Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown have come under the most fire the last few seasons for the way that the Ohio State game has gone the last week of the year. That has been a topic of conversation for both men this week in interviews they have done.
“Yeah, we gotta beat Ohio State,” Harbaugh said on Wednesday. “Nothing makes us angrier than that, or me. That’s what we’re working toward every day. We’ve beaten everybody else, but we haven’t beaten them.
“And that’s what we have to do: beat them, win a (Big Ten) championship, get ourselves in the playoffs, win a national championship.”
Brown spoke to the media for the first time since Citrus Bowl week in a Zoom conference on Thursday afternoon and deferred to his head coach’s statement on the matter when asked by a reporter to address it.
“That’s where I’m at,” Brown said. “He’s the boss. That’s what he said, that’s what I’m going to try to do. So, as far as that goes, I’m getting in line right behind him.”
Brown’s defenses have given up a total of 119 points over the last two meetings with the Buckeyes, but he is laying on that sword and will not let the players take the criticism for it.
“I don’t want the players to live in that world,” Brown said. “We acknowledge it. We move on from it. And hopefully I do a better job, because I don’t blame players for anything.
“You blame the old guy right here, okay? I got to do a better job of getting our guys ready, and I promise you I’m going to.”
Michigan followed up the OSU game with a bowl matchup with Alabama, another national power and elite program. While things were close throughout the first three quarters, the bottom would eventually fall out and the Crimson Tide would win 35-16.
“We had the bad play on the first play of the game,” Brown said. “And then late in the second quarter, we had a key sack and they call a roughing the passer (penalty). That was a killer, because we had done a good job after that first series, really, of stemming the tide.
“I feel very strongly about that game. At times, we played really, really well. Our guys were certainly up for the challenge and they fell short.”