[Ed. A—Thanks to Orion Sang and The Michigan Daily crew for passing along audio]
This is kind of interesting for us.
Just last year we were on the other side—
“Oh, that’s right, on the other—”
How’s it been for you?
“Uh, this has been just a great opportunity and coach Harbaugh has been a guy that obviously I’ve followed for a long time, and the opportunity to come and learn from him and kind of see how someone else kind of does it and puts it together, it’s really been a lot of fun.”
Can you take us through how he contacted you, and how long did it take you to jump on this offer?
“Well, kind of, maybe, I don’t know if he got the wrong number and I answered. You know, I don’t really know how it came about but we got a phone call and was obviously very excited to come and, if nothing else, just getting an opportunity to kind of stand in the background and see how something’s operated, and that’s what’s been really good. He extended the offer and I was really excited about that. My wife and I are really excited about being in Ann Arbor.”
Taking over the wide receiver group, what was the first thing you wanted to teach this group of wide receivers?
“Well, I think there obviously is a lot of talent there, and good, young talent. The thing I really enjoy is being in that room with them. They’re really good people, good young men.
“For us, one of the focus areas has been ability to, number one, get open, especially against all the press coverage that you see. They’ve really worked on honing their skills and trying to do what we’re trying to teach them to do, and yet we’ve got a long ways to go, but at the same time it’s really a fun group of guys and it’s great to be around them.”
[After THE JUMP: Curr Dogg, SEC speed, and how the basketball team could fuel the WR group’s success]
We are at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, which now is the time to book those rooms for football next year because those fill up.
We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other
We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there would be VERY long hiatuses between podcasts.
Bracketology: Even the biggest skeptics are coming around on Michigan as a 6-7 seed: NCAA and their buckets make it annoying because a win at Michigan State is the same as a “Quadrant One” trip to Penn State. Encouraging to see head of the selection committee say strength of nonconference is garbage. Big Ten goes to 20 games next year so we’ll see fewer Houston Baptists.
Poole eating into Matthews’s minutes, which is a nice thing to see given CM’s turnovers. MAAR is up to 20% usage. Michigan can beat anybody when they’re getting a huge shot differential from their turnover avoidance. Posting up on Dunc doesn’t work anymore. Peak Wisconsin names—Happ took 23 twos in that game!
Big Ten future: Indiana should be back up, Maryland will solidify itself, Brad Underwood a good hire at Illinois. Annually convince ourselves that Iowa will be good, but they’re 250th on defense. Penn State preview: Watkins gets angry—go get him Mo! Unlikable players in the Big Ten?
2. The Ball of Crap so We Aren’t Talking Recruiting Segment
starts at 34:01
Curling! Signing Day: Michigan recruiting imploded and we don’t know why. Otis Reese is understandable because Georgia is paying ridiculous money. Losing Herron from the 2019 class hurts.
Jim McElwain: he’s a position coach who can’t recruit, don’t think he’s a competent dude or a good dude—denigrating players like Mark Mangino. Made up a death threat. Credit card fraud. Track record as a WRs coach but as a 10th assistant he’s a wasted opportunity more than anything. Nobody down South likes him so you’re not even getting some help in Florida recruiting. Like Sherrone Moore and Ed Warriner hires. Not great that Pep is still around if it’s only because he didn’t get an NFL offer.
3. Gimmicky Top Five: Top Five Things NCAA Would Cite Beilein For
starts at 52:51
The FBI is going to come down on a lot of programs and the people in Ann Arbor aren’t scared, but we’re going to try to figure out what they’d find if they put Michigan’s basketball program under the microscope. This is what Michigan State failed to do—we’re getting out in front!
4. Ace’s Hockey Podcast wsg David Nasternak
starts at 1:06:26
Sweep weekend over #1 Notre Dame gives them a shot at the playoffs, provided they take care of business down the stretch vs. Arizona State—tournament upsets can really hurt teams in the 13-15 at-large area. ND was a good matchup for us because Michigan's an offensive team that can control the puck.
