Jerry Montgomery, ex-Wolverine

Jerry Montgomery, ex-Wolverine


February 25, 2013
Jerry Montgomery (image via Detroit News)

“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.

14 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 21856
    Feb 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Montgomery had taken the DL coach job at Indiana about a month before he came here. If Manning did come here, stranger things have happened. That would also be first choice. He's young (31) and recently played in the NFL. Would be a solid replacement as a recruiter.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 21856
    Feb 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Oh, and one question. What would be the responsibilities of the OLB coach? If the Will and Mike are almost interchangeable, wouldn't it counterproductive to have them coached by different people? Would this strictly be a SAM backer coach?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      From what I've come to understand, the SAM and WDE are more similar to each other than Mike and SDE, respectively (Someone can correct me if I'm wrong). They used to call the WDE the Rush LB. In some ways it can be considered to similar to a 3-4 defense, where the OLBs are more distinct. To wit, Jake Ryan playing 'DE' regularly in passing situations and Cam Gordon lining up in a 3 point stance on occassion.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Feb 26, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      I missed this question last night, but like Lanknows said, the SAM linebacker and the WDE are pretty similar positions. You might see a new coach helping out with both of those spots, leaving Hoke to coach nose tackles and Mattison to coach the other spots on the defensive line.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 21856
    Feb 26, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    If it's me, I'm looking for a guy with a track record as a recruiter first and position coaching skills second, especially on a defense where the Head Coach is also a position coach.

    I would also think that it shouldn't be too tough to find quality applicants wanting to come work for Mattison/Hoke.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Recruiting should be an area of emphasis, but so should age and potential. This staff might be light on future potential coordinators. It would be nice if there was a smooth transition when Borges and/or Mattison retire in the next few years. It's also a very white staff, which might raise some eyebrows for a potential recruit.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Feb 26, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      I think Curt Mallory would be a potential successor at DC, and I think Hecklinski would be a potential successor at OC.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Agree about Mallory, but ideally there would be multiple young candidates. Mallory has developed our DBs very quickly. Floyd, Taylor, Kovacs, Gordon, Countess – they've all looked dramatically improved and well-coached, though some of that may have to do with the previous coaching staff's incompetence, you can't ask much more of Mallory. He sounds like the part too from reading his background. Now that Montgomery is gone I think Mallory is the next most likely to leave for a bigger opportunity, unless he gets some assurance he'll take over for Mattison. However, I think Smith is ahead of Mallory in the pecking order because he was Hoke's DC for years at Ball State.

      As for OC, I would hope UM would do better than Hecklinski. His resume is fairly light and UM's receivers haven't shown particularly impressive development. Maybe if he takes this current group of 3-star recruits and turns them into NFL draft picks and Borges gives him his stamp of approval…but I think that's a few years down the line. I'd actually want Hecklinski to prove he can be an OC elsewhere first. It may be years away (Borges seems fairly content where he is) but if it was to happen tomorrow I would want Michigan to find an OC externally.

      Both are young though – could be.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Feb 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Smith struggled as DC at Ball State. Hoke apparently had to step in take control to finish the season. I'm just fine with Mallory taking over as DC when Mattison hangs the whistle up. However, I can see him offered a DC job somewhere else before that. I also agree about Hecklinski, the OC here has almost all of the say in the offense. I'd like someone with experience.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Feb 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      I'm not saying I think Hecklinski WILL be the offensive coordinator, just that Hoke seems to trust him (brought Hecklinski with him, made him recruiting coordinator, etc.) and I'm sure he's learned a thing or two from Borges. If the offense does well under Borges before Borges retires or moves elsewhere, Hecklinski seems like a candidate to be a pretty seamless transition.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 21856
    MosherJordan
    Feb 26, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    So how does a guy like Montgomery talk to a kid who Michigan and Oklahoma are both in on. I've never worked for two direct competitors, so how do guys sell a school that's now in competition with a former employer without losing their integrity?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Anonymous
      Feb 26, 2013 at 1:56 AM

      You sell your product and don't discuss the competition, the same way the current Michigan staff does it. No need to badmouth the competition, just sell what Oklahoma has to offer.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 21856
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      You say the other guy is good but explain why you're even better.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 21856
    Feb 26, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Here's how you do it.

    You say, "Two great programs son. You are in the enviable position of being unable to make a bad decision here regardless of what you decide to do. I'd like to see you come here and play for us because I'd really enjoy the opportunity to work with you. I believe you're gonna be a player"

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