Football Quick Hits: Michigan Fills Coaching Vacancy with Adam Braithwaite

By · Saturday, February 13, 2010 · 4:37 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Just like a few weeks ago, I’ve been busy with school and have had a bunch of news pile up.  As a result, I’ve separated quick hits into different posts for football, basketball, and hockey.

  • Rich Rodriguez filled the vacancy on his coaching staff by promoting quality control assistant Adam Braithwaite to safeties/outside linebackers coach.  Braithwaite’s experience as a position coach/coordinator is mainly limited to lower divisions, but he was a graduate assistant for Rodriguez at West Virginia and a quality control assistant the last two seasons at Michigan.  To me this was a pretty “meh” move, but I guess Rodriguez wanted some continuity considering Braithwaite has been around the team for a couple years.
  • This move means that Greg Robinson is now in charge of coaching the inside linebackers and Tony Gibson is responsible for the cornerbacks and free safeties.  Gibson is also now the team’s special teams coordinator.  Regarding that move, the release said this: “Rodriguez will continue to have all of the coaches remain involved with a certain phase of special teams, but Gibson will manage that phase of the game on a daily basis and on game day.”
  • Before Rich Rodriguez’s press conference on signing day, I wondered to myself if any questions would be about Demar Dorsey, who has an interesting past, to say the least.  Well, there were multiple questions about Dorsey and his brushes with the law, but Rodriguez came to his future player’s defense each time before the media was finally told to move on.  The media did move on at the press conference, but the Free Press followed up with a lengthy article detailing what exactly Dorsey has done.  The article sheds some light on the type of trouble he has been in and includes some quotes from Dorsey on what happened and why he decided to come to Michigan.  One of the big reasons he picked Michigan is to escape the type of people that have brought him down in the past, though he already is trying to do that and (knock on wood) hasn’t been in any trouble since 2008.  I certainly understand some of the concern over taking a player like Dorsey, but I’m glad he is coming to Michigan and hope he is a changed person.
  • Somebody who isn’t a changed person is Drew Sharp.  I say that because, unsurprisingly, he was a huge douchebag about the whole Dorsey situation and made some extremely unprofessional comments.  Like Rob Parker, I will never understand why Sharp has a job and manages to get on ESPN as often as he does.  It’s so blatantly obvious that Sharp’s schtick is simply to write and say negative/controversial things to drum up attention.  He isn’t anything close to an actual journalist (this picture from MVictors certainly seems to show that) and is nothing more than an assclown, as the folks at the MZone used to call him.
  • Rich Rodriguez said there was one school in the Big Ten doing a lot of negative recruiting.  He didn’t name the school, but he did say that it wasn’t Ohio State.  Rumors suggest that the school in question is either Minnesota, Purdue, or Michigan State.  Based on how big of a problem Danny Hope seems to have with Rodriguez, my bet is that Purdue is the school behind the negative recruiting.
  • Antonio Kinard appears to be the only member of the 2010 recruiting class in danger of not qualifying.
  • AnnArbor.com put together a comprehensive Q&A with Michigan’s 2010 recruiting class.
  • Also from AnnArbor.com is an interview with Devin Gardner from signing day.
  • MGoBlog has video and transcripts of interviews from signing day with early enrollees and coaches.
  • Ricardo Miller hopes he can be the next Braylon Edwards.
  • Austin White put in a lot of extra work last fall in order to be able to enroll early.
  • Baquer Sayed, a receiver from Dearborn Fordson, will join the Michigan football team next season as a preferred walk-on.  Sayed had offers from a couple MAC schools, but he opted to play for Michigan as a walk-on instead.
  • The Big House Blog has more news on recruits who will join the team as walk-ons as well as an interview with kicker Jeremy Ross, who is from Pioneer High School.
  • Mark Moundros will line up at fullback and linebacker this spring.
  • Had Calvin Magee got the South Florida job, he would have wanted to take some Michigan assistants with him, including Greg Frey, Tony Dews, and the newly-promoted Adam Braithwaite.
  • The Board of Regents met on signing day for an informal meeting to discuss the NCAA’s investigation of practicegate.  No real news has come out of the meeting, but hopefully it is a sign that the investigation is close to wrapping up.
  • There is a photo gallery on MGoBlue giving us a look inside the suites in Michigan Stadium.
  • “72 percent of the suites and 77 percent of club seats” that will open in the Big House next season have been sold.
  • Mike Hart would like to be Michigan’s head coach someday.
  • The Michigan Daily’s Andy Reid wrote a great article about Antonio Bass.
  • Tyrone Wheatley has been hired by Syracuse to be the Orange’s running backs coach.
  • Teryl Austin, a former Michigan assistant, is Florida’s new defensive coordinator.  Urban Meyer sure likes former Michigan assistant coaches.
  • Former Michigan coach Mike DeBord has landed in Chicago as the Bears’ tight ends coach.
  • Former Michigan players Jonathan Goodwin and Adrian Arrington and former coaches Mike Mallory and Terry Malone are Super Bowl champions as a result of the Saints’ victory over the Colts last Sunday.
  • The NCAA has proposed some new rules for the 2011 season.
  • A 13-year-old quarterback committed to USC.  Weird doesn’t even begin to describe this news.
  • It was only a matter of time, but Big Ten expansion rumors involving Texas have popped up in recent days.
  • Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said that if the Big Ten were to call, the Cornhuskers would certainly listen.
  • Michigan State changed its mind and is no longer going to change its logo as a result of all the backlash it received over the news.  It is going to change its shade of green, although that’s not really all that big of a deal.

