Michigan co-defensive coordinator Mo Linguist was announced as the Buffalo Bulls head coach on Friday afternoon, leaving the Wolverines with an open spot on its staff going into the summer. Buffalo’s job opened up when Les Miles was let go as Kansas’s head coach, giving Lance Leipold a chance to jump from Buffalo to Kansas.
Linguist is known as an outstanding recruiter, but his actual coaching ability is a bit of an unknown. At most of his stops so far, he has only spent one season at any particular job and never stayed anywhere longer than three years. He was at Michigan for just a few months – basically the span of spring ball – before leaving.
From Linguist’s perspective, it’s pretty much a no-brainer if he has the goal of being a head coach. Whether he spent a few months or two seasons at Michigan, it’s a step up to become an FBS head coach.
On Michigan’s end, it’s tough to find the right balance. Jim Harbaugh hires a lot of coaches who go on to be head coaches, and that’s a testament to the type of coach he hires: hungry, ambitious, young, and respected guys. But that also means he’s going to lose a lot of those guys to promotions elsewhere. We have seen the opposite at Michigan, when guys like Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez have brought in and held on to “their guys.” That’s not necessarily a terrible thing, but fans weren’t happy with those staffs, either. Jokes abound regarding Mike DeBord, Fred Jackson, Tony Gibson, and others.
Realistically, the thing that many Michigan fans were missing when they got excited about Linguist’s hire was that it was never going to be more than a one- or perhaps two-year thing. The most common outcome for Linguist is to spend a year on a job, meaning we would have been dealing with his departure sometime around February National Signing Day in 2022. The optics wouldn’t be good, either, when he ditched the team in January or right after NSD, leaving a handful of 2022 recruits in the lurch. The Michigan program would have been sifting through decommits, trying to flip lower rated guys late, and players asking out of their National Letter of Intent.
Sam Webb has brought up a couple names as potential replacements(LINK):
- Kentucky DB coach Steve Clinkscale, who has been with the Wildcats since 2016
- New Orleans Saints assistant Cory Robinson, who has had five jobs in the past five years