This offseason, the Michigan Wolverines went through a massive overhaul on the coaching staff that brought about a youth movement under Jim Harbaugh. Gone are the days of Don Brown’s defense and in is Mike Macdonald, who is currently implementing a brand new defensive scheme.
Macdonald is a young man in his own right, but he surrounded himself with
Helow, 34, played for Ed Orgeron and Houston Nutt at Ole Miss from 2006-10 and graduated with a business degree in marketing and earned his masters during a stop at Georgia. He has spent time on staffs with Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher, Mark Richt, and more.
He broke into coaching in 2012 with Saban at Alabama as a defensive intern before moving on to Florida State as a defensive graduate assistant in 2013. Georgia brought him in to coach the safeties from 2014-15 before spending four seasons at Colorado State in a variety of roles. Those included coaching the linebackers and safeties. Helow coached the inside linebackers and coordinated the special teams last season at Maryland under Mike Locksley.
Helow is another one of a handful of young and rising names to join Harbaugh’s staff this offseason. He was originally brought in to coach the safeties, but the departure of Brian Jean-Mary later in the hiring process caused Michigan to shuffle some other things around. The good news for Michigan was that by sliding him elsewhere, he is not going somewhere that he is not comfortable.
Given that Helow has been a member of two national championship teams and worked with some notable names, it is not a surprise to see him getting an opportunity. At Michigan, he will be tasked with a linebacker room that has a lot of athleticism and potential, but still quite a bit of work to do.
Like Macdonald, it is hard to get a gauge on what type of development he will be responsible until we see the new defense play meaningful snaps. Michigan’s inside backers this year project to be Josh Ross and Mike Barrett starting out, both players that have shown promise but also struggled at times. Barrett is making a position change after playing the hybrid safety/linebacker (VIPER) role in Brown’s defense. That could be a name to watch when monitoring Helow’s time on the job early on.