Rumors about staff changes

Rumors about staff changes


January 3, 2018

Dan Enos

I am not fully plugged in to the coaching search, but with the bowl game in the rear view mirror, here are some thoughts on how the coaching staff could play out. Keep in mind that safeties coach Brian Smith has already left to be Rice’s defensive coordinator, tackles/tight ends coachGreg Frey is headed for Florida State, and all teams will get a tenth assistant coach.

#1: HEAD COACH: I am fairly confident that the head coach for 2018 will be Jim Harbaugh.

#2: RUNNING BACKS COACH: Jay Harbaugh was the RB coach this past season, but he has more experience with tight ends. With Frey gone, there appears to be an opening with tight ends. I think a different person will be coaching running backs, and it might be former Boston College and Cincinnati coach Al Washington, who coached with Don Brown at BC. Washington has experience coaching running backs, defensive line, and special teams. Update on January 4, 2017: Some are reporting that this is a done deal.

#3: TIGHT ENDS COACH: To replace the departed Walder Frey, I think we’ll see the return of Jay Harbaugh here.

#4: OFFENSIVE LINE COACH: There are rumors about Greg Roman returning to the side of Jim Harbaugh, and it will be curious to see if Roman does come. If he does, he has mostly been with tight ends and the offensive line.

#5: WIDE RECEIVERS COACH: Former NFL wide receiver coach Scott Turner, the son of Norv Turner, spent the 2017 season as an analyst at Michigan. Michigan did not have a dedicated wide receivers coach this past season, and this might make sense as the additional assistant coach. Update on January 4, 2017: It sounds like Dan Enos (see below) may coach receivers.

#6: QUARTERBACKS COACH: It sounds like former Michigan State and Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos may replace passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton. He’s from the state of Michigan and has coached at CMU, MSU, and Arkansas.

#7: DEFENSIVE LINE COACH: I believe Greg Mattison will be returning in 2018.

#8: DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/LINEBACKERS COACH: The man, the myth, the legend: Don Brown.

#9: CORNERBACKS COACH: Unless Mike Zordich gets poached by someone who can pay him more money, I expect him to stick around. He’s done an excellent job.

#10: SAFETIES COACH: Analyst, dad of Devin Bush, Jr., and former NFL safety, Devin Bush, Sr. spent time coaching the safeties during the bowl practices. The safeties didn’t make any great leaps forward, but that’s more a matter of personnel. As a young-ish guy with NFL experience and time spent coaching high school ball in Florida, he should be a good recruiter.

#11: SPECIAL TEAMS/LINEBACKERS COACH: It sounds like other teams are trying to steal Chris Partridge, who has been Michigan’s ace recruiter. It would be a loss for Michigan unless they can get another great recruiter, although Enos is supposed to be a good recruiter. There’s a good chance Partridge leaves, but I’m keeping him here for now.

IN SUMMARY

I’m leaning toward the belief that Pep Hamilton and Tim Drevno will be gone from Michigan’s coaching staff. I will be shocked if both stay, though I won’t be too surprised if Drevno sticks, since he and Harbaugh have been joined at the hip for years.

12 comments

  1. DonAZ
    Comments: 389
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Jan 03, 2018 at 12:54 PM

    What’s the reason for separation of coaching duties between cornerbacks and safeties? Are the roles that different where dedicating a coaching slot to each is worth the time?

    If you had to *not* have a coach at either RB, WR, TE, or Special Teams, which position group would do the least harm to be without a dedicated coach?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2605
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 03, 2018 at 1:09 PM

      I think this is different than it used to be in football. A lot of us grew up at a time when running the football was very important, and running a nickel or dime defense was a novelty. Now that passing games are so important to college football (and football in general), it would be difficult to get your 4, 5, 6, or sometimes 7 defensive backs lined up and making the right reads against all the spread sets you see. Some teams spend a majority of the game in a nickel defense, and the reads are different for the CB vs. the S vs. the nickel guy. That’s a lot of coaching that needs to be done, and it takes place across the field. Meanwhile, an offensive line coach coaches at least five guys on any given play, but they’re all working together in a relatively confined space (tackle to tackle).

