DURKIN STUFF. He's coaching Florida right now, for what little a January third bowl game as an interim means. Expect him to be announced tonight or tomorrow; Florida players aren't happy he's leaving:
"I think he's an amazing coach," safety Keanu Neal told The Sun. "I hate that he's leaving, but it is what it is, it's part of the business. But he's been the same. He's been coaching his tail off, like he would have if he had a job. I'm surprised that he's doing that. He's really doing a good job."
Durkin did special teams before he got elevated to DC and may be able to chip in some there, especially with Mattison sticking around.
DREVNO STUFF. Allen Trieu pings various Scout analysts for information on new Michigan OC coach Tim Drevno and comes back with a mixed bag on his recruiting but a highly positive take on his coaching skills. USC folks didn't seem blown away by his salesmanship, but at Stanford—where Harbaugh had coaches recruit their position no matter where the recruits were geographically—this list of names is stunning:
He had David DeCastro, Jonathan Martin, Kevin Danser, Khalil Wilkes, Sam Schwartzstein, David Yankey, who were really big ones, all guys who were the backbone there, and he was the point person or the initial evaluator on those guys and developed a few before he left with Harbaugh. Decastro was a top tier guy, Martin was a three-star, Yankey was a three-star out of Georgia, Wilkes was from Georgia, so they were identifying guys and he developed them and was the point person there and he contributed a lot to the outstanding offensive line they had under Harbaugh and the early part of David Shaw.
I've started going over old Stanford games and it's boggling to watch a team in 2010 just mashing opponents off the ball with power, power, power.
NO FERRIGNO. Michigan's worst-performing assistant will not return.
So @TomLoy247 tells me Dan Ferrigno will not return as Michigan's tight end coach.
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) January 3, 2015
Under Ferrigno, Michigan special teams were dismal. Their archaic punt formations cost them return after return, lanes on kickoffs and punt returns were nonexistent, and fielding eleven players was a challenge not always met.
Meanwhile Michigan's tight ends improved in no way whatsoever. Even the much-maligned Darrell Funk saw his OL take a major step forward this year.
MARROW ON THE CLOCK. In related news, multiple outlets are reporting($) that Kentucky TE coach Vince Marrow has an offer in hand from Michigan and should decide on it by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. The Michigan side of things is confident here, with rumors that it was Marrow reaching out to Michigan rampant and Sam Webb saying a friend of Marrow pegs it at 98%($).
Kentucky folk are relying on Marrows long association with Mark Stoops, but even if they make the money equal a guy like Marrow—who was a GA as recently as three years ago—is probably going to consider job security highly, and even though Mark Stoops is doing pretty well for himself the flameout rate of Kentucky coaches is near 100%.
THIS PERSON ISN'T ACTUALLY A COACH BUT HE'S CLOSE I GUESS. Longtime Harbaugh associate Jim Minick will be Michigan's director of operations. As of 2011, Minick was working as a Marine recruiter in a 14 state area—he's a retired colonel. Minick and Harbaugh go way, way back. Like third grade way back. In fifth grade, meanwhile:
And we were playing football in the front yard. You know, my brothers and Jim and John, and we were arguing over a call, Jim and I were. Jim and I are – I guess from our parents’ side, unfortunately – very much alike. So we’re arguing over a call, and his dad and my dad just kind of look at each other and go, ‘Damn it, that’s enough. You two fight.’ So right in the front yard, our parents had Jim and Jim square off in a fistfight, just to quit arguing about calls. And sure enough, that’s what we did. And I caught him real good. I caught him right in the mouth, cut my hand open on his tooth. Blood’s everywhere. And at that point, they broke us up. And the funny thing about it is, because the fight was called because my hand was bleeding, Jim claims he won the fight.
Minick should bring some stability to the football ops spot after it's seen five different people occupy in the years after Brad Labadie was fired for his role in stretchgate. I imagine a retired Marine colonel will manage to get his paperwork done.
ETC.: Nebraska hires 49ers OL coach Reggie Davis, so he won't be joining Harbaugh at Michigan.
