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Daily Brews: More buzz connecting Don Brown to potential head coaching gig

A change of the guard on defense may naturally occur.

Ohio State State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown has been the lightning rod for the brunt of the criticism from many fans after the loss to Ohio State over the weekend. Some folks are demanding a change made from head coach Jim Harbaugh, but there’s potential for some to get their wish in a more natural (and potentially more amicable) way.

According to 247Sports, Brown has emerged as one of the candidates for the vacant head coaching opportunity at Boston College, which is where the Wolverines poached him away from when he was hired in 2016.

“Don Brown is one of, if not, the most recognizable coaches in the state of Massachusetts, as a native of the state and a coach who has either recruited the region or coached in the region since 1983. Brown has served as a head coach 3 times previously, although never at the division 1 FBS level and has won everywhere he went, compiling a 95-45 record over 12 seasons as a head coach. As a defensive coordinator, Brown is one of the best in the country, having guided Boston College to the nation’s best defense prior to heading to Michigan, where he has coached elite defenses year after year. Despite being older in age, Brown is still one of the best recruiters in the country due to his deep connections, historical ability to produce NFL players, and likeable personality. Brown’s only drawback as a head coaching candidate is his age, at 64 years old, although many coaches his age have had success.”

Anthony Campanile, currently coaching Michigan’s linebackers, is also in the mix for potential jobs during the coaching cycle. So are a handful of other Wolverine assistants.

Campanile, meanwhile, is looking like a hot name in a couple of circles. He has been tied to the Boston College job as a former assistant with the Eagles, but is also reportedly being considered for a defensive coordinator position at Rutgers, where he both played and coached in the past. Campanile’s brother Nunzio was the interim head coach for the Scarlet Knights after the firing of Chris Ash mid-season. Nunzio is considered a strong candidate to stay on Greg Schiano’s staff in some capacity...Other assistants who are likely to get some kind of look for other jobs this offseason are quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels and safeties coach/special teams coordinator Chris Partridge. McDaniels has connections to Schiano and Rutgers, while Partridge has been a commodity for other programs for the last three offseasons.

We will have to wait and see how this all comes together, but it appears that there is a chance Harbaugh has to make more staff changes this offseason. You can choose your own adventure in terms of how that makes you feel or not.

Kirk Herbstreit weighs in on Jim Harbaugh’s status

Naturally, Harbaugh’s status is in question after another loss to the Buckeyes over the weekend. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit has now weighed in, saying that losses like the one over the weekend can “take a soul” out of a program.

“When you lose the way that you’re losing five straight to Ohio State, it can take the soul of a program out,” Herbstreit said. “The challenge for Jim and that program is to put that rivalry in its proper perspective, instead of shaking it off. ‘Hey, we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to recruit better.’ I think it’s not that. It’s so much deeper than that. I keep hearing comments from Ohio State players and coaches where it’s like this rivalry means so much to us. It doesn’t mean something to us this week. We don’t just have this clock running down so the fans can say, ‘Oh look , there’s a clock over there.’ They live it. They do reps in the weight room in February about it. It’s around every room at Ohio State. It’s not for recruiting, and it’s not just to have it.”

Despite his shortcomings, Herbstreit says that any talk of dismissing Harbaugh is “ridiculous,” but notes that questions about Don Brown are justified.

“The idea of firing him is ridiculous,” Herbstreit said. “Who are you going to bring in that has a better feel for what Michigan is about? I think Jim Harbaugh has to be willing to change who he is. I think he tried that with his offense over the last couple of years. Bringing in Shea Patterson. Trying to get more spread. Trying to kind of catch up with the way everyone is running is running offenses these days. I don’t know that their offense is the problem. Shea Patterson and those receivers, they’re pretty good. I think the issue is clearly the defense. Don Brown has done such a good job in most games they’ve played. They get into that Ohio State game, and the Buckeyes have a plan. They’re just one step ahead.

“I would not give up on Jim Harbaugh, even though it’s the easy answer in today’s world,” Herbstreit said. “If a guy loses a rivalry game, let alone five, fire him. I mean, who are you going to bring in? Who in the world are they going to bring in that will fix everything? Brady Hoke tried that. Rich Rod tried that. This has been going on for a while. Since 2008 when things started to really go sideways.”

Other Brews

  • Surprising news out of the college football world on Monday as Washington head coach Chris Petersen announced his resignation from his post. The Huskies have been named a potential bowl opponent for the Wolverines, which would be interesting given the two teams open the 2020 season against each other. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake has been named his replacement.
  • Things are ugly right now at Ole Miss after the firing of head coach Matt Luke. Apparently half the team is considering transferring out of the program.
  • Sports Illustrated seems to be conflicted about Sports Illustrated’s report about Clay Helton’s status at USC. You read that sentence correctly.