Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jim Harbaugh’s Coaching Staff Challenge

Jim Harbaugh’s Coaching Staff Challenge

At the end of 1968, Bo Schembechler replaced coach Bump Elliott, as the Wolverines head coach. While interviewing Gary Moeller, for Bo’s Warriors, we talked about what it was like arriving in Ann Arbor for the upcoming 1969 season. Gary was a position coach on the defense at that time.

Gary indicated that Bo’s concern was having a thorough understanding of what he had in a way of talent. Bo also told the coaches to treat with respect, the previous coaching staff and not express any negatives about them in any way. Likely, evaluating, Michigan’s current roster is a priority for new head coach John Harbaugh. On offense, questions like “Do I have a Big Ten quarterback?  Do I have explosive running backs, wide receivers and tight ends? Do I have an offensive line to provide protection for my quarterback, and that can open holes for my running backs?”

In order to evaluate players, coach Harbaugh has to have his staff filled. More than likely he has found his line coach and offensive coordinator in Tim Drevno. It is rumored that Greg Mattison the defensive coordinator for previous coach Brady Hoke would like to stay on at Michigan. Greg has a ton of coaching experience at both the college and NFL levels. Prior to coming to Michigan, Greg coached for John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens, taking over from Rex Ryan. Mr. Mattison first worked under Jack Harbaugh the head coach at Western Michigan University. In other words, Greg has a personal and professional relationship with the Harbaugh family.

It’s just been reported that D. J. Durkin is joining Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan staff as his defensive coordinator. D. J. played at bowling green, and was a team captain. He also was a graduate assistant for the newly appointed head coach Urban Meyer for two seasons. He left and coached at Notre Dame before leaving to join Jim Harbaugh at Stanford from 2007-2009.  He was then reunited with Coach Meyer who coached the Florida Gators. He stayed on and was named the interim head coach for Will Muschamp until just recently. It’s obvious that the young Mr. Durkin is on a fast track

Another rumor surfaced recently that Tyrone Wheatley is interested in becoming part of Jim’s coaching staff. Wheatley from Inkster, Michigan had a terrific career at Michigan and ranks number five on their all-time net rushing yards. His yards/attempt at 6.1 is second to Denard Robinson’s 6.2. His 47 touchdowns rank second to Anthony Thomas’s 55.

I remember Wheatley’s 1993 Rose Bowl performance where he had touchdown runs of 88, 56 and 24 yards. I also remember his success with the Oakland Raiders under Coach Jon Gruden with the West Coast offense. Leaving the NFL, Tyrone coached track at the University Michigan and in high school. Currently, he is a coach on the Buffalo Bills staff. However, Buffalo Bill’s head coach Doug Marrone resigned recently, and likely Tyrone will be without a NFL job. Tyrone Wheatley, the Michigan native, was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. He more than likely would be a great addition to Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan staff.

Jim Harbaugh take advantage of Gary Moeller, Lloyd Carr, and your father Jack and other former Michigan coaches in the area. They’ll be great at spring practice, as well as on the recruiting trail. You’ll need special eyes in evaluating your spring practice players. Spring practice will likely give you a good idea of the available talent for the 2015 season. Player development is also needed on your team. Utilize all your resources. Good luck, Jim.

Go Blue!

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