Michigan Football: The good, bad and ugly from Peach Bowl loss

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The ugly: Don Brown’s “elite” defense plus another 0-2 finish

Last season, fans were calling for the head of Harbaugh and some will after this loss. Others, including myself, called for Pep Hamilton to go after Notre Dame but there have never been calls for Don Brown to leave — until now. Thinking back, I wish Temple had hired him.

Like the offense, which wants to run a 1980s pro-style offense, Brown is stuck in the stone age. He comes up with some complex blitz schemes but covering everyone man-to-man continues to cost Michigan football big games. If you have Deion Sanders — great. Michigan doesn’t. It has two short, slow, overrated corners.

In the 2016 Orange Bowl, Brown’s defense got abused by a Florida State team led by a freshman quarterback. Probably because anyone can read a man-to-man defense. But trailing 30-27, Florida State was driving. Had Michigan held FSU to a field goal it would have meant overtime.

With Deondre Francis, the freshman and the Noles at the 12-yard line down three, playing coverage and dropping a bunch of guys into zone wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Make the young quarterback try to make a good read and a good throw in a tight window knowing he had three points in the bag. Instead, Brown blitzed and the kid threw a fade to a 6-foot-3 receiver being covered by 5-foot-11 Jourdan Lewis. Touchdown. Game over.

It was the second time Lewis got burned for a touchdown in one-on-one, the other was for an even longer touchdown.

Three seasons later, Brown hasn’t changed. Ohio State roasted his man defense with crossing patterns, dump-offs, draws and deep balls. Then, what did Florida do? Torched Brown’s defense with the same tactics. The coach didn’t adjust during the Ohio State loss and given a month, he didn’t adjust against Florida either.

For some reason, he has safeties running down the field covering wide receivers straight up, as well as guys like Devin Gil trying to cover anyone. If he’s the best option to play at linebacker, Michigan is in really big trouble. He’s good against the run but he gives up so many big plays in the passing game it doesn’t matter.

Against Western Michigan and Rutgers Gil might be ok, but not against Florida and if Brown doesn’t get that by now, he might never. Yes, he can beat teams like Wisconsin, Michigan State and others that don’t have UM’s athletes but not once has his defense stood tall against a great offensive team. This year’s Penn State game is his crowning achievement and that’s nothing.

If the pass rush works, then Michigan can win. But if not, the Wolverines secondary stands no chance. And think of the big games the past couple years — his defense has allowed 33 to Florida State (2016), 31 to Ohio State (2017), 42 to Penn State (2017), 62 to Ohio State (2018), 21 in the first half vs Notre Dame this season and now 41 to Florida. In 11 games against top-15 teams, Brown’s unit has allowed 29 points per game. If you take out three Wisconsin games it shoots up 33.75.

People want to say Harbaugh can’t win big games, well, Brown defenses don’t succeed in them either. In the 50/50 games vs talented teams, Brown has been an abysmal failure. Either he needs to make some radical changes or his tenure needs to come to an end.

Next. Top 15 Michigan quarterbacks of all time. dark

Finally, if you didn’t know, the loss to Florida gave Michigan football two straight losses to end the season for the third year in a row. Against Ohio State and in bowl games, Jim Harbaugh is now 1-7. He currently has lost six straight. If that’s not ugly, I don’t know what is.