BY SCOTT BELL
Daily Sports Editor
Published February 13, 2006
The coaching changes promised by Lloyd Carr are finally becoming a reality.
Jim Herrmann, Michigan's defensive coordinator for the past nine years, has accepted a job with the NFL's New York Jets. His departure opens the door for Ron English to step in as defensive coordinator.
English left the team last Monday to take a job as the Chicago Bears' defensive backs coach, but he reneged three days later to rejoin the Michigan coaching staff. The athletic department would not confirm reports that he returned to become the defensive coordinator, but yesterday's move created a void English is expected to fill.
Michigan will also enter the 2006 season with a new offensive coordinator. Mike DeBord, last season's special teams coach and one-time offensive coordinator (1997-99), was promoted to his old post when incumbent offensive coordinator Terry Malone left to coach tight ends for the New Orleans Saints.
Yesterday, Carr told The Detroit News he was sad to see his longest-tenured assistant coach leave.
"(Herrmann) is a great football coach and a great person," Carr said. "I hate to lose him, but it's something he has wanted to do. He's got a great career in front of him, and he'll do a great job in the NFL, just as he did at Michigan."
Herrmann, a Michigan graduate who spent 20 years on the sideline as a football coach in Ann Arbor, begins his duties as linebackers coach today in Hempstead, N.Y.
Although he said he is excited to begin coaching in the professional ranks, Herrmann told The Detroit News that he'd always remember his roots.
"This place will always have a place in my heart," Herrmann said of Michigan. "Every Saturday afternoon, I'll be preparing for a game, but deep down I'll be pulling for the Wolverines."
Herrmann was promoted to defensive coordinator before the 1997 season, the year the Wolverines won their last national championship. He coached six All-Americans during his tenure and received the Broyles Award as national assistant coach of the year in 1997.
But Herrmann - who earned three letters as a linebacker when he played for Michigan in the early '80s - came under harsh criticism during the past few years for the defense's performance. In both the 2004 and 2005 seasons, the Wolverines struggled mightily at times on defense.
In 2004, the unit's was unable to stop mobile quarterbacks. Michigan State's duo of Drew Stanton and Damon Dowdell, Ohio State's Troy Smith and Texas' Vince Young rushed for a combined 449 yards against Michigan that year.
This past season, the defense had problems finishing games. Michigan allowed late scores against Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State and Nebraska - all losses for the 7-5 Wolverines.
According to The Detroit Free Press, the team's worst performance in nearly two decades brought Carr to tell his staff that "changes were coming."
More than a month later, those changes are finally being implemented. There may not be many new faces filling the voids at the coordinator positions, but the current personnel are assuming new roles at nearly every critical assistant spot on staff.