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Next steps for Michigan football staff are taking shape

Next steps for Michigan football staff are taking shape

 


Sherrone Moore's first staff at Michigan is starting to take shape. It hasn't been easy, with expected and unexpected departures changing the landscape of the coaching roster.

Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and safeties coach Jay Harbaugh were expected losses, but defensive line coach Mike Elston and cornerbacks coach Steve Clinkscale heading to Los Angeles surprised people inside and outside the program.

Moore made the first major hire of what will be an all-new defensive staff by hiring defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.

All signs point to Moore finding his replacement for Elston in Wisconsin defensive line coach Greg Scruggs. Scruggs is expected in Ann Arbor on Monday, and he could join the staff in an official capacity soon.

With these additions, there are a number of paths Moore can take to round out his staff.

2024 Michigan football coaching staff

Head coach Sherrone Moore
Offensive coordinator/QB Kirk Campbell
Offensive line Grant Newsome
Tight ends Steve Casula
Running Backs VACANCY (Mike Hart)
Wide receivers Ron Bellamy

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale
Defensive line Greg Scruggs
Linebackers VACANCY
Cornerbacks VACANCY
Security VACANCY

Special teams J.B. Brown

Michigan currently has four vacant coaching positions, but only three open staff positions, with J.B. Brown currently on the special teams staff. I have not mentioned Mike Hart as there is still uncertainty surrounding his status with the program. Ron Bellamy is currently the wide receivers coach, but he offers some potential flexibility for the future.

Because Martindale is a 'walking DC', he is not assigned a position group. This makes it much more likely that JB Brown will coach a position along with special teams, similar to Jay Harbaugh in recent seasons. It's possible another coach, new tight ends coach Steve Casula or Bellamy, could also help on special teams.

Bellamy's flexibility comes into play as he could return to coach wide receivers or potentially move to safety, the position group he was originally hired to coach. Brown could also coach safeties, but he could also replace Hart at running backs if he does indeed not return to Ann Arbor.

The next positions Michigan needs to hire are linebackers and cornerbacks. It's possible they could hire a cornerbacks coach who will also coach the safeties, but I think Brown will probably still assist. Asking a coach to take care of the entire secondary education seems like a tough task.

An early name to watch at corners is Toledo cornerbacks coach Corey Parker. Parker just coached CB Quinyon Mitchell at Toledo. Mitchell was one of the best cornerbacks in all of college football and is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. A native of Detroit, Parker played college ball at Eastern and coached at Ann Arbor high schools before joining River Rouge led 13 seasons as head coach.

The linebacker coach has technically been open since Chris Partridge was fired late last year. Rick Minter, Jesse's father, coached the group for the remainder of the season, but was obviously not expected to return.

Names to watch at linebacker include former Michigan legends Roy Manning and Cato June. Manning was recently left off the USC coaching staff, while June spent the past two seasons as an assistant LB coach with the Indianapolis Colts. South Carolina linebackers coach Sterling Lucas has built a reputation as an elite recruiter for the Gamecocks, but he also spent five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens under new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

For the rest of the staff, Moore has options. The flexibility Bellamy and Brown provide allows Moore to hire the best coach available, whether it be running backs, wide receivers or safeties. Which begs the next biggest question: Will Mike Hart return?

If not, will Michigan turn to an internal option like Brown or current assistant director of player personnel Denard Robinson? If none of these three are the options, Moore will have to hire outside staff. But again, with some flexibility, Moore can pick the best coach available at multiple positions.

It's been a rocky start with many unknowns, but the hirings of Martindale and Scruggs create a path forward. With some encouraging hires at linebacker and cornerback and a strong third addition, the unknown future will be replaced with optimism and excitement.

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