What’s on Sherrone Moore’s Checklist?

What’s on Sherrone Moore’s Checklist?

January 30, 2024

Former offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore was introduced as Michigan’s head football coach on Saturday, replacing Jim Harbaugh, who left for the Los Angeles Chargers. That has elicited several changes in the program, including the loss of defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, safeties coach Jay Harbaugh, and strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.

Here are the main staff components as they stand today, and some of these positions may be fluid:

  1. Head Coach: Sherrone Moore
  2. Offensive Coordinator (expected)/Quarterbacks Coach: Kirk Campbell
  3. Running Backs Coach: Mike Hart
  4. Wide Receivers Coach: Ron Bellamy
  5. Tight Ends Coach: ???
  6. Offensive Line Coach: Grant Newsome
  7. Defensive Coordinator: ???
  8. Defensive Line Coach: Mike Elston
  9. Linebackers Coach: ???
  10. Cornerbacks Coach: Steve Clinkscale
  11. Safeties Coach/Special Teams Coordinator: ???

So here are some of the things that should be top of mind for Moore.

Hit the jump.

  1. Hire a defensive coordinator. Michigan has had several elite defensive coordinators in a row, going all the way back to Greg Mattison. Yes, Mattison did have his struggles at times, but he was a revered NFL defensive coordinator and a great defensive line coach, too. Mattison gave way to D.J. Durkin in 2015, then Don Brown from 2016-2020, Mike Macdonald in 2021, and then Jesse Minter in 2022-2023. As an offensive guy, Moore can make his imprint on the offensive side of the ball and take more of a hands-on approach, but he needs to give away the keys to the defense to a high-level mind on defense. Will he try to stick with someone who knows the Baltimore Ravens’ system that has been so successful the past few years at Michigan? Or will he step out on his own and try to hire someone who has a different philosophy?
  2. Hire an offensive coordinator. This is less of a priority because Moore will certainly have his hands on the offense. While Moore said at his press conference that he will likely step back a little bit from his coordinator duties, he should have someone in place who he sees eye-to-eye with when it comes to philosophy and personnel. Despite playing for an Air Raid offense at Oklahoma back in the 2000s, Moore seems to be a bit more 11- and 12-personnel friendly, and that has worked for him over the past few years when calling the offense in Ann Arbor. Until defenses catch up to that philosophy, Moore needs to stick with what has been working. Furthermore, Michigan’s current player personnel lends itself to a run-heavy approach, whether it’s a game manager at quarterback (Jadyn Davis, Davis Warren, Jayden Denegal, etc.) or a run-first QB (Alex Orji). This may be as simple as promoting quarterbacks coach Kirk Campbell.
  3. Retain the staff that needs to be retained. The new hires are the ones that will make the headlines, but Moore also has to figure out who needs to stick around on the staff. Sometimes there are guys the fans like, but who are going to be upset because somebody else got promoted . . . or because they didn’t get the head coaching job. That can be toxic in a coaches’ office and in the locker room. Taking this into account, Moore needs to be wary of who’s going to support him . . . and who might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  4. Fix NIL. The first two items on this list are necessary to keep current players from hitting the portal out of pure spite. Fixing NIL is a way to keep players from getting poached in the spring and recruiting players for the class of 2025. Unfortunately, fixing NIL isn’t like flipping a switch or hiring someone to mend a fence or pour some concrete. Name, Image, and Likeness is an ongoing issue that is going to require full-time attention from collectives, a “general manager,” etc. It’s also probably going to require Moore to go out and campaign, make appearances, make Zoom calls, do some favors here and there, etc. My fear is that NIL is going to turn a very political job of being head coach at a huge university into even more of a political job. Is Moore up for that challenge? We’ll see. Ultimately, numerous reports indicate that while Michigan has the ability to offer up decent incentives for players already enrolled in the program, the money cannon does not necessarily line up as well as numerous other schools that are . . . south from the state of Michigan.
  5. Find a tight ends coach. Former tight ends coach Grant Newsome has been elevated to offensive line coach, which has long been the plan. Newsome is a very intelligent young coach who has been groomed to coach the line. It helps that Moore is an offensive line guy himself and can offer advice. But Michigan has also traditionally had a stable of good-to-great tight ends, including potential Mackey Award winner Colston Loveland coming back in 2024. Considering how much Michigan has used tight ends – and assuming Moore will continue using that personnel group so heavily – he needs to find a solid coach for the position, preferably one who can also recruit at a high level.
  6. Find a linebackers coach. I feel like this was forgotten in the run to the national championship, but Michigan fired its linebackers coach in the middle of the season. And not because his linebackers sucked. Michigan does not often fire coaches midyear, but Chris Partridge was let go because of his part in the sign-stealing investigation. Fortunately for the Wolverines, the father of defensive coordinator Jesse Minter was none other than former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter, who had been serving as an analyst for the team, anyway. Minter stepped right in and took over the linebackers job, but he will presumably be gone along with Jesse.
  7. Find a safeties coach. Jay Harbaugh served several roles in his time at Michigan, from tight ends coach to running backs coach to safeties coach. Perhaps that was part of his being groomed to someday be a head coach, but he did a great job with the safeties over the past couple seasons, no doubt supported by Jesse Minter, a secondary guy himself.
  8. Find a special teams coach. Jay Harbaugh had served as Michigan’s special teams coach for several years, and this may be an underrated aspect of his departure. Michigan had very good special teams under Jay, which might run in the bloodline since Uncle John Harbaugh made his bones as a special teams coach before becoming the Baltimore Ravens head coach. Now Moore will need to find someone to coach special teams, preferably someone who can also hold down a position coaching job.
  9. Figure out your recruiting vision: Tweaks to recruiting inevitably come along with coaching changes. Recruiting has changed a ton since Lloyd Carr . . . and since Rich Rodriguez . . . and since Brady Hoke . . . and even since Jim Harbaugh was hired in 2015. Carr and Rodriguez would offer somewhere between 110-200 players per cycle. Now Michigan is offering upwards of 300 players per cycle. There may have been some under-the-table inducements back in the day, but now everyone is looking for perks to go along with nice facilities and a path to a college degree. What size linemen does Coach Moore want? Does he want to offer only kids who take visits, or will he throw out offers to kids who haven’t set foot on campus? Will he stick to the high academic kids, or will he try to get the admissions department to allow more exceptions like Rich Rodriguez did? Will Coach Moore go for undersized receivers and cornerbacks because of their athleticism, or will he stick to trying to find mostly 6’0″+ guys because of their length?

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