“Defensive line” coach Jerry Montgomery left Michigan for the Oklahoma Sooners over the weekend. Montgomery was hired by Brady Hoke when the latter came from San Diego State. Immediately preceding his Michigan employment, Montgomery had been at Wyoming. He had also previously coached at Northern Iowa and been a student assistant at Iowa after his playing days were over. Montgomery was a four-year starter at Iowa.
Michigan’s defensive linemen combined for 205 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks in 2012. Those aren’t great numbers, but consider that Michigan was dealing with some position changers and mediocre talent left over from the Rich Rodriguez era. The defensive line showed a great deal of improvement from the years of Bruce Tall to the years of Montgomery, although some of that credit goes to Brady Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, too.
Montgomery also has value as a recruiter. He’s young (33) and the lead recruiter for all three of Michigan’s current 2014 commits, as well as 2014 targets Da’Shawn Hand, Malik McDowell, Nyles Morgan, and Artavis Scott, among others. He pulled in some excellent players in the class of 2013 with Jake Butt, Taco Charlton, Jaron Dukes, Derrick Green, Mike McCray II, and Henry Poggi.
At Oklahoma he will reportedly become the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. In case you’re wondering, Oklahoma is pursuing a number of players that Michigan has offered, including WR Mark Andrews, TE Tyler Luatua, OT Cameron Robinson, OT Andy Bauer, OT Damian Prince, OT Braden Smith, DE Myles Garrett, DE Da’Shawn Hand, DE Solomon Thomas, DT Khairi Clark, LB Dwight Williams, CB Jalen Tabor, CB Nick Watkins, S Jamal Adams, and S Brandon Simmons, among others. So Michigan coaches will probably cross paths with Montgomery on the recruiting trail.
There are a few obvious choices to take Montgomery’s spot on the staff. It has been reported that Michigan won’t necessarily hire a defensive line coach, but instead might hire someone to coach the outside linebackers. One seemingly obvious choice would be former Michigan linebacker Roy Manning, who spent some time as a graduate assistant at Michigan, but Manning was just hired in January as the running backs coach at Northern Illinois. He has also coached at Cincinnati. Another option might be Steve Morrison, a former Michigan linebacker who has coached at Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Syracuse. Other names thrown out there have been former Michigan player/coach Erik Campbell and former Michigan running back Mike Hart, but neither one has experience playing or coaching defensive line or linebackers.