The winds of change are blowing through the Michigan Wolverines football program ahead of the 2021 season. The biggest this offseason was the installation of a brand new defense helmed by a fresh face at coordinator in Mike Macdonald.
Flipping a switch on defense might not be the thing that completely turns around Michigan’s fortunes, but it is enough to create optimism for a prominent alum of the football program.
Former Wolverine and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard returned to Ann Arbor over the weekend for an autograph signing and spoke to The Michigan Insider about what he is looking forward to most about the new system.
“To me, the reason Don Brown is not here today is that he consistently tried to implement a system that he did not have the personnel to run,” Howard told The Michigan Insider. “And it just gradually showed up year after year, game after game. It started with the big games but then it trickled down to the games that are not so big, you know. That’s the biggest… to me… piece of the puzzle. Not only do you have to look at this new coordinator and his staff and what they like to do and what they normally and traditionally would do, but now you have to look at the personnel that they have. They have to make sure that this personnel can fit in what they’re doing and fit the personnel. It has to match. It has to mesh like that. And that’s the biggest piece of the puzzle. So, I’m excited to see what (Macdonald) is going to bring to the table.”
The idea behind hiring Macdonald was to get younger and more pliable in terms of adapting what is there to fit what they want to run. Michigan lacked the talent to run the scheme that helped Brown’s defenses become some of the best in the country early in his career. It was time for a change and one would hope that a normal offseason to install things will go a long way in turning the defense around.
There are talented players on that side of the ball that were not put in great positions to succeed. Macdonald and the defensive staff will be judged on how they are able to develop these chess pieces moving forward.
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