Friday, February 09, 2007

Help Wanted: Coaching Vacancy

The vacancy on the Michigan Football staff created by the departure of Ron Lee has yet to be filled although there are rumors flying around the Michigan blogoshphere that the school has already identified its leading candidate for Lee's replacement. The question is how Coach Carr will want to configure his staff for the 2007 season. Traditionally, the staff had a dedicated special teams coordinator who had the dual responsibility of being in charge of recruiting. A few years ago that position was capably held by Bobby Morrison. More recently, Mike DeBord (2004-2005) performed those tasks before he was promoted to Offensive Coordinator prior to the 2006 season. Last season, the tasks were divided up among a few different people. Chris Singletary was brought in as the new Recruiting Coordinator while Ron Lee was brought in to coach the cornerbacks and work with the punt return team. Ron English was, of course, promoted from defensive secondary coach to Defensive Coordinator. However, Coach English continued to coach the safeties in addition to his new duties. Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers Coach Erik Campbell chipped in by helping work with the team's punt returners while Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Fred Jackson worked with the team's kickoff returners. This coaching special teams-by-committee approach ultimately did not prove to be very successful as is demonstrated by the fact that Michigan finished 79th in the nation (of 119 teams) in kickoff returns and 57th in net punting.

For 2007, Coach Carr should assign Ron English to solely perform the duties of Defensive Coordinator. Coach Carr's new hire should be the defensive secondary coach responsible for both the cornerbacks and the safeties. The question is what should be done about the Special Teams Coach. I think Coach Carr needs to re-assign tasks among the existing staff so there can once again be a singular Special Teams Coach. I think Linebackers Coach Steve Szabo is the logical choice to be tapped as the one to add Special Teams Coach to his title as he has vast experience and he has the least on his plate relatively speaking when compared to the current tasks of the other coaches. Sorry Coach Szabo but it is for the good of the team. Go Blue!

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