Now that the dust has settled from the Michigan football team’s first College Football Playoff appearance, coaching turnover has begun.
The Wolverines are losing defensive line coach Shaun Nua to Southern California, as first reported by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. Nua oversaw the Michigan defensive line’s transition from weakness to strength this past season, helping senior edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson become a Heisman finalist and junior edge rusher David Ojabo become a consensus first-round NFL Draft pick.
Nua, a former NFL defensive lineman himself, also helped bolster the Wolverines’ interior presence. Junior defensive tackles Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith showed significant improvement this past season, allowing first-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to implement a successful 3-4 scheme. Nua will join first-year USC coach Lincoln Riley’s staff in the same role.
As of Wednesday, Nua is set to depart Ann Arbor after three seasons. Southern California will mark the fifth stop in his coaching career, following stints at BYU, Navy, Arizona State and Michigan.
For the Wolverines, Nua’s exit figures to kick off an immediate search to find a replacement. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh overhauled his staff last offseason, injecting a much-needed youthful infusion. Players widely credited those changes for helping the Wolverines thrash Ohio State, win a Big Ten title and reach the College Football Playoff. Coaching turnover is natural in college football, but some speculated Michigan would look to minimize its own after a breakthrough 2021 season.
Harbaugh showed last offseason that he’s not afraid to get creative while searching for new assistant coaches. Now, his first vacancy of the 2022 winter has arrived.