Hello: Jedd Fisch, Wide Receivers

Submitted by Brian on January 9th, 2015 at 12:11 PM


visor pace Spurrier

Per many, many people, Michigan's hired former Jacksonville Jaguars OC Jedd Fisch as a WR coach and "passing game coordinator."

Fisch's coaching trajectory is an odd one. He played high school tennis, showed up at Florida hoping to sign up as a manager, and got rebuffed. He got a break a bit later:

An assistant coach for the Gators was recruiting one of the players on Fisch’s high school team, and before long, he had invited Fisch to do odd jobs around the football office. He spent a year quietly laboring before another assistant started giving Fisch higher-profile tasks.

His break had come. Finally.

“After a year of hiding around the office to do random projects, Coach Spurrier started noticing the work I was doing and liked what I was doing,” Fisch said. “Our relationship grew tremendously.”

After a couple of years as a GA under Spurrier at Florida, Fisch latched on to a defensive quality control spot with the Texans for a few years, then got an assistant (to the) QB/WR coach job with the Ravens, a spot he held for four years.

At this point his career blew up. First he got an honest-to-God position coach slot coaching WRs with the Broncos. That didn't last. The next year he was Minnesota's offensive coordinator and QB coach. That didn't last. He bounced back to the NFL the next year as the Seahawks' QB coach. That didn't last; the next year he was OC/QB with Miami (college edition); after two years of that he bounced to Jacksonville, where he was just unceremoniously terminated.

Fisch hasn't been anywhere for more than two years since his stint as an assistant to an assistant with the Ravens and has held three different offensive coordinator slots since 2009.

College performance:

2008 Minnesota 77 76 88 60 Weber (SO)
2009 Minnesota 80 81 103 67 Weber (JR)
2010 Minnesota 34 67 75 47 Weber (SR)
2010 Miami 54 28 35 61 Morris (FR)/Harris(JR)
2011 Miami 3 23 26 18 Jacory Harris, SR
2012 Miami 47 41 16 25 Stephen Morris, JR
2013 Miami 14 5 11 10 Stephen Morris, SR

Fisch's first year with the Hurricanes (which was also Al Golden's first year) saw a drastic improvement at QB. The year before an interception-flinging Jacory Harris struggled to the point where he was platooned with true freshman Stephen Morris. Harris completed 55% of his passes for 6.6 YPA and had a TD:INT of 14:15.

Fisch enters; Harris holds the job for the entirety of his senior season, completes 65% at 8.3 a pop and has a 20:9 TD:INT. Miami leaps from the middle of the pack in YPA to the top 20 and maintains that performance the next two years as Morris becomes a solid option.

The 2011 Miami season stands out as one of the weirdest in advanced stats. It was thoroughly discussed at the time around here since I like using FEI and having a Miami team that pooped out a 6-3 win over South Florida that far up the chart was credibility-sapping. As best I can figure, a 35-point performance against a rampant Virginia Tech defense was fuel for that ranking. S&P was not so impressed with the Fisch impact.

In any case, Fisch had a clear positive impact on the Hurricanes offense, especially in the passing game.

Things weren't nearly as successful with Minnesota. Fisch's single year there saw Adam Weber regress in most statistical categories, throwing a bunch of picks. It's hard to pick what was going wrong there, deep into the Tim Brewster era. Not much was going right with the Gophers and a single year there is no more indicative of coaching talent than Doug Nussmeier's lost 2014.

There's not much to like about Fisch's tenure with the Jaguars.

2012 Jacksonville 28 30 28 Gabbert/Henne
2013 Jacksonville 32 30 30 Chad Henne
2014 Jacksonville 31 31 32 Blake Bortles (rookie)

But there wasn't much to work with, either. Fisch had a rookie QB last year; three of the top four Jags WRs were also rookies. Denard Robinson had just established himself a pretty good running back when he was lost for the year, leaving a meh offensive line trying to get Toby Gerhart yards. No offense to Chad Henne, but he doesn't seem like an NFL QB.

Fisch was hurled overboard as Gus Bradley tries to salvage his job. On the one hand, you've got a short stint with an already moribund franchise that features a ton of injuries and rookies; on the other you've got a guy who is 38 and has already impressed enough people to be an offensive coordinator at three different places. The one situation he found himself in that could plausibly result in success—Miami under the competent Al Golden—resulted in that. He's a bit of a swing for the fences, but… I mean… he's basically a position coach with a cool title..