Friday Quick Hits: Earmuffs

By · Friday, April 25, 2008 · 12:00 AM |  Share | 9 Comments 
  • MGoBlue interviewed Mike Barwis, and as usual, every single answer added to the legend of Michigan’s strength and conditioning coach. Please excuse me while I go run through a brick wall.
  • Ryan Mundy, a player who transferred to West Virginia from Michigan for his final year of college football, is back in Ann Arbor to train specifically with Mike Barwis.
    He was most grateful, though, for getting to know Mike Barwis, the director of strength and conditioning who followed Rodriguez to UM. Barwis is the reason Mundy made his return journey to Ann Arbor.

    “If Mike Barwis was at West Virginia, I’d be at West Virginia. I have nothing against them,” he said. “I was so pleased with the way Mike Barwis worked with me that I wanted to continue working with him to get ready for the draft.”

    Also in Ann Arbor to work out with Barwis, as the article would go on to mention, are Braylon Edwards, Larry Foote, Victor Hobson, and a few players that just left Michigan for the NFL.

  • With the NFL Draft just one day away, it appears that Chad Henne’s stock is still on the rise. The best-case scenario for Henne would have him being drafted in the first-round, but what is even better is that the worst-case would be early second-round. Not even a week ago there were many “experts” out there saying he’d be a late second-round or early third-round pick, so the last few days definitely have been good to Chad.
  • Unlike Henne, Mario Manningham’s draft stock is free falling right now. From lying about testing positive for marijuana to other character issues to poor interview skills, Super Mario has gone from possibly being a first-round pick to now being a late second-rounder at best. And to cap it all off, Mario reportedly scored a 6 on the Wonderlic Test. That’s not a misprint, sadly. I don’t know how it’s possible to score that low considering how easy some of the questions are, but this sounds about right considering how many bad decisions he’s made in the last couple of months alone in regards to the NFL Draft.
  • The Sporting News’ Tom Dienhart ranked the BCS coaches, and Rich Rodriguez came in 3rd place behind Pete Carroll and Jim Tressel.
  • Varsity Blue took a look at how to make the spring game better. The first step will be getting it back in Michigan Stadium, which according to Bill Martin on WTKA a week ago should happen in 2009 as the construction shouldn’t be in the way as much as it was this spring.
  • With Justin Boren on his way to Columbus officially now, more things regarding his departure are coming out, and to be honest, they don’t exactly make him look any better.
    A nasty disposition of a different sort prompted Boren to bolt Michigan. He explained upon his departure that the football program had seen a deterioration of family values under Rodriguez. Translated, Boren did not appreciate how Rodriguez, and more specifically offensive line coach Greg Frey, berated and belittled players, at times calling them “Wooserines.”

    This seems to confirm the rumor that Boren wasn’t a big fan of all the swearing that goes on at practices. I can understand not liking the swearing, but if being called a “Wooserine” truly offends him, he probably shouldn’t be playing college football.

  • From the same article linked above, an Ohio State player was asked about Boren joining the Buckeyes after playing for Michigan, and I really hope what he said was a joke.
    Hicks turned serious when discussing Boren’s acceptance by Ohio State fans.

    “The fan base will get over it,” he said. “This kid can play. He’s 6-foot-4, 305 with 1 percent body fat and a nasty disposition.”

