Not long after Jim Harbaugh’s flirtation with the NFL ended, more departures, additions and changes to the coaching staff were revealed. With the departure of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to Miami, Michigan elevated Sherrone Moore (offensive line) and Matt Weiss (quarterbacks) to co-offensive coordinator with their respective groups. Moore was already a co-OC, but now he will be calling some of the plays.
Grant Newsome, a former player turned coach, was elevated from a graduate assistant to coach the tight ends. Mike Hart remains the running backs coach, but is also now the run game coordinator for the Wolverines. Jay Harbaugh will continue coaching special teams, but also switched over from tight ends to safeties. George Helow and Steve Clinkscale will remain with the linebackers and defensive backs, respectively. Ron Bellamy went from coaching the safeties to the wide receivers.
Jesse Minter, coming in from Vanderbilt, has officially taken over as defensive coordinator. Courtney Morgan, another former player for the Wolverines, headed out west to Washington in late 2021, opening up the Director of Player Personnel position. It was announced Tom Gamble, a former Michigan assistant and friend of Harbaugh’s from his NFL days, is taking over Morgan’s vacant position.
Now with the dust settling, what change came as the most shock, if any? Do you trust the track record of Harbaugh replenishing and reloading talent on his staff? What felt like the biggest loss, and who has the biggest shoes to fill?
What is most reassuring about the recent coaching shifts was seeing what an overhaul could do after the awful 2020 season. Making the necessary changes in the coaching room produced Harbaugh’s best season with the Maize and Blue in 2021. It’s no question Harbaugh is able to surround himself with the best people he needs to succeed, but now it’s a waiting game to see if the success of last year can be replicated. What do you think about their capabilities as they stand?
While there are a lot of new faces once more, it felt a lot better after the 2020 season. This time around there was a lot of “hate to see them go.” Once again, there is a lot to prove, but luckily fans know that bringing in new perspectives works in their favor.
There is, however, one question that bugs me and it’s how the split attention at offensive coordinator will work. It feels reflective of 2018, where there wasn’t an established offensive coordinator for the season and the play calling was a “collaborative effort.” How do you feel about another collaborative effort at offensive coordinator this season?
It’s not to say Moore and Weiss aren’t fully capable of running the offense, but more so wondering who will call the plays more often than not. Perhaps Moore will call the run plays and Weiss the pass plays, but that is left to be seen until the season actually starts. But I think people liked the centric focus of Gattis. Dividing the position once more seems odd, but I am excited to see what they do with it.
What change stood out the most to you? I think for me it was Macdonald. After a frustrating last go of it from Don Brown in 2020, Michigan fans welcomed a new face in Macdonald. There were some questions on how he would be implemented in Michigan’s system, but the need to change defensive schemes and recreate a defensive identity was enough for fans to put their trust in the first-year defensive coordinator. Macdonald was able to do that and produced a very impressive season with the Wolverines. It looked like Michigan had its answer at defensive coordinator but after proving what he was capable of, it became a reality his time with the Wolverines wouldn’t be long.
That felt like the biggest loss this offseason in the coaching room. Players admired his presence, and now Minter has to prove he can step in and do the same. Luckily in tandem Mike Elston comes to the Wolverines from Notre Dame to take over the defensive line coaching job. What’s reassuring, at least from a recruiting standpoint, is the competitive academic and athletic statuses of both Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. They got something to prove and I have faith in Harbaugh’s abilities to hire a great coaching staff.
We are in a very different position this time around when it comes to having major coaching changes. Newness was welcomed after a 2-4 season in 2020. After their success in 2021, it didn’t seem realistic to expect the same coaching staff, but there was still hope. Now that the list is finalized, we stand with some major changes once more but from a very different perspective. How are we feeling about the changes this time around?
What are some of your reservations about the new coaching changes? Who are you most excited about for the upcoming season? Do you think Michigan can repeat as Big Ten Champions with this group?
Share your thoughts about Michigan’s new coaching staff with us in the comments below!