Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown and the Wolverines are six months removed from last season's Ohio State loss, but from all accounts it could have happened yesterday.
There is a numbness among Michigan fans when it comes to the rivalry. Ohio State has won eight straight and 15 of the last 16 meetings, and the Wolverines haven’t beaten their archrival since 2011.
Ohio State walloped Michigan, 62-39, in 2018 with a berth in the Big Ten championship game on the line and again last season at Michigan Stadium, 56-27.
But kicking around the ashes of those games and sulking isn't an option for Brown.
“The Ohio State game was a huge negative for us,” Brown said during a video conference with reporters on Thursday. “I’m not going to live in that world. And I don’t want the players to live in that world. 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, OK? I’ve gotta do a better job getting our guys ready, and I’ll promise you I’m going to.”
Brown said he is in lockstep with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his comments made Wednesday regarding the Ohio State rivalry. Harbaugh, appearing on NBCSN’s “Lunch Talk Live,” made clear his program’s priority. He is 0-5 against the Buckeyes.
“We got to beat Ohio State,” Harbaugh said. “Nothing makes us angrier than that, or me, but that’s what we’re working toward every day. We’ve beaten everybody else, but we haven’t beat them. That’s what we have to do, beat them, win a championship, get ourselves in the playoff, win a national championship.”
Brown certainly wasn’t pleased with Michigan’s 35-16 loss to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl either, but he liked how the defense played for the most part.
“We’ve got good players, too, and I thought we played toe-to-toe with them,” Brown said. “I feel very strongly that at times we played really, really well in that football game.
“I take the positives from it and then, obviously, we go into the offseason. We all took the pieces of that game that are negative and I promise you we’re going to practice those plays against assorted looks. We took the same thing from the Ohio State game. We’ll be practicing against those plays, too. It’s eight or nine plays. A group of plays you just want back.”