So yesterday was the first time we really got to try out my brother's new double-TV basement setup. The plan was to watch all of the football for 14 straight hours, but once the Wisconsin game ended the kinderfolk had taken over TV2 and put on the movie that the current generation of kinderfolk cannot stop watching: Frozen. During one lengthy halftime, we acquiesced to a volume swap, and soon enough here's this room full of men in MSU and Alabama and Michigan gear intently watching a (double-) princess flick.
|This won the internet' in December. By Red_Lee|
From what I've managed to piece together of the plot from 30+ partial viewings, there's a snowy kingdom with a rich shipping and ice manufacturing industrial base that comes to be ruled by a princess with magical ice powers. As a kid she shoots her sister with it. Later the sister gets engaged to a prince she doesn't bother to scout, and as a result ice princess accidentally locks her country in a polar vortex. Ice princess then runs off, sings "eff it all" and builds ice castles until her sister shows up, at which point she shoots her sister again. So now she has to come back and make things right, which leads to her shooting her sister a third time, and this slowly turns sis into an ice statue. Then ice princess hugs the statue and cries, and everything suddenly goes back to summer because all along she had the ability to de-ice everything by loving something other than herself.
Message received, Disney. Now that Michigan's leadership is actually focusing on the realm instead of the realm's perception of its leadership, it turns out our wealthy little Nordic fantasy land doesn't have to be a barren, frozen waste-tundra after all.
Bronxblue gave the whole coaching search his Best and Worst treatment. Like the rest of us, he found the whole thing refreshingly sensical, like Michigan was acknowledging factors that created bad decisions in the past, and was approaching the pursuit of Harbaugh and Plan B with a zeal for deliberation and responsibility that Dave Brandon put into presenting himself as deliberate and responsible.
He also got into the meta of reporting on this process. As a rule of thumb, the more a media person is saying "trust ME" instead of "trust THIS INFORMATION" the less you should believe him.
[After the jump, a long discussion of the running game next year, and a moment of zen you don't want to miss]
Michigan (8-5) at
West Lafayette, Indiana
|WHEN||2:15 pm ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Purdue -4 (KenPom)|
PBP: Eric Collins
Analyst: Shon Morris
Right: Purdue's enigmatic center AJ Hammons no longer has to contend with Jordan Morgan. He has, however, lost his starting job to freshman Isaac Haas. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. %Min and %Poss figure are from this season now—yes, there will be a fair amount of noise in these numbers for a while. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open.
|G||1||Bryson Scott||So.||6'1, 206||30||27||Yes|
|High usage but not efficient; poor shooter and turnover-prone. Active defender.|
|G||0||Jon Octeus||Sr.||6'4, 175||61||16||No|
|Low usage, solid shooter, good rebounder for a guard.|
|G||21||Kendall Stephens*||So.||6'6, 197||60||21||Not at all|
|High-volume, high-efficiency three-point gunner. Not good inside arc.|
|G||35||Raphael Davis||Jr.||6'5, 217||62||19||Yes|
|Gets to rim a lot, finishes well, draws a lot of fouls, good FT shooter.|
|C||44||Isaac Haas||Fr.||7'2, 297||44||30||Very|
|Massive FR started last 6 games. Great finisher, rebounder. Draws tons of fouls.|
|C||20||AJ Hammons*||Jr.||7'0, 261||50||30||Very|
|Great rebounder and shot-blocker having down year offensively.|
|F||12||Vince Edwards||Fr.||6'7, 220||65||18||No|
|Efficient scorer both inside and outside. Solid offensive rebounder.|
|G||3||PJ Thompson||Fr.||5'10, 188||46||11||Yes|
|Small guy, smaller usage. Not much of a shooter.|
|G||31||Dakota Mathias||Fr.||6'4, 197||38||13||No|
|35% three-point shooter, just 4/15 from two on the season.|
Purdue, being a Purdue team of recent vintage, has a truly bizarre resume born of wild inconsistency. In nonconference play they posted quality wins over #36 BYU in the Maui Invitational and #81 NC State at home. Losses to #105 Kansas State and #52 Vanderbilt were at the very least understandable given the nine- and ten-point margins. Not so much the 31-point neutral court blowout at the hands of #18 Notre Dame, and certainly not the upset home losses to #172 North Florida and #160 Gardner Webb. The Vandy-ND-GW defeats all came in a row before the Boilermakers tipped off Big Ten play by... beating #29 Minnesota by four at home.
