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The Terps, meanwhile, are glad he’s in theirs. It did, though, take time to adjust.

“At first, I was kind of hesitant because we really haven’t played anything like this,” Carroll said. “From a corner standpoint, he was asking us to press virtually the whole game. We haven’t done that. We’ve been a cover 2, cover 3 and just stayed back and watched the ball get thrown on us. Now he wants us to get in their face.”

All of which requires a maximized effort. It’s what led to winning at more than a half-dozen stops, and opponents like McDonnell constantly noticed the effort players put forth for Brown.

“They’re going to play hard or they’re not going to play for him,” James Madison coach Mickey Matthews said.

It’s unsurprising praise for a man who simplifies the purpose of defense to stopping the run, generating pass rush and covering receivers (oh, and creating some turnovers, too). While he could have continued at Massachusetts the rest of his career, the challenge of bringing his defense to a power conference intrigued him.

“I’m a hard worker, a grinder, a tough guy,” Brown said. “I like to compete. I think the best compliment … that people can make about you as a coach is your players play hard. That’s what it’s all about. If you get them to play hard, most of the time good things are going to happen.”

That’s an attitude the Terps’ defenders are falling in love with all over again.