Monday, January 5, 2015

Michigan Assistant Coach Rumors (January 5)

D.J. Durkin could be the next domino to fall in Michigan's assistant coaching search.
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: Drevno, the USC offensive line coach and run game coordinator, is coming to Michigan (LINK).

3. Running backs: Buffalo Bills running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley followed head coach Doug Marrone from Syracuse to Buffalo, and now Marrone has opted out of his contract for 2015. That likely means Wheatley is at least temporarily out of a job. Marrone is expected to interview for other NFL head coaching jobs, so Wheatley could follow him if Marrone gets a head job elsewhere. Wheatley wants to move up the ladder, but I would not expect Drevno and Wheatley to split offensive coordinator duties. The hiring of Drevno seems to dim the hopes of getting Wheatley to coach running backs, but the rumors have been persistent here; also, it would improve Michigan's chances of landing 2015 tight end/defensive end Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
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: Kentucky tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow has reportedly turned down Michigan's offer, but he did an odd thing in the meantime - he called 2015 tight end recruit Chris Clark and told him that he could get him to the NFL, that he wanted to coach him, etc. Since Kentucky has no shot at getting Clark, Marrow - who did not mention a school - appeared to have been recruiting on behalf of Michigan. I'm leaving Marrow here, despite reports to the contrary. Also, there aren't a lot of obvious options at this point.
Other possibility: Kevin Koger

6. Offensive line: Nebraska hired Harbaugh's offensive line coach from San Francisco, Reggie Davis, so maybe Harbaugh didn't plan to bring him to Ann Arbor, anyway. Now it would seem that Cleveland Browns offensive line coach Andy Moeller would be a strong possibility. Moeller was an assistant at Michigan under Lloyd Carr, played at Michigan, and is the son of former Michigan head coach Gary Moeller. Unfortunately, Andy has a history of run-ins with the law involving alcohol, so he's not a perfect choice.
Other possibility: Todd Washington

7. Defensive coordinator: Florida defensive coordinator and interim head coach D.J. Durkin has been a popular name floating around for the past few weeks. He worked with Harbaugh at Stanford and has experience working with special teams, defensive ends, and linebackers, so he could help out in any of those areas. Brian at MGoBlog says this is a lock to happen as soon as Florida's bowl game is done this afternoon (LINK). Stanford defensive coordinator Lance Anderson reportedly turned down Michigan's overtures, which is not surprising.
Other possibility: Greg Mattison

8. Defensive line: Oklahoma defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery has been suggested as a possibility. Montgomery, of course, was at Michigan for the first couple years of Brady Hoke's tenure and then left for a bigger paycheck in Norman. Montgomery was only ever in charge of part of the defensive line at Michigan, so the only real reasons to move back would be another pay raise and/or control over the whole position group.
Other possibilities: D.J. Durkin, Roy Manning, Greg Mattison

9. Linebackers: Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison might 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 potential defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. Brian at MGoBlog says this is a lock, although Mattison can also coach defensive line (LINK).
Other possibility: Lance Anderson, Peter Hansen, Roy Manning

10. Defensive backs: San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach Greg Jackson will be looking for a job. He is from Florida and played college football at LSU, so his potential connections in Florida and SEC country could help Michigan's recruiting efforts in difficult locations.
Other possibility: Curt Mallory, Roy Manning

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. Browns fan here, I'm not entirely sure what to make of Andy Moeller. He successfully made Joel Bitonio into a mauling beast at guard from a college tackle, but that is done all the time at the pro level. Plus Bitonio played next to a 1st ballot hall of famer in Joe Thomas. The line pretty much fell apart after Alex Mack went down, so Moeller was put into a tough spot. I would say Greco regressed in the 2nd half of the season, and Schwartz was average.

    1. I think Drevno will also do the OL coaching. OC/OL type of deal. A lot of OCs also coach positions, so I am hoping he's OC/OL. Harbaugh personally works with QBs.

    2. I don't think it's very often that coordinators take such a large position group as the offensive line. There's too much other stuff to oversee. They might take the QB, TE (like Calvin Magee), the quarterbacks (like Al Borges), the linebackers (like Greg Mattison), etc., but expecting an offensive coordinator to watch five guys on every play, work in backups, make technique corrections, etc. is a lot. At the very least, I think Drevno would need a graduate assistant (like Adam Stenavich) helping with the position group. Or you might have a situation where Drevno coaches the tackles, while someone else takes the interior line.

    3. Good point. I hope we get someone solid to oversee the O-line. This is so important for 2015 with new QBs being broken in.

  2. Can we poach the S&C coach from Iowa, please? /s