      FWIW, we have also done it in my high school with a coach who coached the left side of the defensive backfield and one who coached the right side. Then you have a guy who’s coaching both corners and safeties, but he only has to watch half the field.

      I don’t think a special teams coach is necessary. Your position coaches can each pick up one unit (RB with KO, WR with KR, etc.), or something like that. If you do have a dedicated special teams coach, I think he should still pick up one offensive/defensive position to lighten the load elsewhere. It could be tight ends (though not at Michigan, since there are so many TEs), it could be coaching the outside linebackers, it could be coaching the slot receivers, etc.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 389
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Jan 03, 2018 at 2:43 PM

        Thanks!

      • Comments: 227
        Joined: 12/24/2016
        INTJohn
        Jan 03, 2018 at 4:20 PM

        I find it interesting that so few coaches have a dedicated/exclusive Special Team coach. Most HC’s will say if you win 2 of the 3 facets of a football game – Offense, Defence, Special Teams you’ll most likely win the game – and while having a dedicated OC & DC they ignore a dedicated ST coach. Philosophically I’ve always found this as a bit of a WTF? concept for attitudes by HC’s.

        I’ve had this discussion with my son in law who played for Brian Kelly on his 2 NC teams at Grand Valley and has coached high school OL,TE’s & Wr’s. I think most coaches would in fact like 1 designated person at the spot but coaching staff number limitations hold this back; probably too overall dedicated coaching depth ST experience. I really don’t know any of the logistics too it as I’ve never been a coach and have no desire for it what so ever – I just enjoy philosophical discussions on a perceived WTF items even tho they generally never solve anything………

        If memory serves me correctly approximately 25% of all football plays involve special teams; seems like that much of a game deserves more focus & coaching specific attention………..INTJohn

      • Comments: 563
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Jan 03, 2018 at 6:16 PM

        Good news is Metellus can play nickel back now. I think he can handle a 3rd wr. What do you think? Or one of the new guys.

        What is so frustrating about this offense is now they have the talent and really not that far away from running on all cylinders. I think this rumor of going to the pistol is a better option than the pro style which requires a really good OL and QB. Here, the qb offsets problems pass blocking and spreads the field for more open field runners.

  2. JC
    Comments: 200
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Jan 03, 2018 at 2:08 PM

    I don’t want to lose Frey.

    Would Roman be the OC? Would Enos be the OC? Would Turner have passing game coordinator duties?

    Roman has been an offensive line assistant, coached tackles and tight ends, and been an OC. But I don’t see him having a definite OL coaching job.

    Well I’m confused, and hopeful that the OL situation gets figured out. I was hoping Frey would be coaching OL, Enos would be coaching QBs, Turner could coach WRs, and Roman would be the sole OC & TEs coach.

    • Comments: 36
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Jan 03, 2018 at 5:36 PM

      What has Greg Frey ever done at Michigan? He was RichRods OL coach! Yeah he had success at Indiana, but they basically run the spread. I think his scheme is more suited to a spread offense, not a pro/power run game. IMO that’s the problem with the UofM offense. No direction, no defined scheme. A little of this, a little of that, and a mish mash of coaching. In college football scheme can carry a program. Everybody talks about how MSU does more with less, but good or bad Dantonio stays with his schemes. The let him down last year cause his personnel wasn’t up to running them, but they turned it around this year. You can’t keep chasing the flavor of the day. Based their personnel, Michigan needs to determine the best scheme and stay with it. Build some continuity in the program!

  3. Comments: 83
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    PapaBear
    Jan 03, 2018 at 4:01 PM

    So, hypothetically….and this will happen….Enos is recruiting a kid whose choices come down to UM and State. How does he sell UM over his alma mater?

    • Comments: 563
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Jan 03, 2018 at 6:13 PM

      Paycheck is thicker than diploma. Easy. He didn’t get recruited by UM otherwise he would have attended UM.

