We are into another week of waiting for official word to drop one way or another on the Jim Harbaugh saga with the Michigan Wolverines, but time keeps ticking away at some major decisions looming with the program.
In any other offseason, the head coach would be locked in and the process of sorting out his staff would be well underway. This could very well be going down at Michigan behind the scenes, but there has been little evidence available one way or another.
The next few days are incredibly important in that the Michigan staff has six assistants on it that have contracts expiring effective Monday. Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider says that their contracts could shift month-to-month while things are sorted out ($), but that might be a crazy road to go down and I’m not sure how that’s beneficial to anyone.
Here are the six coaches that are set to see their deals expire Monday without resolution soon.
Ben McDaniels, quarterbacks coach
McDaniels just wrapped up his second season in his roles coaching the quarterback room and without doing a deep-dive, it seems pretty reasonable to say the chances of him being retained are not high. Shea Patterson regressed last season and outside of snippets of Cade McNamara in 2020, things did not go great there this season, either.
Jay Harbaugh, running backs coach
Should the elder Harbaugh stick around, it stands to reason that his son will, too. He is valuable as a recruiter and has helped the team land several talented backs on the trail over the last number of years, Donovan Edwards being the latest in line. If not at running backs coach, there is still a place for him here.
Sherrrone Moore, tight ends coach
Moore was brought over from Central Michigan before the 2019 season and has been everything Michigan could ask for and more. He is an ace recruiter and is seen as one of the top rising assistants in college football. Michigan has him to thank for his role in helping land and secure the commitments of five-stars in JJ McCarthy and Daxton Hill, as well as four-stars Donovan Edwards, AJ Henning, and others. Other schools have been poking around and will continue to do so, but he should stick around as long as he still wants to be in Ann Arbor.
Ed Warinner, offensive line coach
If there is a person on this staff that deserves a blank check and pretty much whatever he asks for, Warinner would be the guy. He joined the staff a few seasons ago as an analyst before circumstances allowed him to take on the offensive line coaching role full-time. While not the best recruiter from a ratings standpoint, he has found guys with developable traits and turned them into starters and NFL Draft picks.
Shaun Nua, defensive line coach
Nua is an extremely likable guy and his players love working with him, but he could very well wind up being a casualty of an overhaul on defense. Michigan has whiffed on the recruiting trail on several defensive tackle targets and the ones they do have on the roster have come along slowly. The Wolverines need more from the front four and might be in the market for a different voice.
Mike Zordich, cornerbacks coach
This one could go either way. Zordich is not exactly an elite recruiter, but he has routinely squeezed every possible drop out of the cornerback room with the talent he has. The problem is that over the last few years, that talent has dropped off a bit. While the 2020 season was a disaster across the board, one of the positives was that the corners did improve as the season went on. A case can be made for him either way.
Other things to sort out
Looming over the assistant coaching search is Don Brown’s replacement, which could be anywhere from Derek Mason to Charlie Strong to Will Muschamp. It has been said that Michigan might be looking for defensive coordinators with head coaching experience to get things turned around, which likely means the person that gets hired will determine who fills out the staff.
Not mentioned so far in this writeup is safeties coach Bob Shoop, who does not have an expiring deal but did not coach with the program for undisclosed reasons this fall. It does not seem like a hot take to suggest his employment by U-M is likely entering the final stages, but we’ll see.
And then, oh yeah, the head coach still needs to sign a deal. Michigan does not seem like it wants to move forward on a lame-duck year, so we should be getting a resolution on the Harbaugh contract sooner rather than later at this point. However, it has been a month since the talk of the contract emerged, so everyone is taking shots in the dark at the moment.