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Don Brown: 'I'd be lying if I said I was not confident'

Don Brown, Maryland’s defensive coordinator, noted two big differences in this year’s defense: speed and maturity. And both characteristics will be tested Saturday at West Virginia.

The Mountaineers have three players – running back Noel Devine and wide receivers Jock Sanders and Tavon Austin – who epitomize the word speed. “Those three guys can fly,” Brown said. “We need to run to the ball with great passion. We need to run to the ball and get those guys on the ground. If we don’t do that, forget everything else – scheme, all that – throw it right out the window.”

Brown is also very familiar with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, saying: “He is a very good thrower, a solid athlete who stands tall in the pocket. Unfortunately for us, I think he came of age Friday night right before my eyes. He went 94- and 96-yard drives in the fourth quarter. He is very highly touted and deservedly so.”

But Brown said his defense is not a little faster than it was last season, it’s a lot faster. Returning players came back more athletic and quicker. Newcomers have added a speed burst, as well.

And there is a certain level of composure that the defense has last season that was lacking at times last season. One thing that is different this season is how players have handled adversity. In the Navy game, a year ago, Brown said, players would have like, “Whoa, everyone calm the hell down, it’s going to be all right.”

“There was none of that,” Brown said. “They were just like, ‘Let’s hang in there, let’s execute.’ There were things that happened that could have derailed us. But we’re just so much more level-headed.”

But this will be the litmus test for the defense. There is no shortage of confidence.

“I’m excited about this just to see where we are at,” Brown said. “I’d be lying if I said I was not confident. I like my guys and believe in them.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 15, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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