    1% body fat? Seriously? If this player wasn’t trying to be funny, then I hope he realizes how dumb he sounded by saying something like that. I’ll assume for his sake it was a joke, but still, most offensive linemen, including Justin Boren, are nowhere near single digits in the body fat department, led alone 1%.

  • One more thing to add to this whole saga is what Mike Boren, a former Michigan player under Bo Schembechler, had to say about the situation.
    Mike Boren is taking the high road, saying only that Justin is fitting in with his new teammates and that he’ll be “all right.”

    “He’s my son and I’m proud of what he does,” Mike said. “But I’ll always be a Michigan man.”

    I’m really skeptical of that last statement as I doubt a “Michigan man” would let his son trash the program on his way out and then transfer to Ohio State, the most hated team in the eyes of all Michigan fans. I understand that it’s close to home, but it’s not like OSU is the only school in Ohio. And to top it all off, Boren will be paying for Justin to go there as he can’t get a scholarship since he transferred to another Big Ten school. To me, that doesn’t exactly sound like a Michigan man.

  • Before totally shutting the door on the Justin Boren situation, take a look at the reactions of Victors Valiant, MVictors, and Michigan Against the World for a photo summary of how most Michigan fans feel about him right now.
  • By this time next week, the bowl schedule for the 2008-09 college football season could total 35 different games. That would mean that 70 teams would get to go to a bowl game, which to me takes all of the meaning out of getting a postseason bid. It was nice to expand the schedule in the past as so many more teams were becoming eligible, but enough was enough when there were 30 games. The three new proposed ones are just a trio of games featuring bad match-ups that will draw poor attendance and bad TV ratings. Even so, each game will likely be approved, meaning that the TV networks will win as they will make more money, but fans really won’t as they will be forced to watch some teams that have no business even being in a bowl game.

Rich Rodriguez Completes Coaching Staff

By · Friday, January 11, 2008 · 3:20 PM |  Share | 3 Comments 

Rich Rodriguez hired Stanford defensive coordinator Scott Shafer today to complete the entire assistant coaching staff. Although Shafer was out west for this past season, he is a Midwest guy and has strong recruiting ties to areas in the Midwest and East.

From MGoBlue.com, here is some background info on the new defensive coordinator.

Quite familiar with the Big Ten and Midwest, Shafer joins the Michigan staff after spending the 2007 season as defensive coordinator at Stanford. Prior to joining the Cardinal program, Shafer was the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Western Michigan (2005-06). He coached the defensive backs at Illinois in 2004 and began his coaching career as a graduate coach for former U-M assistant coach Bill Mallory at Indiana (1991-92). Shafer spent eight seasons at Northern Illinois, coordinating the defense from 2000-03 and served as the defensive backs mentor his entire stint with the Huskies (1996-2003).

Shafer isn’t a “sexy pick” or something like that and doesn’t garner as much attention as hiring Jon Tenuta or someone like that would, but I think this is a solid hire. Shafer is familiar with the Michigan football program since he coached in this region of the country for so long. Plus, since he was at Western Michigan before heading to Stanford, he is familiar with the state as well.

With Shafer on board, the coaching staff is now complete, meaning we all can finally concentrate on the team from now on rather than worry about hiring coaches. Ever since Lloyd Carr announced he was retiring on November 19th, the process to find a new head coach and coaching staff has been going on. Now that every job is filled, though, we can officially end the search for new coaches, bringing one of the most hectic couple months of Michigan football to an end.

Before completely moving on, here is what the new coaching staff officially looks like:

Offensive Coordinator/Associate Head Coach: Calvin Magee
Quarterbacks Coach: Rod Smith
Running Backs Coach: Fred Jackson
Wide Receivers Coach: Tony Dews
Offensive Line Coach: Greg Frey

Defensive Coordinator: Scott Shafer
Defensive Line Coach: Bruce Tall
Linebackers Coach: Jay Hopson
Secondary Coach/Assistant Head Coach: Tony Gibson

By the way… Rich Rodriguez said that spring practice is going to take place from March 15 to April 12, so if there is going to be a spring game, it will likely be held on April 12. As Varsity Blue notes, Ford Field is available that day.

Rodriguez Announces New Coaching Staff

By · Wednesday, January 9, 2008 · 1:10 AM |  Share | 3 Comments 

The assistant coaching staff still has one hire left before it is complete, but rather than wait until that coach is hired, Rich Rodriguez announced the new staff yesterday.