I don't know what to make of them, either.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
247 is reporting that three different recruits have been contacted by Greg Mattison in his capacity as a Michigan assistant coach within the last day. It's not clear what his role is, but we're going to guess he ends up as a DL or LB coach with either a co-DC or associate head coach title and put him on the assistant board in ink:
|OC||Tim Drevno||lock||DC||DJ Durkin||lock|
|RB||Ty Wheatley||probable||LB||Greg Mattison||lock|
|WR||Tim Morton||probable||OLB/DE||Roy Manning||probable|
Drevno may take on the offensive line by himself or Michigan may add a dedicated OL coach. Sam says Michigan is reaching out to OL coaches($), including Oklahoma's. Adding an OL coach would either mean that Michigan goes with just four guys on D or Marrow isn't added—I doubt that anyone would go without an RB or WR coach.
USE THE FORCE JIM. Daily article on Harbaugh's mentors with them all lined up…
…and the mind instantly puts them in this:
Sorry, Mr. Carr. Shouldn't have stood in the center.
MATTISON IS PRETTY MUCH IN. Man is still recruiting:
Isaac Nauta (@inauta24) said he talked to Greg Mattison: “He said I know you’re committed, but we’re going to recruit you until you sign.”
— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) January 1, 2015
GET THIS MAN A TATTOO. Mark the Nomad has got to get some ink:
He's looking for the internet to fund it, in order to slightly reduce the chance this results in a divorce.
FIFTH YEAR OPTIONS. A quick glance at the roster will tell you that Michigan should be in the market for a graduate transfer QB. Their current options are either freshmen, Russell Bellomy, or Shane Morris. The former two have never played in college; the latter two have struggled immensely when they've gotten in the game. So this bit of news is intriguing:
A redshirt junior on track to graduate in June, [the Chicken Bowl] was probably [Kevin] Hogan’s last shot in a Stanford uniform. He hasn't addressed whether he'll return for his final year of eligibility, and head coach David Shaw intimated that Hogan didn't want to discuss it before the end of the season.
Harbaugh recruited Hogan, and he's obviously got he academic chops to make a smooth transition.
Hogan wasn't a world-beater this year (or he wouldn't be transferring) but he did finish with a 66% completion rating, 7.9 YPA, and a 19-8 TD-INT ratio. He's also a decent runner. He would almost certainly be an upgrade on Michigan's current options, and he knows the offense.
Another option: Everett Golson. Golson dropped off a cliff at the end of this year, as he turned into a turnover machine and split time with Malik Zaire in the bowl game. ND insiders and message boards are rumbling about a potential departure. If I had to bet I'd say he returns to ND, but keep an eye out if he doesn't.
DISCOUNT STILL IN EFFECT. Moe's is taking advantage of an opportunity with an enthusiasm unknown to retail-activation-kind.
AND SUDDENLY YOU'RE A FREE AGENT. Bills coach Doug Marrone has a bizarre window built into his contract that allows him to opt out at no cost… one he's just exercised. This puts his assistants in serious limbo, one of whom is Tyrone Wheatley. Even before this happened a lot of Michigan folk suspected that Wheatley would end up in Ann Arbor; now it seems highly, highly probable.
ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN OURS. LSU fans have always been turning on Les Miles, but now the knives are well and truly out. Miles is losing DC John Chavis to a megaoffer from A&M, leaving LSU scrambling to keep their defense as good as it needs to be to keep the wonky Tiger offense from submarining seasons.
ADDING TO MOUNT NFLWRONG. He hates recruiting!
Every old coach/staffer/whatever I've ever talked to who knows Harbaugh has ranted about how much he actually enjoys recruiting.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) December 31, 2014
His wife didn't want to come!
Was just talking to @IronsJarrett when Harbaugh's wife stopped to chat...she mentioned her shock re: rumors she wouldn't leave the Bay Area.
— angelique (@chengelis) December 30, 2014
His heart is in the NFL!
York, though, would not shed any light on what was said in those discussions, saying they were "private" in nature, though he did acknowledge that teams had inquired about trading for Harbaugh, and Harbaugh was not interested.
It was all about the money!
Jim Harbaugh told Hackett he did NOT want to be the highest paid coach in CFB, or even the Big Ten. More concerned with pay for assistants.
— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) December 30, 2014
NOPE. If you were wondering if Devin Funchess would return to the team because Harbaugh, your answer is no:
Just met coach harbaugh...Wish him the best with Team 136! Great guy glad he got the job #goblue
— Devin Funchess (@D_FUNCH) December 31, 2014
He'll be a first or second round pick in the draft even with the disappointing finish to his year.
WHAT ON EARTH. There is a woman named Ann Arbaugh who lives in Ann Arbor. And she's…
The Ohio State graduate said she hasn't abandoned her Buckeye roots, and that she's become an Ann Arborite but not quite a Wolverine-lover.
…an Ohio State graduate. Life is weird.
COLTS ON HARBAUGH. They didn't think he was a total weird megalomaniac:
"I've read about that side of him, but that's it," Ward says. "He was not thought of in that way (here), and it doesn't characterize Jim as we knew him. He was intensely competitive, absolutely, but he was a great team player and scrappy and always, always battling for the team."
Indianapolis fell in love with Harbaugh, in part because he was the anti-Jeff George, a superstar talent whose less-than-superstar results and aloof air – think Jay Cutler – rubbed people the wrong way. Jeff George was not what the city of Indianapolis craved in a leader. Jim Harbaugh was, and he gave this city what it loved.
There was the 1995 AFC championship game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, when the Colts trailed 20-16 in the final minutes and Harbaugh was bleeding from a torn hand and still leading the team down the field before his final pass, a heave into the end zone, bounced away from Colts receiver Aaron Bailey.
"I remember blood dripping from his hand," Ward says, "and he singlehandedly pretty much drove the team within inches of winning that game."
If you missed it, Brian handled the recruiting primer for which needs Michigan should fill to finish out the 2015 class. Today's recruiting roundup will attempt to figure out which prospects are most likely to fill the ten or so remaining spots.
THE MOST LIKELY CANDIDATES
CT TE Chris Clark (4*, #2 TE, #80 Ovr. on 247 Composite): Clark, a former Michigan commit, consistently stated over the last few weeks that his interest in the Wolverines would rise significantly if Harbaugh took the job. He spoke with Harbaugh—whom he called the "LeBron James of coaching"—this week and told MLive's Nick Baumgardner it went very well:
"We kind of just talked about how he hopes Michigan turns into 'Tight End U,' and all the top tight ends he produced while he was at Stanford," said Clark, who will play in the Under Armour All-American Game on Friday. "I think six of them went on to the NFL. He said he thinks I could be a great leader for the class, and he's just hoping I'll be a part of it.
"He was a really cool guy, I liked him a lot."
Clark is now down to Michigan and UCLA, and I'd guess he ends up back in the fold.
MI ATH John Kelly (3*, #57 ATH): Kelly could play either running back or defensive back at the next level, though given Michigan's needs I'd guess he'll be recruited for defense. He spoke with Harbaugh within the last couple days and told 247's Steve Lorenz he was "really pumped" about the conversation ($). Even prior to that, he indicated Michigan was moving up his list ($):
"I would love to play for Coach Harbaugh," Kelly said. "I hear he's a tough coach. I'm looking to play for a coach that will try to squeeze out all of the talent and potential in me. His hiring is a great thing for Michigan as well. As long as he contacts me and my family, the chances of me playing at Michigan will definitely increase."
Michigan State is Michigan's chief competition, with Minnesota and Iowa also factoring in. Getting Kelly could help M's efforts in pulling in another major target: former RB commit and current OSU pledge Mike Weber, who's close friends with Kelly; they'd stated in the past they'd like to play together in college, and the Buckeyes aren't pursuing Kelly.
[Hit THE JUMP for probable visitors, other candidates, and the names you can scratch off the wish list.]