Two Michigan Assistants Candidates For Head Coaching Jobs, Per Reports

jim mcelwain michigan wide receiver coach

Two Michigan Assistants Candidates For Head Coaching Jobs, Per Reports

Football

Two Michigan Assistants Candidates For Head Coaching Jobs, Per Reports

Every year at a school like Michigan, there’s likely to be coaching attrition. If things go poorly at one position group, naturally, that coach will likely be forced out in search of one who can get his unit to perform better. However, in the case of the Wolverines this year, it’s more that coaches could find themselves with significant upgrades, because of how good their groups have been.

Such might be the case for two current coaches for the maize and blue — and unlike what one might expect, given the prowess of the Michigan defense in all but one game this season — both are on the offensive side of the ball.

First, Football Scoop reported late Thursday evening that first-year Michigan wide receivers coach Jim McElwain — who was added to the staff when the NCAA allowed for a 10th on-field assistant this past offseason — is a ‘strong candidate’ for the vacancy at nearby Central Michigan, after the firing of John Bonamego.

Sources tell FootballScoop Thursday evening that former Florida and Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain has emerged as a strong candidate for the head coaching position at Central Michigan.

McElwain currently coaches receivers for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.

All along sources have told FootballScoop that new CMU AD Michael Alford has been looking to make a big name hire; with Mike Stoops and others reportedly in the mix as well. Head here for a look at other candidates Alford has considered for the job; but we’re hearing Alford is pushing for a hire sooner rather than later and McElwain we are told is a strong candidate.

In his single year in Ann Arbor, the former Colorado State and Florida head coach took a young receiving group that had not had a touchdown past Week Three in 2017 to another level. Top two targets Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones combined for 72 receptions, 1,093 yards and 13 touchdowns — a year after combining for 25 receptions, 303 yards and no touchdowns.

Overall, Michigan’s receiving production across the board improved from 2,226 yards in 13 games a year ago to 2,555 in 12 games this season.

But McElwain isn’t the only Michigan coach who’s up for a head coaching job. The other happens to be a coach that many fans aren’t happy with, and the job happens to be in the same Big Ten division as the Wolverines.

Per Washington Post sportswriter Emily Giambalvo, Michigan pass game coordinator Pep Hamilton is a finalist who will get a chance to be interviewed for the Maryland head coaching vacancy, left after the firing of former Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who spent 2 years in College Park.

Hamilton took over the pass game coordinator position in Ann Arbor after Jedd Fisch had taken the UCLA offensive coordinator job under then-coach Jim Mora Jr. The second-year coach, who arrived at Michigan after serving as the assistant head coach with the NFL Cleveland Browns, has been under undue scrutiny at times, with the misconception that he is the Wolverines offensive coordinator. However, with Jim Harbaugh as a head coach, he essentially is his own coordinator, with Hamilton and the other offensive assistants offering input into the playcalling, scheme and game-planning on a week-to-week, game-to-game and call-to-call basis.

Under Hamilton, with transfer quarterback Shea Patterson leading the charge, Michigan’s pass game has gotten significantly better. As a whole, Michigan quarterbacks completed 64.5% of their passes in the regular season, for 2,555 yards, and 23 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. Last year’s injury-plagued group had but 9 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and completed just 53.5% of their passes.

Last year, Michigan had to replace a bevy of assistant coaches, with safeties coach Brian Smith taking the Rice defensive coordinator position, offensive line/tight ends coach Greg Frey returning to his alma mater, Florida State, to coach the OL and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno departing the program and eventually taking the USC running backs coach position.

Since arriving in Ann Arbor in Dec. 2014, only three assistant coaches who arrived with Jim Harbaugh have remained: defensive line coach Greg Mattison (who was serving as the Wolverines defensive coordinator under Brady Hoke), cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich and running backs coach Jay Harbaugh. Current safeties coach Chris Partridge was with the program, but off-the-field as an analyst and recruiting coordinator.

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