Six of Rodriguez’ assistant coaches and five support staff personnel from West Virginia University have joined him in Ann Arbor. Running backs coach Fred Jackson was rehired by Rodriguez. In addition, Rodriguez hired former Southern Mississippi defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jay Hopson as a defensive assistant at a position yet to be determined.

Rodriguez kept the entire video, equipment, medical and clerical staffs.

Here is what the current list of assistants and their positions looks like:

Offensive Coordinator/Associate Head Coach: Calvin Magee
Quarterbacks Coach: Rod Smith
Running Backs Coach: Fred Jackson
Wide Receivers Coach: Tony Dews
Offensive Line Coach: Greg Frey

Defensive Coordinator: TBA
Defensive Line Coach: TBA
Linebackers Coach: TBA
Secondary Coach: Tony Gibson

Defensive assistants without official positions: Jay Hopson and Bruce Tall

The three positions that still don’t have a coach hopefully will be filled by this weekend, according to Rich Rodriguez. Hopson, who comes to Michigan after being the Southern Miss defensive coordinator, and Tall will fill two of the open spots on the coaching staff, meaning that Coach Rod will have to hire one more coach to complete the full staff. He said that there is still a chance that someone on the coaching staff could be the defensive coordinator, and if that ended up happening then I would imagine Hopson would get that job. Once a decision is made about who the defensive coordinator will be, then Rodriguez probably will fill the DL coach and LBs coach spots immediately.

For a full list of everyone working for the football program in some capacity, check out MGoBlue.com.

Coaching Staff Nearing Completion

By · Monday, January 7, 2008 · 1:10 AM |  Share | 3 Comments 

ESPN’s Joe Schad updated his previous story about West Virginia assistants leaving for Michigan, now adding that a sixth member of the WVU coaching staff will be headed to Ann Arbor.

The six are McGee [sic], offensive line coach Greg Frey, quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, safeties coach Bruce Tall, defensive backs coach Tony Gibson and wide receivers coach Tony Dews. Strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis is also headed to Michigan.

The sixth coach that now will be a member of the Michigan coaching staff is wide receivers coach Tony Dews. It was originally thought that he would likely stay at West Virginia, but something obviously changed since Friday when that assumption was made.

As the article points out, defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel is going to stay at West Virginia, meaning Rich Rodriguez will have to find someone else to fill that opening on the staff. Also, the position of linebackers coach is still unfilled, as Casteel would have filled that role as well.

Right now, this is what the coaching staff looks like:

Offensive Coordinator: Calvin Magee
Defensive Coordinator:

Quarterbacks Coach: Rod Smith
Running Backs Coach: Fred Jackson
Wide Receivers Coach: Tony Dews
Offensive Line Coach: Greg Frey
Defensive Line Coach:
Linebackers Coach:
Cornerbacks Coach: Tony Gibson
Safeties Coach: Bruce Tall

Director of Strength and Conditioning: Mike Barwis

With the only remaining openings being on defense, I wouldn’t be surprised if the defensive line coach and linebackers coach weren’t named until the defensive coordinator is hired, as he will have to double as the DC and either DL coach or LBs coach to keep the number of assistants to the maximum of nine. Even with that being said, if a defensive line coach is going to be hired before a DC, then it will be Steve Stripling, who was on the Michigan coaching staff under Lloyd Carr.

I Don’t Know What to Believe

By · Saturday, January 5, 2008 · 3:06 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

The conflicting reports on the Michigan assistant coaches situation continues today after it seemed like the news kept changing yesterday. At one point an assistant would be staying at West Virginia only to be pegged to leave before again deciding to stay. Although some reports seemed credible, I don’t have any idea what is true and what isn’t. Heck, I don’t even think WVU coach Bill Stewart knew exactly who was staying and who was going yesterday. Apparently he went on a local radio station and said so and so (not exactly sure who) was in fact going to stay in Morgantown, but now it appears that isn’t going to happen.

Two reports from two separate Pittsburgh papers say the following about the assistant coaches situation…

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

WVU offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, offensive line coach Greg Frey, quarterback coach Rod Smith and safety coach Bruce Tall all resigned Friday to join Rodriguez’s Michigan staff.

They turned in their resignations to new Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart, just two days after the Mountaineers’ 48-28 Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma.

Strength coach Mike Barwis also resigned along with three members of his staff.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Assistant head coach Calvin Magee — an award-winning offensive coordinator whose role in play-calling helped to turn West Virginia into a top statistical unit nationally, not to mention a 48-28 winner in a school bowl-record, 525-yard performance Wednesday in the Fiesta — highlighted a list of offensive coaches to formally tender their resignations today to join ex-Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez at Michigan.

