It appears the Michigan football team will be filling its vacancy on the coaching staff with a familiar face.
According to a report from Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider, Greg Frey will be returning to Ann Arbor as both the offensive tackles/tight ends coach and run game coordinator.
Frey previously served as Michigan’s offensive line coach from 2008 to 2010 under Rich Rodriguez. This time around, his hire fills the opening on the Wolverines’ staff created by former running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley’s departure for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While it was assumed that a running backs coach would be hired to fill Wheatley’s spot, it appears that Michigan will shuffle its staff around in some manner — Tim Drevno has been the offensive line coach for the past two seasons and has also been the offensive coordinator, while Webb reported that Jay Harbaugh — previously the tight ends coach — will become the running backs coach.
Frey brings a wealth of experience to Ann Arbor. He began his coaching career at South Florida, where he was the offensive line coach for seven years. He spent one year at West Virginia before moving to Michigan with Rodriguez in 2008.
At Michigan, Frey teamed up with Rodriguez to coach what was eventually one of the most potent offenses in the nation. In 2009, the Wolverines’ rushing offense averaged 186 yards per game and was ranked No. 25 in the nation, while the unit as a whole was ranked No. 59 in total offense. They improved both marks the following year to No. 13, at 238 yards per game, and No. 8, respectively.
At Michigan, Frey earned a reputation as someone who had an eye for offensive line talent. Under his tutelage, David Molk won the Rimington Trophy — given to the nation’s best center — in 2010, while players who Frey recruited and coached such as Taylor Lewan, Michael Schofield and Patrick Omameh eventually reached the NFL.
After Rodriguez was fired following the 2010 season, Frey caught on at Indiana. He has served as the Hoosiers’ offensive line coach for the past six years and the co-offensive coordinator since 2014. Indiana’s offense reached new heights with Frey coaching the offensive line. The Hoosiers, whose rushing attack was predicated on inside zone runs, averaged over 200 yards on the ground for three consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2015. Frey coached two All-American offensive linemen in Dan Feeney and Jason Spriggs and will be called upon to develop the same type of talent in Ann Arbor.
Michigan rushed for nearly 213 yards per game last year behind a veteran offensive line that featured left tackle/guard Ben Braden, right guard Kyle Kalis and right tackle Erik Magnuson. All three seniors will be gone next year, though, leaving just two returning starters in junior center Mason Cole and sophomore left tackle Grant Newsome, who suffered a season-ending injury against Wisconsin.