The Michigan Wolverines are set for a massive 2023 football season as Jim Harbaugh and almost his entire staff return with a veteran-led team.
One of those returning staff members is defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, who did not miss a step from a defense that lost three elite talents from a season before. All Minter did was build a “no-star” unit that earned top marks for the majority of the season, utilizing both true freshmen and experienced players in the process.
Accolades came Minter’s way, including being named a finalist for the Broyles Award, named to the best assistant coach in college football. While he came up just short, he has a lot of hype coming into 2023, earning some praise from Pro Football Focus for being the No. 2 defensive coordinator in the country.
Top 10 Defensive Coordinators in College Football, via @Chad_Maxwick pic.twitter.com/Pr7TXkvoh4— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 30, 2023
Minter was a finalist for the Broyles Award this past season in his first year as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. He’s one of two finalists who remain a college coordinator in 2023 — the other being the winner Garrett Riley, who’s our top returning offensive coordinator in college football.
Even after losing stars like Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo and Daxton Hill, the Wolverines’ 93.7 team defense grade this past season trailed only Iowa. They were also fourth in the Power Five in terms of EPA allowed per play.
Michigan allowed a scoring drive on only 22% of opposing drives, the fourth-lowest rate in the FBS in 2022. - PFF’s Max Chadwick
Iowa’s Phil Parker was the only coordinator named above Minter.
The Wolverines' defense was not predicted to be as strong as it was last year, but Minter found a way to come in and follow a similar script from 2021. Obviously, some big things happened, like Will Johnson living up to his five-star status and Mike Morris becoming a monster off the edge.
One thing I don’t think Minter got enough credit for was managing the locker room. There were endless rotations on the defensive line, and no one ever said anything about playing time. The same could be said with the secondary as Mike Sainristil switched from offense to defense, creating a crowded room at corner.
The team embraced their “no-star” status and played without egos while having a chip on their shoulder. That is not an easy mentality to teach and maintain. Minter deserves a lot of the credit for how successful the defense was last season, and he is a big reason why Michigan should be favored to make the College Football Playoff again in 2023.