  4. Comments: 563
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Jan 03, 2018 at 6:05 PM

    I have heard rumors of the pistol formation?

    1. I think UM needs a wr coach. Teach kids how to run the right routes and to find the seams. It is really understated how much the mind plays in the effectiveness of football.

    2. I am one of a few guys who isn’t in the fire the coordinator after a bad game camp. I wasn’t even in the fire Al Borges camp who got blamed for having a pretty mediocre qb. Now, there is something to be said for developing your players and I don’t think Borges was very good nor at identifying talent.

    Back to Drevno. I think the guy is pretty weak as an OC. I consider myself both fair and patient. I don’t think it’s necessarily the play calling throughout the season. He was obviously working with some limited talent at qb. I think you have to give him somewhat of a pass. All that being said, I think you can do much better. The last two games I was less than impressed with the final drives. I think a nice way of saying this is Drevno isn’t that creative and doesn’t adjust very well.

    The biggest problem I have with Drevno goes back to the MSU game which is consistent with his play calling on last OSU and USC drives. So UM is down and they score to close the gap against MSU. A rain storm occurs and what happens only down like 4 pts or so? He throws like he is down 21 pts with 8 minutes left. Is this somewhat Hamilton? I don’t know and I don’t claim to know. All I know is there seems to be a lack of awareness on game management.

    Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. They understand the clock. Not everyone has it

    • Comments: 563
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Jan 03, 2018 at 6:12 PM

      Sorry for the double post. A system error.

  5. Comments: 563
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Jan 03, 2018 at 6:11 PM

    I have heard rumors of the pistol formation?

    1. I think UM needs a wr coach. Teach kids how to run the right routes and to find the seams. It is really understated how much the mind plays in the effectiveness of football.

    2. I am one of a few guys who isn’t in the fire the coordinator after a bad game camp. I wasn’t even in the fire Al Borges camp who got blamed for having a pretty mediocre qb. Now, there is something to be said for developing your players and I don’t think Borges was very good nor at identifying talent.

    Back to Drevno. I think the guy is pretty weak as an OC. I consider myself both fair and patient. I don’t think it’s necessarily the play calling throughout the season. He was obviously working with some limited talent at qb. I think you have to give him somewhat of a pass. All that being said, I think you can do much better. The last two games I was less than impressed with the final drives. I think a nice way of saying this is Drevno isn’t that creative and doesn’t adjust very well.

    The biggest problem I have with Drevno goes back to the MSU game which is consistent with his play calling on last OSU and USC drives. So UM is down and they score to close the gap against MSU. A rain storm occurs and what happens only down like 4 pts or so? He throws like he is down 21 pts with 8 minutes left. Is this somewhat Hamilton? I don’t know and I don’t claim to know. All I know is there seems to be a lack of awareness on game management.

    Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. They understand the clock. Not everyone has it. I just think Drevno is pretty mediocre and at the end of the games he is poor at best. That is troubling.

    3. The pistol formation is obviously going to require both power and zone blocking. I think this is a good move by Harbaugh. He has backs who seem to be better in space that someone like a Leroy Hoard or Jarrod Bunch. Harbaugh is really trying to solve this. I am encouraged by the rumors that Drevno/Hamilton may be gone. Something needs to change and from what I have seen, and I have not always been right, it’s probably better to hand the keys to Patterson because he brings something unique to the table and if Peters leaves then so be it. McCaffrey will also be in the fold.

    This pro style offense needs an accurate and smart qb which we haven’t had since maybe Rudock in the last half of the season. You don’t have Manning or Brady or another elite guy like a Darnold or Mayfield then you probably are going to struggle.

    I give props to Harbaugh for switching up something that isn’t working. I am encouraged and hopefully Patterson becomes eligible. Something tells me that Harbaugh knew he was going to make the switch and that is why Patterson decided to come to a system that fits his talent. This program can’t wait another year for Peters to develop. It’s running out of time.

    4. I think the Jay Harbaugh criticism is not warranted.

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