Michigan wide receivers coach Jim McElwain will reportedly be the new head coach at Central Michigan. McElwain spent just one season in Ann Arbor after previously being the head coach at Florida and Colorado State, along with being an offensive coordinator at Alabama. Central Michigan fired head coach John Bonamego at the end of the season, a 1-11 year and the worst in program history (Bonamego was 7-6, 6-7, and 8-5 the previous three seasons).
McElwain appeared to do a good job as the wide receivers coach this season. I heard positive reports from behind the scenes about his personality. And on the field, his charges performed well. While they didn’t put up huge numbers, they generally caught the balls that came to them and created some big plays. Donovan Peoples-Jones was a third team all-conference player (39 catches, 541 yards, 7 TD), Nico Collins had a breakout season (33 catches, 552 yards, 6 TD), and freshman Ronnie Bell was a low-ranked prospect who came in and caught 8 passes for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It’s unclear how much McElwain was involved in play calling, since Michigan did not name an offensive coordinator this season. It has been assumed that McElwain, Pep Hamilton, and Ed Warinner all had some say in game planning, along with head coach Jim Harbaugh. McElwain also has not been known as an ace recruiter, so he should not be missed too much in that respect, either.
It’s too early to tell who will emerge as a possible replacement. Graduate assistant Roy Roundtree (a former Wolverine wide receiver) came to Michigan this season to work with the position, but his resume is rather thin after one year at Michigan and previously having coached at Indiana State. I would be very surprised if Michigan promoted him to the open wide receivers coach gig, except perhaps as a short-term replacement through the bowl game and for recruiting purposes.
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