Brian January 6th, 2015 at 11:38 AM


IT'S OVER [Bryan Fuller]

OMG HIRE SOMEONE. Noted failure Jim Harbaugh has yet to assemble his staff and has even seen a few dudes stay where they are once their schools belly up with big-ass raises and titles like King Of East Besserabia, and people are starting to notice. The always on point Football Scoop:

Srs. Get this jackwagon out of here so we can go after Joe Moglia, that's what I say.

(Also Bacon immediately said WHOOPS after his Harbaugh Big Game Hunter tweet, because he then read twitter. Protip: always read twitter before twittering.

Roussel is frosty after Bacon twitter-broke the hire to the point where he'll ignore the fact that Durkin was heavily rumored for weeks before Lance Anderson's name ever came up and that speculation about Greg Roman was extremely weak. But whatever. Guy was outstandingly wrong for a solid month.)

HIRE THAT GUY IN FACT. After weeks and weeks of Wheatley-related rumors, there is finally a concrete indicator that it's happening from Angelique:

…word is former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, most recently an assistant with the Bills, is expected in Ann Arbor this week to discuss the opening.

Sam Webb confirmed. Need some sort of Ty Wheatley in a hat taking a sled through Canada gif for this.

Wheatley is of course in limbo after Doug Marrone quit the Bills. Marrone's interviewing with the Jets, and I find it hard to believe that he's not locked in there. You do not walk away from an NFL head coach job without something in your pocket. (This is why you shouldn't get all hyped up about Jim Mora interviewing there and perhaps knocking some recruits to Ann Arbor by leaving.) Would he take Wheatley with him? Would it matter? I don't know, but there's not much uncertainty at Michigan and about as much money these days.

WITHER THAT OTHER GUY. Angelique also has details on what's going down with Fred Jackson: he filed benefit paperwork because his contract is up but hopes to continue coaching. I don't think that'll be at Michigan if he does continue.


THE OTHER OBVIOUS S&C GUY. People have been talking about Kevin Tolbert, an assistant S&C coach with the 49ers who was with Harbaugh at Stanford and worked under Mike Gittleson at Michigan from 2001 to '07 before that, since Harbaugh started happening, and he's supposed to be in town today as well.

Tolbert's a Navy alum who started at fullback for three years and has evidently impressed Harbaugh enough for him to have him around wherever he goes. Missing on Shannon Turley is a disappointment but he'll probably be fine—Harbaugh don't play around with guys who aren't hypercompetitive. Hopefully he's no longer a High Intensity Training advocate, if only to save us from people on message boards muttering darkly about the stone-age training Michigan is using. I don't think it'll be much of an issue with Tolbert's last eight years in the cutting edge Stanford and 49ers programs.

I'm not entirely sure but the internet seems to think that Tolbert was also this guy back in the day:


So… okay. There is also a painting by Sandra Gittleson of a Kevin Tolbert-looking guy lifting that anvil.

IF NOT MORTON, THEN THIS GUY? This gentleman is also an old-time Harbaugh associate:

Before taking the SJSU job two years ago, Dougherty had been the WR coach at Washington for four years and QB coach under Harbaugh at USD before that—Harbaugh in fact inherited him. He'd probably just be coming as a position coach if he did end up here, but these days that's a major pay bump. Dougherty made under 200k last year and would probably be looking at a 50% raise even if he was just a plain old WR coach. He's very accessible.

FWIW, San Jose State was miserable this year, but that is nearly always the case. In 2013 the Spartans were 30th in FEI as they nearly scraped a bowl; their QB graduated and that was it for acceptable offense in San Jose.  In his lone year with the passing game coordinator title at Washington the Huskies were 13th in FEI, 38th in S&P passing.

UPDATED GUESSOCHART. As it currently stands:

OFFENSE Coach confidence DEFENSE coach confidence
OC Tim Drevno lock DC DJ Durkin lock
QB Jim Harbaugh lock DL Durkin lock
RB Ty Wheatley probable LB Greg Mattison lock
WR John Morton maybe OLB/DE Roy Manning probable
OL Bill Bendenbaugh none DB Greg Jackson maybe
TE ??? none ST ??? none

OTHERS: Mike Hart (RB), Jimmie Dougherty (WR).