I'd be leery of Fisch as a coordinator since his track record is a little short and uneven. As the kind of sort of third OC behind Harbaugh and Drevno and a WR coach, it's a good get. Fisch doesn't have much college experience but the guys around him all do, and if this is his goal

What’s down the road for Fisch? Ultimately, he wants to be a head coach, and he’s working fervently to get there. He takes detailed notes in every meeting, saving the dozens of notebooks he’s amassed over the years so he can always look back along the way.

“You try to take what you can use today and use it today and then you try to store the rest of it,” Fisch said. “There’s so much from each one of these guys. I’m trying to soak it in and then make it my own — I’ve got to make sure I’m not trying to be somebody else but that I’m learning from all of these guys.”

…you know he's going to get after it as a recruiter despite having little track record in that department so far.


We're just about complete here, with one spot on each side of the ball yet to be determined. The leaders for those spots are Roy Manning and Jimmie Dougherty, but Manning might get pushed out if Michigan needs a bonafide second DBs coach. Chart:

OFFENSE COACH confidence DEFENSE COACH confidence
OC Tim Drevno lock DC DJ Durkin lock
QB Jim Harbaugh lock DL Greg Mattison lock
RB Ty Wheatley very likely LB Durkin lock
WR Jedd Fisch lock DB Greg Jackson lock
OL Drevno lock OLB/DE Roy Manning probable
TE Jimmie Dougherty probable ST John Baxter lock

S&C: Kevin Tolbert.



January 9th, 2015 at 12:18 PM ^

It's a better hire than Greg Jackson, but those two definitely stand out in a bad way compared to the other coaches. One plus is that Jax had a lot of rookie pass catchers look good this year, so maybe he's good with development?

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January 9th, 2015 at 4:43 PM ^

He also played for LSU & coached at Tulane as well as in the NFL - where he coached Pro Bowl players.
Not seeing the downside here Nobody?

Also, I'm a 49ers fan and was not impressed with the WR play by & large, so I'm pleased Harbaugh did not bring the SF WR coach with him as had been rumored. I see Greg Jackson & Fisch as great additions


January 9th, 2015 at 3:05 PM ^

Are we talking about talent evaluation? He's certainly over-qualified in that regard. If it's something else then I'm not sure what you're implying

I think some people overthink how recruiting works. Your past success and experiences are going to go further than anything with recruits. Jackson has that as much as anyone on the staff besides Harbaugh. 


January 9th, 2015 at 12:34 PM ^

I've probably seen all of the 49ers' games since Harbaugh. Their safeties and their development, (making Goldson and Whitner suddenly well rounded, reviving an Antoine Bethea, etc) were very impressive. But their corners? Other than a one year revival for Carlos Rogers, they really didn't show me much.. That's what concerns me is the corners. Especially if we somehow keep Manning as CB coach.

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January 9th, 2015 at 12:19 PM ^

Weren't a lot of outlets reporting he'll be the QB Coach as well? Any thoughts on that Brian, given Harbaugh's penchant to always maintain that title?

Jimmy the Chin

January 9th, 2015 at 12:22 PM ^

I'm glad to have a former NFL coordinator as position coach. With that being said, I can't remember seeing a more odd resume. His career as an athlete reads "played high school tennis." Lol. In Jim we trust.


January 9th, 2015 at 12:24 PM ^

Not A Great Hire
Seems Harbaugh is doing very little interviewing of candidates and is just bringing in the guys he already knows from 49ers, Stanford, and couple Michigan holdovers. Also, looks like only one currently had a job, others are in transition. Quite disappointed in the process. We will see about the results.

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turd ferguson

January 9th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

Lots of questions here.

Does Harbaugh have any connections to Fisch?  And haven't we been getting regular reports of interviews over the past couple of weeks?  And shouldn't we be generally pleased that Harbaugh is bringing in guys that he believes are good coaches who work well with him?  And does it really bother you that guys like Durkin, Mattison, Baxter, and Wheatley technically weren't employed when Michigan got them?

Remember that most of these guys are position coaches.  This is often the kind of thing where the head coach hires a bunch of MAC guys and no one really cares because no one's really paying attention.


January 9th, 2015 at 12:42 PM ^

 animated GIF

There's nothing wrong with being critical but I do feel confident in is JH's judgement of character and I believe that can be said before even coaching a down at Michigan. Given where this program is at, I think it's best to hold any significant judgement until we see results on the field. Go Blue!


edit: and Welcome aboard!


