Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Michigan Assistant Coach Rumors (January 7)

Jim Harbaugh (left), Tyrone Wheatley (right), and some guy (middle)
Here are some updated rumors and speculation about the open coaching positions on Michigan's staff.

1. Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach/Quarterbacks: Signed, sealed, and delivered (LINK). Next.

2. Tim Drevno, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive line: Drevno, the USC offensive line coach and run game coordinator, is coming to Michigan (LINK). He might be doing the whole line by himself, although he will probably get some help from a graduate assistant.
Other possibility: Andy Moeller or Todd Washington (offensive line)

3. Running backs: Former Buffalo Bills running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley flew into town last night and went to dinner with Harbaugh at Red Robin. He was supposed to interview for the running backs job yesterday, but his late arrival postponed the interview to today. No contract is done yet, but it would be quite a surprise if Wheatley didn't get the job.
Other possibilities: Fred Jackson, Roy Manning

4. Wide receivers: Rumors appeared on New Year's Eve that John Morton was expected to join Michigan's staff, although there has been nothing confirmed yet. No, this isn't the former Detroit Lions wide receiver, but San Francisco 49ers wide receiver coach Morton is out of a job. Morton grew up in Michigan and played wide receiver at Western Michigan, so he's a midwest guy and would presumably have some connections in the area. San Francisco's wide receivers weren't spectacular, but he has worked with some pretty big names in Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.
Other possibilities: Erik Campbell, Ronald Curry, Jeff Hecklinski

5. Tight ends: Vince Marrow decided to stay at Kentucky, and it's been reported that Michigan has offered a job to San Jose State University offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jimmie Dougherty. Dougherty worked for Harbaugh at San Diego, and he also has experience coaching wide receivers and tight ends. Since it seems like Morton will be coaching the wideouts, Dougherty might find himself coaching tight ends. He may also get a "passing game coordinator" title, pairing with Drevno.
Other possibility: Kevin Koger

6. Defensive coordinator: Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin is now Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin (LINK), and he has already started using his connections in the south to send out a couple offers (LINK).

7. Defensive line: Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will be a holdover from the previous staff to this one. Mattison has family in the area, loves the University of Michigan, is a pretty good coach with NFL experience, and is a great recruiter. He also has connections to Harbaugh and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. It's unclear which role Mattison will have, whether it's working with the defensive line or linebackers.
Other possibilities: D.J. Durkin, Roy Manning

8. Linebackers: Michigan cornerbacks coach Roy Manning has been heavily rumored to be staying around on staff, and it was reported that he already interviewed for a job. Whether he gets that job or not remains to be seen, but it seems to make sense that he would work with the linebackers, a position he has previously coached. The cornerback thing didn't go so well last year, but he has been perhaps Michigan's best recruiter.
Other possibility: Peter Hansen, Greg Mattison

9. Defensive backs: San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach Greg Jackson reportedly contacted Louisiana defensive end Jalen Bates, a guy with a Michigan offer who committed to Arizona State. Bates's cousin is former Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton. Unless this is like Vince Marrow contacting Chris Clark for no reason at all, it looks like Jackson will be coaching some/all of the defensive backs. Meanwhile, Michigan safeties coach Curt Mallory has been hired at Wyoming (LINK), so he's not going to return.
Other possibility: Roy Manning

10. Special teams: Sam Webb tweeted out that Michigan would probably be getting a guy dedicated to special teams only. That guy could very well be Florida special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler (LINK), who worked with Durkin last year and coached outside linebackers at New Mexico for a couple seasons before that. Michigan may find themselves splitting the defense up oddly, with a couple guys combining on the DL and a couple more combining on the LB spots. Personally, I don't believe it's wise to have someone who's only devoted to special teams; if that happens, the special teams had better be awesome.
Other possibility: ???

11. Strength and conditioning: Stanford strength and conditioning coordinator Shannon Turley apparently agreed to come to Michigan and then rescinded. The next most likely option seems to be Kevin Tolbert, who had been Harbaugh's strength and conditioning coach with the 49ers and for a couple years at Stanford. Tolbert is a Navy grad and former football player, and he also spent eight years working under Mike Gittleson, Michigan's former S&C coach prior to Rich Rodriguez's hiring.
Other possibility: ???


  1. The organization looks more and more like this:
    Offensive staff: HC/QB, OC/OL, WR, TE, RB (5 including the head coach)
    Defensive staff: DC, DL, LB, DB (4)
    Special team: exclusive ST coach (1)

    Hoke's special teams were never very good, so having an exclusive coach for it might help a great deal. That would determine at least a few games' outcomes. I am a bit worried about the DBs, as one coach has to work on both safeties and cornerbacks. Let's see what happens.

  2. I like the idea of Mattison handling just the DL. Having him laser point his focus might work out better.

  3. Is it possible the "dedicated ST" coach would be so only until that ship is righted ... then he takes on a dual-responsibility of ST and some other position?

  4. Not sure if this is ideal, but John Baxter (most recently with USC) is rumored to become the ST coach.

  5. If it is Baxter, he has or does also coach Tight Ends,

  6. Has Wheatley any reputation as a recruiter?

  7. I've heard over and over by every board member on MGoBlog that Harbaugh will be calling plays, but wonder where this comes from. Has Harbaugh said that he was calling plays? Is it because we can't imagine an OL coach actually being a good OC?

    My question for the for anyone who knows is: Who was the playcaller under Harbaugh at San Diego. The offense was great and Drevno was the OC. A USC blog (I know it's not a reliable source) claimed Drevno was the actual playcaller. If he was indeed the playcaller then why can we not believe that he may be the playcaller here. I would definitely enjoy having a similar offense.

  8. I'm pumped about Baxter. Not only is the guy arguably the best ST coach in college football with a long and consistent track record. His commitment to academics as demonstrated by the study program he developed and published goes far beyond the lip service coming out of most of the rest of college football. This guy in my mind is the pick of a real good litter.

    Now all we need is a great S&C guy. Turkey really should be coming to Ann Arbor. A guy that white needs to stay away from the sun entirely. That goofy hat isn't gonna save him.