“We Will Not Make It (Not Without You)”—Twin Peaks
“The Star Spangled Banner”—Francis Scott Key, as “performed” by Fergie
So Michigan just hired Jim McElwain to coach football in some capacity. That capacity is apparently offensive coordinator and WR coach. This doesn't make much sense to me. McElwain becomes Michigan's fourth offensive coordinator, more or less, along with Harbaugh, Drevno, and Hamilton. He may be second amongst equals, for whatever that's worth.
McElwain was a notoriously bad recruiter at Florida, failing to crack the top ten once during his tenure and finishing no better than fifth in the SEC, and that was with a steady stream of Questionable Dudes that came highly rated but had seen various other teams back off. Those questionable dudes saw their super powers combine into a credit card scam that got a tenth of the team suspended last year. If you were to go back and re-rank recruiting classes by removing confirmed knuckleheads, Florida would plummet towards the nether reaches of the SEC.
Whatever offensive aptitudes he seemed to demonstrate at Alabama and Colorado State evaporated in a haze of ineptitude in Florida. Spencer Hall:
Statistically, Jim McElwain turned 2017 Florida into 2017 Rutgers. There is no evidence McElwain or the offensive staff can develop a quarterback or build an offensive line or tell a wideout how to run a route. There’s actually less and less evidence the offense is even designed competently. The big highlight—maybe the only real morbid but funny highlight, really—of watching Gary Danielson this season call a long string of SEC blowouts has been him literally correcting play design for Florida on the screen. He does this when not openly laughing at false starts and procedural penalties. It’s a full to-do list when watching Florida football, and just getting through half of it should earn him an Emmy.
Watch Florida left tackle Martez Ivey start yelling at the left guard on the Furbush touchdown before the play is even over:
You! Come over here! I know you're in the middle of a football play, but look upon the destruction your incompetence has wrought! Feel in your very bones the touchdown you have given up and shall never recover from! Eat at Arby's!
Also here is Florida's quarterback getting hammered on a rollout that Michigan rushed three on.
That's some dystopian business right there, and we should slow our roll a little given the evident dysfunction of the opponent. How much? I don't know.
McElwain doing well at Alabama proves little; having a decent offense at Colorado State because five-star Dee Hart needed a landing spot and rushed for 6.6 YPC doesn't prove a whole lot more. What success Florida did have under McElwain was an artifact of a trash SEC East and a defense he inherited from Will Muschamp.
On the positive side, McElwain does have a lengthy tenure as a collegiate WR coach stretching from 1987 to 2005, with the odd QB or special teams duty thrown in. And he probably has some great stories about John L Smith, who he coached under for five years at Louisville and Michigan State.
The best thing about this hire is that it doesn't really matter since it's Harbaugh's offense anyway. While McElwain comes in with a very Greg Robinson track record—aging successes and recent debacles paired with press interactions that make him seem slightly insane—he's not going to be put in charge of half the team and subsequently told to run something he's completely unfamiliar with. But neither is he likely to move the needle in recruiting or help organize the team. He'll seem like a brilliant WR coach because Michigan's WRs are about to get a lot better by virtue of not being freshmen, in the same way Ron English was a god until he wasn't.
Maybe once released from the prison of being a head coach he's actually a good offensive coordinator—but Michigan doesn't need tactical help. They need someone who can throw a ball straight and an offensive line that doesn't get that guy and his backup murdered. They do need a skill position coach and McElwain sort of fits there. He seems more like a duplicate of a duplicate, and he is very hard to take seriously after his year of baffling press conferences and Keystone Kops coaching.
He's a tenth assistant, and therefore more of a missed opportunity than a burgeoning disaster. And since every other thing with a track record immediately defies it when it arrives to do Michigan football things (except Don Brown, God bless Don Brown), maybe he'll be brilliant.