Let it be known…Brown’s the Real Deal

BROOKLINE – I hate to say it, but I told you so.

When former Northeastern Director of Athletics Ian McCaw signed head football coach Don Brown, both he and I knew they had someone pretty special.

But no one thought Brown could get this team to be this good, this fast.

On the heels of Northeastern’s 42-17 victory over UMass-Amherst last Saturday, a victory that was 19 years and 16 games in the making dating back to November of 1983, Brown simply played the even-keel coach who was happy with his team’s efforts. Surely, he knew there was more work to do. On the inside, this man believes there is no perfection. That’s why his teams win.

Three years ago, Brown inherited a 2-9 team that saw a tough loss to Boston College followed up by a 77-0 trouncing at the hands of the aforementioned Minutemen. A month and a half later, Brown was on the sidelines for his first game.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and of course, the team struggled. But one of the most impressive things is how a team that went 2-9 goes 4-7. Last year, they finish 5-6, but only seconds away from being 6-5.

I have said it before and I will say it again. With all due respect to Ken Nichols and Roy Coates, Don Brown is the best coach on campus.

This man is working his tail off to make Northeastern a winner. He has athletes. He has guys who will lie down in traffic for him and will do so without being asked twice.

He has recruited well, brought in the right coordinators and made the most out of his team.

After Northeastern’s stunning 31-0 road victory over Ohio, Brown was quoted as saying, “these are the most crucial weeks of our season,” talking about the two weeks before UMass and Hofstra come to town.

Here’s a little word to the wise. Don’t give Brown two weeks to get prepared. He will out coach you, he will out prepare you and he will out motivate you.

UMass’s running game in the first two weeks had averaged 7.4 yards a carry. They averaged less than one yard against the Huskies (34 carries, 26 yards). UMass had allowed just 16 points in its first two games. They gave up 42 on Saturday. The Minutemen had averaged 46 points in their first two contests. They scored just 17 with two touchdowns being scored on late drives.

“My hats off to NU,” said UMass coach Mark Whipple. “We just got beat by a better football team today.”

They were better. In ever facet of the game. NU blitzed on defense, made big plays and seriously snuffed out any kind of UMass comeback with 7:36 to go in the third quarter when Anthony Nolen intercepted a pass and took it to the house.

Brown has every player on that defense believing they are the best player on the field. And I hardly disagree with them. Eleven athletes were hitting UMass QB Jeff Krohn every single down.

You can’t run on that defense; they will hit you for losses. You can’t make a big play on offense; they will out hustle you.

Call him Bill Parcells, call him Dan Reeves or just put the two together. Brown is a savvy motivator, brilliant field general and an incredible defensive mastermind. He, folks, is the reason why I predicted last year that NU will make the playoffs this season.

I hate to say it, but I told you so.

In the Lockeroom:

Anthony Riley looks like a Dave Meggett-type of running back with deceptively quick moves and very good vision … I love the way NU quarterback Shawn Brady rolls out of the pocket. He is more accurate with his throws and if he doesn’t see anyone open, he runs with it.

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