CC - Where we stand - Part VI (Morris and Beck)

Submitted by Ron Utah on October 16th, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Part I.  Part II.  Part III.  Part IV.  Part V.

Chad Morris was Todd Graham's OC for one season at Tulsa

A couple of coordinators from the offensive side of the ball.  I'll finish with two from the defensive side (Pruitt and Foster), then move onto the fringe and NFL guys.

Chad Morris, OC Clemson

  • Track Record: B. Morris has been extremely successful at Clemson, but that's really all the data we have. He had one year at Tulsa as OC, and before that was a Texas high school coach from 1994-2009.

  • Michigan Ties: F. Born in Texas, an A&M grad, and has spent his entire career in the south. I suspect he feels South Carolina is too far north, and would love a Texas job (SMU?).

  • RecruitingB. Known as a good recruiter who can spot talent that fits his system.

  • Chances/Loyalty: D-. This is Michigan. And Chad Morris doesn't want to be north of Texas. Furthermore, if we somehow did land him and he was any good, he'd head south ASAP, IMO.

  • Demeanor: B+. 45 years old. Even-keeled guy that is highly-intelligent and speaks well at press conferences.

  • Three Phases: B-. Having been a HC (even though it was in HS), I have to believe he understands defense a bit. Really couldn't do much better offensively, consistently out-performing his talent. But defense and ST are still big questions.

  • Roster Fit: C+. Smart guy that seems like he can adapt, but our roster does NOT fit his system offensively. Clemson does run a 4-3 defense, so there's that.

  • OVERALL GPA: 2.14 (C/C+). Ask and ye shall receive. Morris was a requested write-up, but is among the most unlikely to interested in the job. FWIW, I do think he'll make a good HC somewhere, though I'm not sure he'll be elite.


Tim Beck, OC Nebraska

  • Track Record: B-. Has quietly been very successful at Nebraska, averaging 31.9 pts or more the past three seasons, and was just a tick below 30 in his first season as OC. Was a RB's coach before that; obviously does well coaching that position.

  • Michigan Ties: D+. Born in Youngstown, and has coached in the midwest quite a bit, but not in Michigan or even any border states other than Illinois State in 1990.

  • Recruiting: C+. Meh recruitier, but Nebraska mostly gets “meh” recruits.

  • Chances/Loyalty: C. If he's looking for a HC job, I don't know why he wouldn't consider Michigan, and if he had success here, I don't know why he wouldn't stay.

  • Demeanor: B. 48. Seems like a good guy that stays out of the news. Handles the press well. Overachieves considering roster.

  • Three Phases: C+. Has been a HS head coach, but spent most of his college career on the offensive side of the ball.

  • Roster Fit: C+. Running spread, but has demonstrated the ability to use power backs. We don't have anything approximating the QB he looks for.

    OVERALL GPA: 2.29 (C+). Meh. Tim Beck seems above-average in every way. I'm not even slightly excited about him, but think he'll get a shot as a HC at some point.



October 16th, 2014 at 1:03 PM ^

Tracy Claeys, DC and Associate Head Coach, Minnesota

  • Track Record: A-. Same grade as I gave Kill, since he's been with him forever. The strength of Kill's teams has been the defense, and this is the side Claeys is responsible for.

  • Michigan Ties: B+. Part of Little Brown Jug rivalry, currently coaches in Big Ten, extensive coaching in mid-west, plus "he served as assistant athletic director at SVSU, where his duties included oversight of the daily operation of the Detroit Lions' training camp held at the university." (

  • Recruiting: B. I don't know if he recruited these guys, but (from the same source) "Claeys' resumé also includes coaching several standout defensive players, most recently NIU's Larry English, the first-round draft choice of the NFL's San Diego Chargers in 2009. Claeys also coached Seattle Seahawks' 1999 first-round draft choice Lamar King at Saginaw Valley State. Other NFL players he tutored include 10-year NFL veteran DE Paul Spicer at Saginaw Valley State, and current New York Giants' linebacker Bart Scott at Southern Illinois, a 2006 Pro-Bowler as a member of the Baltimore Ravens." Add Hageman and Brock Vereen to that list.

  • Chances/Loyalty: C. I think he's very loyal to Kill and is more likely to just take over at Minnesota when Kill retires. Chances? C. Loyalty? A+, but he's loyal to Kill so I'll stay with that C grade.

  • Demeanor: B. I don't know what this category means, but look at this photo, this is a handsome man.

Tracy Claeys

  • Three Phases: B. Spent all of his college career on the defensive side of the ball.

  • Roster Fit: A. Manball/power running/strong defense/argh argh argh. I watched them play us and against NU and his DBs play an aggressive style that we are moving towards.

    OVERALL GPA: 3.14, that's a solid B/B+, and he doesn't have Kill's health concerns. Considering he's had some "associate head coaching" responsibilities, I'd say he's got to be near the top of the list of assistant head coach candidates.

