Michigan coaching staff looking to fill 10th assistant spot
While the Michigan football team finalized a new class of signees, one group on the team could still use a little more depth.
The coaching staff, as of Wednesday, has filled just nine of the 10 available spots for full-time assistants — despite the 10th having been temporarily filled just a month ago.
Jim Harbaugh had hired Arkansas’ Dan Enos as an offensive assistant coach soon after the regular season ended, only to have Enos snatched away by Nick Saban and Alabama a few weeks later.
Harbaugh said he is currently interviewing candidates for the vacant spot, and the new hire will be “focused on the offensive side.” Harbaugh hopes to finish the hiring process soon, because spring practices begin March 22.
Rumors circulated online that former Florida head coach Jim McElwain had been linked with the available offensive assistant spot. McElwain was fired from Florida this season after a disastrous year. The Gators ranked 109th in total offense, but many still consider McElwain a strong coach. As of now, though, the McElwain rumors are nothing more than rumors.
A recent hire, Ed Warriner, joined Michigan just a few days ago as an offensive analyst. His title as an “analyst” extends beyond the 10 available “assistant coach” spots, meaning he isn’t allowed to directly coach the players, participate in practices or contribute to off-campus recruiting.
Harbaugh praised Warriner, who previously worked for Minnesota as an offensive line coach and run-game coordinator, and said that he feels like they are “becoming best friends.”
The two other new faces to the program include Sherrone Moore and Al Washington. Moore will serve as the new tight ends coach, and Washington as a defensive assistant. Washington has not been assigned a specific position group yet at Michigan, but previously served as a defensive line coach at Cincinnati.
“We’re thrilled with the new additions,” Harbaugh said. “Sherrone Moore, Al Washington, I think they’re fantastic.”
Harbaugh said he had a chance to sit in on offensive and defensive meetings with both coaches while traveling and thought they were tremendous.
Outside of the on-field coaching and analyst spots, one of Harbaugh’s other new hires is Ben Herbert, Michigan’s new strength and conditioning coach. Herbert worked for 11 seasons at Wisconsin before spending five years with Arkansas. He joined the Wolverines in early January.
“Coach Herbert and the staff are extremely hard-working, very detailed and have hit the ground running,” Harbaugh said. “It’s early, but I already see positive results. What went into that was interviewing multiple interested coaches, and I really thought we got the right man for the right position.”
All in all, Michigan’s coaching staff hasn’t changed too much at the top. Both the offensive and defensive coordinators, Tim Drevno and Don Brown, are staying put. Passing game coordinator and assistant head coach Pep Hamilton is sticking with the program as well.
Michigan’s former safeties coach Brian Smith departed for a defensive coordinator position at Rice back in December, but Harbaugh said he doesn’t anticipate any other coaches leaving.
The quick departure of Enos, though, will likely leave the program with a bitter taste — at least until it announces a 10th coach. Enos had offensive success with his previous teams, something Michigan clearly struggled with in 2017.
Harbaugh didn’t go into detail about Enos’ short-lived tenure, but he offered a few thoughts on the state of the offense and how he’s handling the situation.
“On offense right now, we are going through a self-scout period and looking at ways to get our offense up to where our defense is,” Harbaugh said.
Enos won’t be on the sideline to help Michigan get its offense up to speed, but if Harbaugh can pull off a big name hire — preferably one with a history of offensive success — that could silver line what has been an otherwise disappointing offseason so far.