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Mike Macdonald: The defense in Michigan will be multiple, going after people

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Now that Mike Macdonald has been working in Michigan for about a month now, things are starting to take shape.

The first-year defensive coordinator met with his coaching staff that was finalized in late January following the additions of Maurice Linguist and George Helow and communicated with returning players.

His message? The 33-year-old former linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens wants everyone to move in the same direction, Macdonald said this week. In the Trenches podcast

And that started with our gatherings when the boys got back here, and on Zoom, Macdonald told host Jon Jansen. But whatever you decide to do, it should be everyone who plays and fights for each other.

To help achieve that, Macdonald, who has never served as a defensive coordinator at any level in football, says he wants to be surrounded by people from different backgrounds. People who have coached in different schedules for different coaches and in different parts of the country.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh, with input from Macdonald, chose to keep defensive coach Shaun Nua and linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, while opting to replace cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich with Linguist, another former NFL assistant with college experience. and safety coach Bob Shoop with Helow.

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It’s about getting the right people on the bus before you go anywhere, Macdonald said. You have to be the right type of person. The right teacher. The right communicator. You must have a high character. The Xs and Os all that stuff is secondary. It is real.

When asked about his plans for the plan Michigan plans to play with, Macdonald stressed the importance of being multiple, being able to blitz when necessary, hide blitzes, and play in a zone.

It would be multiple and go after people, and would be aggressive, Macdonald said. And went blitz. It would look like we would blitz and not blitz. And went to play man. Went to play zone. Would be complementary. But it’s how you play that makes a difference.

How different Macdonald’s plan will be from that of Michigan’s previous defensive coordinator, Don Brown, remains unclear. Brown, affectionately known as Dr. Called blitz, his defense posed as overly aggressive and blitz-heavy through disguises and concept changes. And it worked for a while as Michigan’s defense ranked in the top-three nationally in total yards allowed per game from 2016 to 2018 before falling for the last two seasons.

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To get his point across, Macdonald asked a series of questions to help determine what type of player he wants.

Do you store blockers? Do you stay square? Do you communicate? Do you sign and join? Are you running for the ball like your hair is on fire? Those are the things that matter, Macdonald said. That is the standard of how we want to operate. If you can see 11 guys playing for each other every 60 minutes, that’s what it was all about.

Macdonald said the first meeting with his staff was to gather input. He wanted help in drawing up basic concepts and an attack plan for the coming weeks. Michigan will begin its spring practice schedule on Monday, earlier than usual, when much of the work will formally begin.

We’re going to install our staples and our base package, our fronts we want to live on and stuff like that, Macdonald said. But the great thing about our system is that it is a series of concepts. We were going to install our basic concepts and at that point see them as interchangeable parts that match what our guys do well.

But to do that, we have to practice, go after it and compete. Evaluate it well and get them feedback on who is doing it right, (and) who is not, so we can know how the game played.

Read more about Michigan football:

Michigan’s QB race takes a new turn: Joe Milton is handed over

Michigans’ young recipients made progress (and got their feet wet) in 2020

Another NFL mock draft features two UM players in the first round

Linebacker Adam Shibley enters the transfer portal

Michigans tight ends, marred by drops, have new leader, coach

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