Ron Utah

October 17th, 2014 at 6:34 PM ^

I appreciate the addition.  There is some great stuff here.  

I see Claeys a bit differently.

First, I think as a coordinator, you can't give him the same score you give the HC--he doesn't have control of a program.  Claeys is more of a "B" the way I've been grading.  He's had success everywhere, but not as a HC and is just now playing with the big boys.

Second, on Michigan ties, he's probably more like a "B" on my scale.  Some solid ties to the area, but none to the school.

Recruiting is closer to a C/C+.  Claeys did not recruit Hageman or Vereen.  His coaching is clearly pretty good, but he didn't recruit them. Minnesota is doing a little better on the recruiting trail now, and he deserves some credit, but he hasn't shown that he's a great recruiter at this point in his career.

I think a C/C+ is about right for Claeys on Chances/Loyalty.  If he wants to be a HC and is offered the Michigan job, he would have to take it.  Kill, if he's the man of honor I believe he is, would actually tell him to take the job.  And I think he would stay awhile.  But does he want the job?  Does he want to leave Kill?  I'm not sure.

"Demeanor" is about how the coach carries himself, how well he presents, and if he appears to be a good motivator.  Claeys would rate as a "C" here, as his folksy chub is strikingly similar to Hoke...I don't think fans would like that one bit.  He clearly gets the most from his players, though.

Three Phases is probably correct at a B--which would be very high for a strictly defensive guy, but Claeys has operated as HC on a few occasions, and deserves credit for that.

Roster Fit is most definitely an "A", although he'd prefer a QB who can run, I think.

Overall, he's closer to a 2.81 (B-), and that's being a bit generous.  I do not have ANY interest in him as a HC at this point in his career.  I'd like to see him have success running a program first.


October 16th, 2014 at 2:50 PM ^

I don't know if there's any basis in fact to the assertion that Morris would not take the Michigan job (and I'm a guy who has repeatedly poopooed the idea that we have a shot at Mullen, Shaw, Graham, etc.).

His roots are all in the south, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't come to Michigan.  He'd just be a flight risk whenever the next big southern job opened up.  So what!, I say.  Morris' profile is very Malzhanian.

Morris is not going to happen, but it's more realistic than a lot of the names being thrown out there.

In other news -- nobody's offense is a good fit for our offensive "talent" so it shouldn't be a big factor.  Funchess is probably gone regardless - our OL should be OK with decent coaching with either a zone or man scheme - our QBs are not good in any system - skill positions need to be recruited either way.


October 17th, 2014 at 8:03 PM ^

I would think someone with good recruting ties to the South and Texas would be a must for our next head coach.  He is my favorite option right now, in fact I am driving up to see him in action next week vs. Syracuse.

With Speight and Malzone, a pass spread guy would be a really good fit.  Just need to sign about 10 more WR.



October 16th, 2014 at 3:27 PM ^

The concern with Beck is that Michigan seems hell-bent on running a conventional "pro-style" offense and Beck hasn't really tried/been able to do so.  I absolutely think he could be dynamite with the right recruits at UM, but we kinda tried that with RR and people revolted.

He's also not a defensive coach, and I'm not sure what type of DC would come with him.

Mr Miggle

October 16th, 2014 at 4:21 PM ^

Who's hell bent on running a particular offense? Some former players and a portion of the fanbase? I'd guess there's a bigger portion of the fanbase that's resigned to this philosophy than there is in favor of it, especially after the last couple of seasons.

In all likelihood a new AD is going to be making this call. It'll be his biggest and most scrutinized decision for years. Whoever it is, I'm sure he has his own ideas about the direction of CFB. Maybe he'll be willing to severely limit the possible candidates in order to avoid having a more modern offense. Maybe he'll say Hoke was on the right path, he just needed to execute better. I expect him to be more open minded and I'll be surprised if the next hire is a low profile coach who plays manball.


October 16th, 2014 at 6:46 PM ^

Listen, I'd love for the new hire to be out-of-the-box innovator who can push Michigan forward to success.  But at the same time, this is a cranky fanbase that is opposed to change; RR was submarined as much because the old guard didn't want him and his gimmicky offense at the helm as any failings of his own (and they are many).  Most big-money donors and influencers at the school want a winner above all else, but if I'm the AD the last thing I want is to take a chance on a coordinator or a small-name HC who doesn't pan out because that becomes your legacy, and that becomes the easy club to beat you over the head with down the line.

Everything I've seen makes me fear this is a Harbaugh-or-break-glass situation, and that's not good for Michigan.  Maybe the new AD will shake it up and try to get an innovator or at least a younger guy with some new ideas, but if I'm new to the job and the fanbase is still testy, I'm probably going for the most down-the-middle guy and take me chances.  So that means pro-style, defense-first HC with Michigan ties, and that pool is kinda small.

