Gil was thrown into the first unit right before game time.
Brown said Devin Gil didn't know he was starting until "I grabbed him by the throat and said 'let's go, baby, you're up.' "
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) September 7, 2017
One disappointment, Brown said, was that Michigan gave up a few completions on fade routes. But those plays didn’t prove costly in what was a dominating defensive outing.
“We were able to tackle it and move on,” Brown said.