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.

Wednesday Quick Hits: Spring Game to Return to Michigan Stadium

By · Wednesday, January 7, 2009 · 1:46 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • This year’s spring game will be played at Michigan Stadium on April 11 as of right now, according to Rich Rodriguez. The 2008 spring game had to be played at Saline High School due to the ongoing construction at Michigan Stadium, but this year the work being done doesn’t seem to be as intrusive.
  • Despite rampant speculation that Michigan is going to switch to a 3-3-5 defense, Rodriguez recently stated that that is not true.
    “You can’t just be a 3-4 guy or a 4-3 guy. At West Virginia we ran a 3-3-5 base, which was a little different. We’ll maintain here the 4-3, 3-4 principle,” he insisted. “We did a lot of 3-4 stuff in our second- and third-down packages this year, and we’ll continue to do more four-man and odd front.

    “I know what I want to do philosophically, but I don’t want to change everything because of what we have on our team and what we’ve recruited so far. Our full-time defensive coaches, Jay Hopson, Tony Gibson and Bruce Tall … I’ve coached with Bruce and Tony for several years, Jay this past year but I’ve known him for several years … all have been college coordinators, so they’ve got a lot of experience in the 4-3 and 3-4 packages. They get along great, they are good people and they are going to be involved in which direction we want to go.”

    We’ll have to see if that thinking changes at all when a new defensive coordinator is hired.

  • Michigan never sold out all 184 wheelchair seats this past football season. The highest occupancy was when 89% of the seats were filled for the Wisconsin game. The lowest was 74% against Northwestern. I’m not really surprised that there wasn’t more demand, but let’s hope these seats start to fill up in the future. When the Michigan Stadium renovation is finished there will be 329 wheelchair seats. If Michigan can’t even sell out 184, how many will be empty in 2010?
  • Morgan Trent and Terrance Taylor will play in the Shrine Game on January 17.
  • The Hoosier Report previewed tonight’s game between Michigan and Indiana. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
  • MGoBlog rounded up how Michigan commits played in the two all-star games this past weekend.
  • Rob Parker resigned from the Detroit News last Friday. That is just great news for everyone.
  • Boston College head coach Jeff Jagodzinski interviewed with the New York Jets and is likely going to be fired by BC because of the interview. I get that BC’s athletic director wants a loyal coach, but to fire him over an interview with an NFL team is just absolutely ridiculous.

McGuffie Practices, Will Likely Play Against Ohio State

By · Friday, November 21, 2008 · 3:38 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 

Sam McGuffie is back from Texas and practiced on Thursday. He will make the trip to Columbus and will likely play against Ohio State on Saturday.

“He had a great practice,” U-M assistant head coach Tony Gibson said Thursday night on the Rich Rodriguez Radio Show. “Sam’s doing fine, and he’s ready to go to Ohio State.”

There had been much speculation this week that McGuffie might be transferring from Michigan.

“I don’t know where the rumors start, who starts it, and why they start,” Gibson said. “He’s back and doing well. He’ll be in classes in the morning (Friday) and on the bus heading down to Columbus.”

McGuffie’s future status with the team is still in question, regardless of the fact that he will probably play against Ohio State. I’m sure we’ll find out whether or not he is going to stay at Michigan within the weeks following the season. He may just need time to sit down and think about whether or not Michigan is the right place for him. Until any official decision is made, there’s no point to stress about McGuffie since things could change anyways.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Michigan Sweeps Ohio State in Hockey

By · Tuesday, November 4, 2008 · 3:20 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Louie Caporusso was named the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week after amassing six points in two games against Ohio State.
  • Speaking of those two games, Michigan won 4-3 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday. Both games were very exciting, and the atmosphere was awesome since Ohio State was the opponent.
  • Sam McGuffie and Mike Williams didn’t make the trip to the Purdue game since both were still recovering from slight concussions. McGuffie and Williams are expected to play on Saturday against Minnesota.
  • Justin Feagin has switched to #30 and played on special teams coverage against Purdue. It is very strange that the coaches decided to burn his redshirt for special teams coverage, but they must feel that he won’t contribute too much beyond that. If they felt differently they wouldn’t have played him, so their feelings must be that there is no need to keep him around for five years, especially when he can contribute on special teams and possibly slot receiver right now.
  • The Big Ten Network’s coverage of the Purdue game was absolutely terrible. It was an all around dismal effort, and the announcing was beyond annoying. Note to Charles Davis, Vance Bedford is no longer Michigan’s secondary coach. He left for Florida after Rich Rodriguez was hired, and it is an insult to Bedford to mention him with Michigan’s current secondary. The secondary actually improved quite a bit under Bedford in 2007. This year, though, it seems like every defensive back has regressed, and Tony Gibson and Scott Shafer can be blamed for that.
  • It has been well documented what streaks came to an end after Michigan lost to Purdue this past Saturday. In case you have been living under a rock, Michigan will have its first losing season since the 1967 and will not go to a bowl game for the first time in 33 years. It is going to be a strange feeling after the Ohio State game since that will be it. There is no bowl game to look forward to, and football season for Michigan will be over in November for the first time since 1974.
  • The Lansing State Journal’s Tim Staudt talked with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany recently, and many interesting topics were discussed. Delany said that there will be discussion about adding a ninth conference game for football, though I don’t even know if that would be possible. Since a ninth conference game would mean that teams wouldn’t play only one team rather than two, there would be an uneven number of games if I did my math correctly. One team would be left out of the rotation, so I’m not sure how that would work.

    Delany also said that the Motor City Bowl is interested in moving up in the Big Ten’s bowl lineup. I personally don’t think they should be able to since it isn’t that great of a bowl. Playing a MAC team in Detroit is not an ideal bowl trip for any Big Ten team, so I can’t imagine there would be much support for the Motor City Bowl to get a higher selection.

  • The basketball team’s exhibition game against Saginaw Valley State on Thursday will be shown live on the Big Ten Network’s website.
  • UM Hoops has a summary of the basketball student tickets policy. There are going to be incentives to attend games this year, which hopefully will result in the bleachers not being as empty as they usually are for games that aren’t against high-profile teams or rivals.
  • Also at UM Hoops is the great news that Michigan had little trouble against Kent State in a closed scrimmage on Sunday. A year ago Kent State supposedly took it to Michigan, so it’s good to see things were different this time around.
  • Manny Harris was interviewed by the BTN recently. (See below)

  • Recruit Vladimir Emilien is going to announce his decision on November 23rd. His finalists are Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Stanford.
  • Toledo head coach Tom Amstutz is going to step down at the end of the season. The Rockets have only won two games this season, and sadly one of them came against Michigan.
  • Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer is also going to step down at the end of the season, though it is not really his choice.

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.

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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