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First-year UM coordinator Brown: 'I can tell it's MSU week'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown

Ann Arbor — Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown, always animated, did not bat away a question about his future, and whether he thinks about retirement or even becoming a head coach again.

Brown, 61, frankly, is loving life.

As the second-ranked Wolverines prepare to face rival Michigan State on Saturday in Spartan Stadium, Brown, in his first season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, has led the defense to the No. 1 ranking nationally.

Brown, who will be coaching in his first Michigan-Michigan State game, said that while preparations are no different than any other week, he can definitely sense a different approach from the players.

“I can tell it’s Michigan State week, I know that,” Brown said Wednesday before practice. “Obviously my first experience, so I’m kind of feeding off my guys. We’re going to prepare exactly the same way we prepare each and every week. The reality is, if I tell you it’s Michigan State week, and all of a sudden we’re going to buckle down in the staff room, then what have we been doing for seven weeks?

“It’s the same for us in terms of the preparation. I get a sense from the guys it’s a little bit more, there’s no question about it. That would be a lie if I said it wasn’t.”

It would be a lie if Brown didn’t say he was having a ball at Michigan. He most recently was defensive coordinator at Boston College, which he built into the nation’s No. 1 defense last season.

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“The enjoyment level is up here,” Brown said, raising his hand high. “I work for a great boss. Given me a great opportunity. Work with a great defensive staff. Great players, beautiful area, great town, really love Ann Arbor.

“How long? I don’t know. Do I look old?”

Brown has talked to friends in the business who have told him he will know when it’s time. He’ll just know.

“If this ended up being it for me, I’d be more than happy,” Brown said. “The one thing I won’t do, I won’t cheat the game, and I more importantly won’t cheat the players in the game. How long? I don’t know. I know this, I’m having a blast and my health is good.”

Speight and The ‘Stache

Clean-shaven starting quarterback Wilton Speight said Tuesday night that he’s considering growing a “Don Brown mustache” as a way to honor him. Speight said the defense has given him some luxury while he continues to settle into his role as starting quarterback.

Brown said Speight mentioned that to him.

“Not sure it will ever be better than mine, though,” Brown said, laughing.