All Quiet on the Coordinator Front
A while ago, I wrote that the defensive coordinator hire (replacing Scott Shafer) would come internally and most likely come quickly. That was wrong, wrong, wrong on (likely) both counts. First of all, it appears that Jay Hopson - current linebacker's coach and who I thought would be front-runner for the DC position - has declined to be interviewed for the position, citing something to the tune of "I wouldn't be allowed to run my own system." [not a direct quote - B2] Given the following quote from Rodriguez himself, I would say that Hopson has dissected the situation appropriately:
"Whoever has the title of coordinator on defense isn't going run the defense himself… that's the #1 thing I'm looking for, someone to coordinate everyone's input."
So yeah, it sounds to me like the defensive coordinator is not going to be some autonomous position that runs a defense with little input from the head coach. Was this the problem with Shafer? My guess is "probably."
Also, Rodriguez was in the booth at the Motor City Bowl and spoke with a broadcast team that I don't remember but likely consisted of Bert, Ernie, and the grumpy guys from the Muppets, regarding the season and other fluffy bits. Nothing much was said except that Rodriguez was waiting for the Bowl Season to conclude to start talking to potential DC candidates. The space between the lines there screams "external hire." So does this quote, from Yahoo's Chris Balas:
"The coordinator is a concern whether it’s in house or out of house, and I also want to make sure to leave all doors open. The national coaches convention is next week, there will be 5,000-plus coaches. I’ll see guys there. There are still bowl games and NFL games to be played. I want to leave all options open for the for best fit not only for the University of Michigan, but for what we have our team, recruiting and our current staff."
That national coaches convention? Well, it's happening right now and, according to Rivals, there are 2 names making the rounds for the Michigan DC position: Jim Herrmann and Chuck Heater. You might remember Jim Herrmann from his previous tenure at Michigan where he consistently went into prevent defenses with a 3 point lead and was eventually canned (politely canned, FWIW) for Ron English. You may also remember his awesomely awesome awesome 1997 defense that won a National Title. An enigma, this one, but his most recent body of work indicates that he had lost his fastball. SCM is going to have kittens - literally kittens will pour forth from his body - if Herrmann is hired. More on Herrmann if rumors grow more legs.
Chuck Heater, on the other hand, is a relative unknown (being that he wasn't fired from this very position a few years ago). He is the current safeties coach at Florida*, from Ohio (recruiting purposes?), and played at Michigan back in the 70's. He also has an awesome name that will lead to me saying "Give'm the heater" for the foreseeable future if he is hired. He has never been a Defensive Coordinator, but has spent much of his career as a recruitinig coordinator of some kind. More on Heater if the rumors regarding him heat up (Whoa!).
You there - you ever seen one of these?
Yes? Want to be defensive coordinator?
The bottom line is that, at this point, anyone's a contender.
Finally, I posted awhile back that I believed the 3-3-5 was on its way to Ann Arbor. I still have a feeling that we're going to see that defense, but in the battle of "gut-feeling" vs. "direct quote" the gut always loses spectacularly:
"You can’t just be a 3-4 guy or a 4-3 guy. At West Virginia we ran a 3-3-5 base, which was a little different. We’ll maintain here the 4-3, 3-4 principle," he insisted. "We did a lot of 3-4 stuff in our second- and third-down packages this year, and we’ll continue to do more four-man and odd front."
Being that this is all we have to go on, it beats everything else in terms of credibility. In the past, Rodriguez has run, quite successfully, the 3-3-5 defense. I don't know why he would come to Michigan and try to change that, but there you have it. If there is one thing the 3-3-5 can do it is stop a power-rushing attack, which is kinda what the Big Ten is predicated on. I guess I'm having trouble swallowing the non-3-3-5 business because I see no reason why he should change: he was successful with it at WVU, it is designed to stop what the BXI does best, he fired his DC who ran something different. That all equals "3-3-5 next year" to me, but I'm probably wrong.
This past weekend was a huge recruiting weekend with a ton of visits from top uncommitted prospects. Chief among them were OH OL Marcus Hall and SC DE Sam Montgomery. Hall claims that Michigan has pulled in front for his services, but I offer a huge neon "not so fast."
- Hall has been considered a Buckeye lock since before his recruitment and several reputable "insiders" on Buckeye recruiting boards have said in no uncertain terms that he is going to Ohio State.
- Mods on other Buckeye boards (corroborating info) have said essentially the same thing.
- He's coming from Glenville, coached by Ted Ginn Sr.
FWIW, I still believe he's a Buckeye.
Defensive End Sam Montgomery really liked his visit, and said that Michigan has made huge strides. He's going to buy a hat, apparently, which is good(?). It'll be on his table come signing day, which either means that he's going to pick Michigan or it will look impressive sitting on the table next to the other discarded caps. The money quote from Montgomery himself is "I'm high on Michigan, they're 2 steps ahead of everyone else." However, Montgomery seems to be the type of kid who gets really really geeked about his visits, and comes away effusive in his praise for whichever school he recently went to. If he's quoted as saying this after a few weeks and another visit to another school, I'll be much more excited.
The spring game will be held in Ann Arbor this year. Commence woo.
You guys thought I was done writing about Tebow? Ha! I'm just getting started. A big reason for Tim Tebow returning to college is to work with former UM QB coach Scott Loeffler on preparation for the NFL. I always really liked Loeffler and thought he should have been given the reigns to the offense under Carr's last few years. It's good to see him popping up positively for the best (maybe?) team in the land. Alternatively, he is the reason for another year of Tebow beating the hell out of whoever he's playing. So, um, thanks?
Hemingway gets his redshirt
*This originally said Florida State - a misprint by yours truly. Apologies for the error.