Mr Miggle

October 17th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

I don't see the new AD taking a chance on a small name hire either. I agree that the Harbaughs will be the top targets. The question is what will they do if that's not happening.

Perhaps it matters who the new AD is. For example, I don't see Jeff Long as someone who is going to be timid. The new AD is going to be given a mandate to change some things. High on that list will be the direction of the football program. I expect to see them make a big push to get someone whose stature fits the job, regardless of style of play. It'll be his job to sell the new coach to the Michigan community. They have to know they can do a far better job of that than we saw from Bill Martin.

Is the pool described in your last sentence any deeper than Les Miles? I guess we could add Hoke and Ferentz, but Miles is the only plausible name I see.


October 17th, 2014 at 11:21 PM ^

That old guard needs to get the heck out of the way or at the very least open their minds. If they stubbornly believe there is one way to catch a mouse then we're in trouble. One of my favorite quotes: it doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as he can catch mice.

If they're not careful there may not be a young guard to which to pass the baton.

Let me close on a hopeful note. There is an in-between compromise that was mentioned above: the passing spread. It seems like you've got to have an accurate QB who can make reads and deliver the ball quickly to run that offense; this is the pro part. The fact that you spread the field so as not to run up the gut every single time; this is the spread element.

We ran it in one of the better games we've had in quite a while against Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer and Lloyd Carr instituted it so there is precedent from which to draw. Notre Dame has returned to glory using the passing spread. Give me somebody who institutes that offense and I'll be happy though I'm open to other suggestions if it means steady improvement and kicking some tail by the fourth year.


October 16th, 2014 at 7:45 PM ^

We don't know if Brandon is gone or who is replacement might be. Michigan hired a spread-oriented guy 7 years ago - it ended badly (for Michigan), but it can happen again. I think a lot of staunch traditionalist are getting religion this year irt to the game changing.  The combination of Rich Rod's success at Arizona, Urban Meyer's success at OSU, and the fact that nearly every team in the top 10 is running something other than "pro-style" has to be opening people's minds.  Even the Moellers, Borges, and Carrs of the world.

It takes an initial leap of faith to assume a coaching change is going to happen in the first place.  I get your skepticism, and if I had to bet on it, I'd say "pro-style" is the most likely outcome...but in a world where we are talking about Shaw/Mullen/'s a relatively consideration.


October 17th, 2014 at 8:57 AM ^

The next coach should be one of very best candidates,who wants to come to Michigan, and would very likely stay until they retire or for a very long time. Probably a NO to the above candidates.


October 17th, 2014 at 1:58 PM ^

I'll take a good football coach over a guy who is loyal to the program.  I'm not sure ambition is a bad thing.  Sure, it'd be nice if the guy stuck around forever, but I don't think Stanford has any regrets about having Harbaugh around for only a few years or Utah regrets Urban Meyer.  At this point we need somebody to right the ship, even if they're only around for 4 or 5 years.

Tha Stunna

October 17th, 2014 at 8:31 PM ^

Beck seems like a much better option than Frost.  I don't really understand what is so good about Frost, as Oregon's offense started very good and roughly stayed that way.  Even GERG managed to not ruin Texas's defense the one year he was there.

steve sharik

October 19th, 2014 at 1:00 AM ^

Barry Alvarez

Not to coach, but to ask him how to build a program and who he thinks is a good coach.  Teams that make the fewest mistakes (TOs and penalties) win games.  Go look at national TOs lost and penalty yards per game stats over the last several years.  Wisconsin is consistenly at the top of both of those rankings, and I believe this is Alvarez's doing.  For those of you too young to remember Wisconsin before Alvarez, go watch some 1988 Michigan vs. Wisconsin on Wolverine Historian's YouTube channel.

Alvarez made Bret Bielema look like Vince Lombardi and now he's going to pluck a Mormon out of the Rockies, put him in Dairy country, and make him look like Belichick.  Alvarez was ND DC during their late '80s/early '90s heyday, and then turned Wisconsin from doormat to Rose Bowl regular.

The Dude

October 21st, 2014 at 6:24 PM ^

no thanks to these three guys. Morris is Rich Rod ultra lite, Beck and the Minnesota guy I have no clue why they are being brought up...

If Michigan was to go the coordinator with no HC experience at any level from the college level it should be Herman on O or Venables (used to be at OU, now at Clemson) on D, or an NFL guy like Greg Roman, Pep Hamilton, or Darrell Bevell on O or Teryl Austin on D. 

Guys like Frost don't have enough of a track record, while Narduzzi seems to fit into the Bud Foster/Kirby Smart mold of guys that are comfortable as coordinators and where they are at. i also don't know how much of MSU's defensive success is from Narduzzi...I have a strong feeling that Dantonio is a big reason for the defensive success.