January 9th, 2015 at 1:27 PM ^

It's funny to me that nothing made me angrier during the Hoke era when people would pull out the whole "trust the coaches" and "I think the coaches know a little more about this than you" shtick (at least during the first couple of years), but now I'm thinking those exact same things about Harbaugh when people on here criticize these choices.  I guess having a coach with a winning record coming in will do that.   


January 9th, 2015 at 1:59 PM ^

Harbaugh has a pretty nice track record of identifying quality assistant coaches.  That's what makes me confident in his selections.  

I'm especially not concenred about anyone working with the QB's and the overall offense, sime Harbaugh will be overseeing both.


January 9th, 2015 at 12:40 PM ^

Unsure of your logic here. Not sure how a 2 hour interview with someone you don't know would be more telling than bringing in people you know, respect, and have worked with in the past. As a hiring manager at a big global company, I am jealous of JH's ability to use the latter method. Way less risk.


January 9th, 2015 at 12:53 PM ^

"Bringing in the guys he already knows..."

Why he hell wouldn't he do that? If he knows their strengths and weaknesses, believes that they will make an immediate and lasting impact, what's the problem?

Moreover, I think Harbaugh's ability to judge coaching talent has been pretty well established. If he didn't think this ex-NFL guys could cut it, he wouldn't have hired them.

Finally ... Just what experience do you have that would justify your second guessing?


January 9th, 2015 at 3:00 PM ^

Didn't Claim To Have Experience
Just observing that Harbaugh said he would hire "the best" and what we have for the OC and DC are guys he had working with him before. Guess he made great choices years ago? What are the chances that the best coaches out there are "his guys"? Let's just agree that Harbaugh is hiring his guys and not the best coaches. Very little in the way of searching and interviewing has gone on, is the observation.

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January 9th, 2015 at 12:28 PM ^

While I agree that Fisch has an odd resume, I agree that it's a little unfair to judge him based on his Jax results. I don't think I've ever seen an offense with more 1st and 2nd year players than in Jax this year.

Given that he's been Power 5 and NFL Co-ordinator combined with Harbaughs track record, I tend to take the sunny position that we got a tremendously experienced coach (with a large number of Florida ties) to come join the staff. Nothing wrong with that. 

J. Lichty

January 9th, 2015 at 12:33 PM ^

that he ran too complex system that were a hodgepodge of components from other systems (immediately brought Al Borges to mind).  Many in those locales believe that he was a cause for QB regression because he put too much on their menus.

Would be much more concerned if he were OC rather than postiion coach.  Fact that he has done very little college recruiting in career is minus in my objective opinion as a well as the position slots often need to be used for uber recruiters.

This is a trust the coach one in my opinion.  Harbaugh certainly knows what he needs in a staff.  Looks like he wants to go heavy NFL and having an NFL OC as a position coach may be part of that strategy. 

Sauce Castillo

January 9th, 2015 at 12:40 PM ^

agree with the last part of your post.  When I immediate look at this and look at the rest of the staff it reads "We want NFL guys".  You just got an NFL OC to be a college position coach.  I'd say that's a good get.  I'm also pretty sure if our biggest weakness on the coaching staff is passing game coordinator then it's a good thing we have QB guru Jim Harbaugh as our head coach to ammend any problems.


January 9th, 2015 at 12:34 PM ^

Just based on his resume, this is a weird hire so I'm assuming the Coach knows a lot of stuff we don't. People can look great on paper and then not pan out but the reverse is true as well. 


January 9th, 2015 at 1:31 PM ^

My guess is that Harbaugh felt like he could take a bit of a chance on this hire because he judged Fisch's upside potential to be at least on par with the risk of failure, and because Harbaugh could more closely monitor QBs/WRs than some of the other positions and could micro-manage if that became necessary.  

Also, something most people haven't been commenting on is the fact that Harbaugh simply doesn't have enough time to put together what might be his dream staff, or he would risk losing recruits.  It seems that his approach was to go after truly outstanding and experienced guys for the most significant roles, and then move quickly to fill the others with coaches who showed promise or impressed him in some way.  Given the timing, it's hard to argue with that approach.


January 9th, 2015 at 12:36 PM ^

Chris Brewster, who writes for the Michigan site at 247, is Tim Brewster's son and says Minnesota's players loved Fisch while he was there. He thinks it's a great hire fwiw. 


January 9th, 2015 at 12:36 PM ^

Not totally sure he's an elite coach, but if he's willing to learn and he's already got OC experience at the college and pro-levels, I'll sure as hell take him as a passing game coordinator