Bendenbaugh is Oklahoma's OL coach; Sam brought him up as a possibility a little bit ago. With Oklahoma in the midst of staff turmoil he may jump over. This configuration currently has four guys on each side of the ball with Harbaugh being Harbaugh and a wildcard for TE/ST or possibly a CB/S secondary split. With Marrow out of the picture there's a spot for some guy to come in and recruit his ass off.



January 6th, 2015 at 1:16 PM ^

I caught a few games this season where he was the color guy and thought he did a pretty good job.  He may have busted as a QB but I think he's got a decent career ahead of him as an analyst.

Y'know, if that whole NY Jets thing doesn't work out.


January 6th, 2015 at 11:49 AM ^

I noticed the inclusion of Hart on the "maybe" spectrum at the bottom of the post. Has there been any chatter out there regarding that? I was under the impression that he was a definite no, given his lack of experience anywhere but a directional Michigan school. Not that I'm against it, but why the sudden inclusion?

True Blue Grit

January 6th, 2015 at 11:59 AM ^

about Michigan "striking out" with trying to hire <Fill in name> are laughable.   They're also trying to troll for clicks in most cases.  Fortunately those of us rational people understand that great coaches usually have multiple options.  And they don't always opt for uprooting their families and starting over somewhere even if it may potentially be a great opportunity.  Harbaugh will find his excellent staff and everything will be great. 

The Baughz

January 6th, 2015 at 12:38 PM ^

Exactly. Michigan is "struggling" or Michigan is "striking out" definitely equals more page clicks. They even got me a few times before I realized those guys have no idea what they are talking about. Michigan will always be a top program regardless of record and that will attract a lot of haters, and those asshats (footballscoopin particlular) try to capitalize by writing negative things knowing it will attract a lot more people. 


January 6th, 2015 at 1:13 PM ^

I mean, Michigan had to settle for Harbaugh when they couldn't even get Duke's coach. I mean, Michigan just can't get their guy it seems. 

I also have a feeling that these articles would get written no matter how good the coach or the assistants are.  It seems en vougue to rip Michigan as a program in the past who just can't get their guy, and isn't the elite program it used to be.  I'm guessing Alabama had similar articles for years before they landed Saban. 


January 6th, 2015 at 1:26 PM ^

I know this has been discussed, but;


One of the best interior lines in the league, with a very veteran inside linebacker corps.  The edge of the line has shown some flashes from Charlton and Mario. 

The Corners are stacked with Countess, Lewis, Peppers, and Stribling.  

Safety play has not been elite, but they have I thin k4 upper classmen with experience to fill 2 spots


The OL returns 6 guys with starter time for the 5 OL positions

TE and fullback have shown at end of season to be blocking and catching.  Plus they add in a huge pass catching tight end into the mix this year

RB is stock full of talent.  I think it comes down to Drake (if healthy) or Isaac, but there is at least enough with a veteran line in front of them

WR has a lot to prove, but plenty of competition to get them there.  A few veterans with some major talent behind them (ways and harris).

QB is the big question mark, however, if the line is blocking, the running backs are a threat again, and receivers get some separation and make plays, combined with a simpler reads, better QB coaching, and better contraint plays, I think they can find at minimum a game manager with bursts of productivity.

Obvious kool aide is obvious, but even outside the coaching upgrade, this is the most complete, veteran/ talent team in a long time. 


January 6th, 2015 at 12:05 PM ^

I'm so disappointed in Harbaugh that I'm switching to jeans for a bit!


EDIT: This is sarcasm. But I am truly back in jeans. Just not disappointed in Harbaugh.


January 6th, 2015 at 12:05 PM ^

Regarding the RB coach -- I don't see why we are so fixated on guys with Michigan connections when the country is loaded with proven guys who have developed stud RBs.  In some cases, multiple stud RBs.  If I were Harbaugh, I would get on the phone immediately with the guy from Wisconsin or Georgia and offer him a 50% pay raise.  If he turns me down, I would call up the guy at Minnesota, Northwestern, Boston College, or about a dozen other programs that have gotten solid if not great RB play from marginally talented guys. 

What's the point of having a huge assistant budget if you are not going to use it to poach proven guys?  . 


January 6th, 2015 at 12:41 PM ^

This and Harbaugh's difinition of what he thinks a Michigan Man is, as heard on everbodies favorite Mike and Mike.


Something along the lines of, "...being an alumni makes you love the school and ask what can you do for Michigan, not what can Michigan do for you?".  Not an exact quote, but should be close if anybody heard it.


The man is a poet when asked stupid media questions.  Was at the point of hilariousness for me.