Most of the strength and conditioning staff headed by Mike Barwis and safety coach Bruce Tall resigned to work for the Wolverines, as well.

Out the door following Magee — the 2007 Assistant of the Year, awarded by the American Football Coaches Association — were quarterback coach Rod Smith, a native of Franklin, W.Va., and offensive line coach Greg Frey, both of whom lasted barely one year with the Mountaineers after coming from South Florida.

As you can see, both reports basically confirm the same thing – that Magee, Smith, Frey, Tall, and Barwis all resigned to come work for Coach Rod at Michigan. Again, aside from Magee (Bruce Madej confirmed he has been hired), I’ll believe that the rest are coming when it becomes official. Until then, these reports could just end up being old news in an instant or possibly even incorrect as things change quickly.

Five West Virginia Assistants Headed to Michigan?

By · Friday, January 4, 2008 · 6:44 PM |  Share | 3 Comments 

There has been quite a bit of speculation all day in regards to where West Virginia’s assistants will end up, but things are now becoming official. ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting that five WVU assistants will join Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, along with the strength and conditioning coordinator.

Five West Virginia assistant coaches, including assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Calvin McGee [sic], are headed to Michigan to follow former Mountaineers’ coach Rich Rodriguez, according to a person briefed on the decision.

The five are McGee [sic], offensive line coach Greg Frey, quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, safeties coach Bruce Tall and defensive backs coach Tony Gibson. Strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis is also headed to Michigan.

First things first, the offensive coordinator’s name is Calvin Magee, not McGee. The difference in pronunciation is very small, but I can already tell that this will be an annoyance of mine that I probably will see often.

Anyways, this is ESPN, so don’t take the story to be 100% true until Michigan or Coach Rod confirms that it is.

For Magee, Smith, and Frey, it has been confirmed by new-West Virginia coach Bill Stewart on ESPN Radio earlier today that they are going to Michigan. For Gibson, he has been with Coach Rod since he first came to Ann Arbor, so there’s no question that he’s on the new staff. The only two that have question marks about whether or not they’ll be at Michigan is Tall and Barwis.

I’m not really losing sleep over Tall, but Barwis is important. He is a great director of strength and conditioning and really would make a big impact at Michigan. I have absolutely no insight on whether or not he will end up at Michigan, but I don’t think the ESPN story is correct in regards to him, because earlier today it sounded like he was still unsure of what to do. (HT: MGoBlog)

Not mentioned in the ESPN article was WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who really impressed me with his 3-3-5 defense against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. I would like to see him come to Michigan as well, but if that doesn’t happen that hopefully Coach Rod would be able to hire Jon Tenuta if he doesn’t end up going to LSU.

As of right now, assuming Joe Schad’s report is true, here is the new staff:

Offensive Coordinator: Calvin Magee
Defensive Coordinator:

Quarterbacks Coach: Rod Smith
Running Backs Coach: Fred Jackson
Wide Receivers Coach:
Offensive Line Coach: Greg Frey
Defensive Line Coach:
Linebackers Coach:
Cornerbacks Coach: Tony Gibson
Safeties Coach: Bruce Tall

Director of Strength and Conditioning: Mike Barwis

With four openings still remaining, it could take a few more days before the entire staff is complete. I would expect that we will find out if Jeff Casteel is staying at West Virginia very soon, so the defensive coordinator position could resolve itself if he comes. At the same time, Casteel would coach linebackers as well, filling another void. If Casteel were to stay, then I’m not sure what the timetable would be to fill the DC and LBs coach spots, but I would expect it to take at least most of next week.

For wide receivers coach, it appears that Rich Rodriguez is waiting on a decision from current WVU WRs coach Tony Dews. If he comes, then obviously that spot is filled. If he stays, then I’m really hoping Erik Campbell gets rehired (was the Michigan WRs coach under Lloyd Carr). Michigan has had a ton of great WRs with Campbell coaching that position, and the Capital One Bowl just proved that even more.

The other opening, defensive line coach, really only has one name floating out there right now: Steve Stripling. He was on the Michigan staff the last few seasons and is a good coach, so it would be nice to see him return as well.

I imagine we’ll have answers to all of these questions about whether or not the ESPN report is credible and who is staying at WVU or coming to U-M in the next 24 hours, so stay tuned.

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