The Wolverine

January 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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24 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2021 D on Brown, Michigan's defensive coordinator the last five seasons, has been relieved of his duties. The move was confirmed Dec. 22, though the U-M athletics department had yet to release a statement as of Dec. 28. Brown had twice been a finalist for the Broyles Award (given to the nation's top college football assis- tant) since coming to Ann Arbor. He was also nominated for the award three times (2013-15) for his work at Boston College, where he earned the American Football Coaches As- sociation's 2015 Assistant Coach of the Year honor in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Michigan was in the top 12 in to- tal defense in each of Brown's first four seasons in Ann Arbor, with three units placing among the top three. U-M has led the nation or ranked second in passing defense on two oc- casions and twice posted an NCAA- leading third-down conversion per- centage allowed on his watch. From 2016-18, U-M became the first program since 2001-03 to allow fewer than 2,000 passing yards in three straight seasons. However, Brown's defenses have struggled in some of the biggest games over the last couple of years, including the last two matchups against Ohio State. The Wolverines gave up 62 and 56 points, respec- tively, in 2018 and 2019, and were rolled by Wisconsin the last two seasons, as well, allowing 35 and 49 points, and more than 300 rushing yards in both games. They were still 10th in yards per play allowed last year, but dropped to 56th this season. — Chris Balas AIDAN HUTCHINSON CONFIRMS HE'LL RETURN TO U-M Michigan football junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson made it offi- cial, with a tweet Dec. 28, that he'll re- turn to Michigan for his senior season. "Not quite done yet — I've decided to forego the NFL and return for my senior season," he wrote. Hutchinson missed much of this fall with an ankle injury suffered against Indiana in game three. He then un- derwent surgery and still has three months left in what's supposed to be a four-month recovery. "This year as a junior I was the only underclassman to be a captain, and I feel like next year being a two- time captain for this team … I can serve as a good leader," he told the Detroit News. "I've had a lot of expe- rience on the field. And I feel like I'm going to lead this team in the right direction this offseason. "Coming back for another year, I'm just really excited to get with the guys and start working with them and start building the bonds between us." Hutchinson notched 15 tackles but no sacks or tackles for loss in two- plus games this fall. — Chris Balas CAMERON MCGRONE LEAVES FOR NFL Redshirt sophomore linebacker Cameron McGrone announced on Twitter Dec. 29 he is leaving U-M early for the NFL Draft. His departure comes after spending three years in Ann Arbor, the latter two (2019-20) of which he served as a starter. "During my college recruiting pro- cess I learned about the tradition of Michigan football and what it meant to be a 'Michigan Man,'" he wrote. "… Three years later, I am proud of my development and ready for my next challenge." McGrone burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2019, taking over for then-redshirt sophomore line- backer Josh Ross when the latter went down with injury in the Sept. 21 loss at Wisconsin. The 6-1, 236-pounder went on to have a phenomenal year while starting Michigan's final 10 games, racking up 66 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also gained a reputation for his blazing speed and bone-crunching hits that season, and was expected to carry that success into 2020. That was not the case, however. The redshirt sophomore fought through an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, first hurting himself in the Oct. 31 loss to Michigan State before returning, and then suffering another injury in the Nov. 21 victory at Rutgers. McGrone missed the Nov. 28 loss to Penn State as a result, and finished the year with 26 tackles, two stops behind the line of scrimmage and half a sack. — Austin Fox TRANSFER PORTAL WORKING BOTH WAYS FOR MICHIGAN Michigan coaches will be hitting the transfer portal hard in search of immediate contributors for next sea- son. That actually started in Octo- ber, when Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Willie Allen announced he would be joining the program. MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Defensive Coordinator Don Brown Is Dismissed Michigan and Brown parted ways after his defense averaged 34.5 points and 434.4 yards allowed in the Wolverines' six 2020 games. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 2020 MICHIGAN FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Result Oct. 24 at Minnesota W, 49-24 Oct. 31 Michigan State L, 27-24 Nov. 7 at Indiana L, 38-21 Nov. 14 Wisconsin L, 49-11 Nov. 21 at Rutgers W, 48-42 (3OT) Nov. 28 Penn State L, 27-17 Dec. 5 Maryland Canceled Dec. 12 at Ohio State Canceled Dec. 19 at Iowa Canceled

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