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Linebacker/special teams coach on unit's lightning quick speed, which he compares to piranhas attacking steak. Angelique S. Chengelis

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Ann Arbor — Al Washington was coaching offense when he first encountered Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown in that role at Boston College. 

Washington said his respect for Brown is off the charts.

“I learned from him Boston College when I was on the offensive side,” Washington said Monday night after practice. “Just not only how he goes about his day to day but how he deals with kids. A lot of times there’s agendas that aren’t always for the kids. Don is all about the kids, and that’s why they play hard for him. That’s why as a young coach, you look at him, you admire him, because he treated me kinda like that. He showed me love. He opened up to me. 

“Don is a friend, a mentor. He’s on my Mount Rushmore of great coaches I want to be like one day.”

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Washington is coaching linebackers and assisting with special teams. Brown said earlier in spring practice this might be the fastest defense he has, and Washington agrees.

“I’ll tell you what, I made the comparison of somebody dropping a steak in a tank of piranha and when you see the quarterback drop back, it’s overwhelming,” Washington said. “So the speed is lightning quick, they’re physical, and they’re smart.

“That to me is probably the biggest thing. These guys get it. (Brown) had had 10 new starters last year, so a lot of these kids are coming back and they know it. They have a mastery of it and so that just makes them even faster. They’re tough, they take pride in what they do. It’s a great group, a special group.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis