this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
ranks high on the OMG WHAT DID DENARD DO TODAY scale
can you call him
OMG that's his phone number
wow wow… no, no don't call him I'm too nervous
JEDD FISCH? A name for Michigan's wildcard spot:
College FB news -- I'm hearing ex-Jags OC Jedd Fisch will be offered the Pass Game Coordinator job at University of Michigan. @FOXSports1
— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) January 8, 2015
Fisch was just fired after two seasons as the Jacksonville Jaguars' OC; before that he was OC at Miami for two years. That followed a vagabond existence as an NFL position coach mostly spent teaching WRs and QBs; his only college experience prior to his Miami run was a couple years as a GA at Florida under Spurrier. [UPDATE: Ace reminds me that Fisch was briefly at Minnesota as OC/QB when the Gophers were rolling with the pretty decent Adam Weber.]
Fisch and Jimmie Dougherty on the same staff would be a little awkward. Dougherty's done QB/WR as well, with a single year as a TE coach at San Diego. Either one of those two rumors is going to fizzle out or Michigan's going to have one of the two as a TE coach and leave the OL entirely to Drevno.
It's difficult to find out anything about Fisch other than that there are an immense number of websites willing to report on the firing of an NFL coordinator. Fisch was the architect of one of the weirdest FEI seasons in memory: Miami's 2011 offense, which finished in the middle of the pack in almost all standard metrics but was third in FEI that year for reasons I can't discern. All of Miami's individual FEI numbers are also mediocre. I don't get it. Miami was 23rd in S&P, the play-based metric, FWIW.
Fisch didn't do much in Jacksonville, but it's hard to see how he could:
Teams with successful rookie Qbs also don’t start 7-8 rookies on offense at the same time.
Successful rookie Qbs tend to have at least something to lean on, run game, great TE, a line, a Vet at WR, a great D.
This year was sausage being made. It is better to have the result than to see the process.
Blake Bortles seemed pissed that Fisch got axed, FWIW.
Getting a guy coming off four years as an OC as basically a position coach seems pretty good, if that is the case. Without a source connected to Michigan reporting it's a possibility, not a probability.
UPDATE: Sam says Fisch is in, also WR coach.
TOLBERT IN. Anvil-lifting, weight-flinging assistant 49ers S&C guy Kevin Tolbert is unofficially official:
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 8, 2015
I would hold your horses with the Gittleson worry, people who worry about those kind of things. Michigan went after Stanford's Shannon Turley hard—like seven-figure, three-year contract hard—for a reason and Harbaugh isn't going to just shrug and buy a bunch of Nautilus machines because he missed. Tolbert's been around the block with Stanford and the 49ers.
I will admit that Tolbert is one of a small number guys on staff who haven't established himself as a quality idea outside the Harbaugh orbit. I'm still not too worried about it. Harbaugh is a guy who knows how to hire guys.
WHEATLEY OFFERED. On WTKA today Sam laid out the current Wheatley situation($): offered the RB job, going back home to talk about it with his family. Currently no extra title like run game coordinator or associate head coach but a solid likelihood that one will be available in a minute here since Harbaugh people go on to do things. (His last staff at Stanford featured five current CFB head coaches and Pep Hamilton, who's probably going to be an NFL head coach in the near future.)
We should hear something soon, and that's very probably going to be yes.
OTHER NAMES. Also from WTKA today: Sam expects another coach in the secondary($) and Roy Manning is interviewing today, presumably for that spot. If Manning doesn't get that job, Marshall DC Chuck Heater is a possibility.
Heater played at Michigan and then embarked on an infinitely long career as a college assistant that has taken him through Wisconsin, OSU, ND, Colorado State, Colorado, Washington, Utah, Florida, Temple, and now Marshall. He's been a DBs coach for the large bulk of that time, added co-DC stuff under Urban Meyer for the last three years of his career there, and has been a DC the past three years. At 62 he'd probably be planning to retire at Michigan if he came, and money would not be a problem—Heater's making "just" 200k as a coordinator, something Michigan could bump a la Dougherty.
OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL. As I mentioned six months ago, DJ Durkin would be come official for the 29th time when Michigan issued an official release on his hire. They did so. Hooray, hooray.
"Reuniting with Jim at the University of Michigan is an opportunity that I could not pass up," said Durkin. "We had some great times working together at Stanford, and I look forward to producing great results at Michigan. I look forward to coaching in the Big Ten after growing up in that footprint. I am excited to return to the Midwest and recruit and teach some of the best and brightest young men in the country."
The most notable item from this blitz of non-news was Durkin saying he'd previously run both 3-4 and a 4-3 defenses and would fit the defense to his personnel. There's a distinction here that gets lost a lot: you can run a 30 front from time to time and still be a 4-3 defense. The much bigger distinction is one gap versus two gap, and a lot of 30 fronts are just 4-3 defenses in which the fourth guy is a blitzer.
FWIW, Durkin's last defense at Florida occasionally appeared to be 3-4 but played like a one-gap attacking 4-3 with a sometimes-standup Crable-esque DE and non-planet NT.
If Durkin is serious about installing a 3-4 this is what it would probably end up looking like:
- DE: Glasgow, Wormley, Poggi
- NT: Pipkins, Mone
- DE: Henry, Hurst, Godin
- WOLB: Charlton, Marshall, Ojemudia, Furbush
- SOLB: Ross, Stone, Winovich
- ILB: Morgan, Bolden, McCray, Gedeon
3-4 DEs are often three-tech types from a 4-3 under, and the nose tackles have to be super consistent at taking on doubles. Pipkins's lack of playing time last year would make me leery. Michigan has a clear 4-3 weakness—DE—as well.
I doubt Michigan will flip its defense around extensively. It's likely to remain pretty much a 4-3, give or take some frippery.
GUESSOCHART. Throwing Fisch on there and downgrading Dougherty and Manning some.
|OC||Tim Drevno||lock||DC||DJ Durkin||lock|
|QB||Jim Harbaugh||lock||DL||Greg Mattison||lock|
|RB||Tyrone Wheatley||very likely||LB||Durkin||lock|
|WR||Jedd Fisch||lock||DB||Greg Jackson||lock|
|TE||Jimmie Dougherty||probable||ST||John Baxter||lock|
S&C: Kevin Tolbert
OTHERS: Chuck Heater(CB), John Morton (WR).
Just because that one guy missed them. And because there are a thousand tiny newsbits this week.
Goodbye , Mr. Crankypants. Jim Leavitt is the third coach this season to get the axe for being mean. When was the last time even one coach fired for being a firebreathing monster to his charges? Was it John Makovic? Surely it hasn't been that long. (Gary Moeller doesn't count since his transgression didn't have anything to do with doing something mean and crazy to a student.) Inquiring minds would like to know.
Anyway, while Leavitt's lasting bitterness towards Rich Rodriguez induces a Nelson reaction the cause of that bitterness might come back to bite Michigan. Leavitt tends to react to cheatin' much like Angela Bassett, so I'm pretty sure the animosity stems from Rodriguez's tendency to pirate assistants from USF. Rodriguez yo-ho-ho-ed guys from USF three times (OC Calvin Magee, QB coach Rod Smith, and OL coach Greg Frey) in just a few years.
Now one of those guys might move into the captain's chair in Tampa:
Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville -- who has strong ties in the state from his tenure on Miami's coaching staff -- and Michigan offensive coordinator Calvin Magee are expected to be candidates to replace Leavitt, a source told ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel.
Tuberville and McCarney are both semi-retreads who were well-respected coaches terminated prematurely—McCarney led Iowa State to its only sustained success in forever—and probably have the inside track. But Tuberville might end up at Texas Tech and Magee does have more connections in Tampa than those guys. He's virtually guaranteed to get an interview since there's a lot of pressure on schools these days to informally adopt a collegiate Rooney Rule. He'll be a serious candidate.
Losing Michigan's offensive coordinator going into a critical season would be bad. Obviously.
Well hang on just a minute. That Chuck Heater rumor I dismissed earlier now seems considerably more plausible:
For the second time this week, the Dolphins have lost a key linebackers coach to the college game.
Thursday it was inside linebackers coach George Edwards who, according to a source, has resigned his position. Edwards, who the source stressed was not fired, will become defensive coordinator at the University of Florida.
This means that Heater is not going to be the defensive coordinator at Florida and suggests he might either be on the outs with the new guy—thus prompting the trial balloon rumor from Huntington—or amenable to a move back to his alma mater. FWIW, Heater and new AD David Brandon overlapped on a few teams in the 70s.
If they can add Heater it would be a coup. He's been coaching in college since two years after his Michigan career ended and has been a recruiting coordinator since 1998 (he lost that title for a promotion to assistant DC at Florida two years ago). He's almost always coached the secondary in his tenure, so it's a little bit of an awkward fit that would require Greg Robinson to handle all the linebackers, but Heater's positives seem to far outweigh that small negative. He has vast experience, excellent recruiting ties, and would be coming home. It remains to be seen whether there was any credibility in that newspaper report; here's hoping.
We has him. So I'm bringing this article from the News up with a warning to remember the wholesale politics ban around these parts. I think this guy is pretty conservative and thus inclined to like David Brandon a hell of a lot but still, sign me up for some despondency at his removal from state politics:
The precise reasons that University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman so ardently wooed Brandon -- deep management experience, sound personnel judgment, crisp communication skills and an impressive leadership mien leavened with a knack for building teams -- are precisely why Brandon will be sorely missed from the public arena that matters most in Michigan.
This 57-year-old guy who played for the legendary Bo Schembechler is leaving the field too early, long before he's done delivering his best play and long before the final gun sounds.
May Brandon's reign be long and profitable. John Bacon also has a classic Bo story involving Brandon.
It is happening.
Thank you. Darren Everson is, AFAIK, the first person to acknowledge that the Big Ten might not be a nuclear wasteland full of things that are bad at football:
In fact, the Big Ten does just fine year after year—in the early New Year's Day bowls that no one remembers. (It's the big games that have been the embarrassments.) Over the past dozen seasons, the Big Ten is now 13-11 against the SEC in the Outback and Capital One bowls. That is a winning record over a significant time span against upper-level SEC teams in SEC country. …
Another myth that needs to die: the belief that Big Ten teams are boring and stuck in the Stone Ages strategically. Northwestern put on arguably the most entertaining bowl performance since Boise State's classic Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma following the 2006 season.
It's a delightful novelty when someone actual forms an opinion based on data coming into his senses.
Etc.: Three Penn State blogs consolidate into one borg blog. DocSat with sympathy for Colt McCoy. I would also like to extend sympathy to everyone who watched that eye-bleeding game in which both coaches seemed determine to out-caveman each other after the McCoy injury.