Harbaugh busy trying to move Michigan football forward

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Jim Harbaugh has been on the job as Michigan's coach for a week, and as expected, there are plenty of pieces in motion.

Harbaugh was hired last week to replace Brady Hoke — fired last month after four seasons — and has had a few priorities on which he has been focused, namely, hiring a staff and getting himself acquainted with recruiting.

Here are a few burning questions regarding Harbaugh and his first week coaching his alma mater:

Who is Michigan's offensive coordinator?

Michigan quarterback Shane Morris joked last week after Harbaugh's news conference that he will work under his third offensive coordinator in three seasons.

Tim Drevno, most recently the offensive line coach/run game coordinator at USC, and a former assistant under Harbaugh with the 49ers, Stanford and San Diego, is expected to run the offense. Drevno is listed in the Michigan directory with a school email address and apparently was working at Schembechler Hall on Monday.

What about the defensive coordinator?

Greg Mattison, defensive coordinator the last four seasons, reportedly has continued recruiting and is expected to be on Harbaugh's staff. But D.J. Durkin, who most recently led Florida to a bowl victory as interim coach and worked for Harbaugh at Stanford, also is listed in the Michigan directory and is expected to be the defensive coordinator.

Durkin is a hotshot young talent who was defensive coordinator at Florida in 2013 and was linebackers/special teams coordinator two years before that. He was defensive ends/special teams coordinator at Stanford under Harbaugh from 2007-09.

So, how has Harbaugh spent the last week?

Aside from a trip to Pittsburgh to support his brother John Harbaugh, coach of the Ravens, he has been working to assemble his staff and contact recruits.

Harbaugh is expected to officially meet with his new players Wednesday at Schembechler Hall, introduce his staff and give them their winter conditioning assignments. While he already has met several players individually, including the handful who appeared at his news conference, this will be the first time the team will meet as a group post-winter break.

What about the strength staff?

It was a bit of a blow for Michigan to not land Stanford strength coach Shannon Turley, who is remaining with the Cardinal.

This might be the single most important immediate hire because the players, back from winter break, have to focus on conditioning heading into spring practice. The word is Kevin Tolbert, an assistant strength coach with the 49ers the last four seasons, is heading to Ann Arbor today, perhaps to fill the job. He worked with Harbaugh at Stanford and was on Michigan's staff from 2001-07.

Can Fred Jackson survive another coaching change?

Jackson has been on Michigan's staff since 1992, worked under four coaches and handled the running backs.

But, word is former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, most recently an assistant with the Bills, is expected in Ann Arbor this week to discuss the opening.

As far as Jackson, while he is listed as a retired employee in the Michigan online directory, he hopes to work. He filed benefit paperwork because his contract expired, but has not yet made a decision to retire from coaching.

What's up with recruiting?

The dead period, which means no in-person contact with recruits, ends Jan. 14. The first day of the official signing period is Feb. 4, which means Harbaugh and his staff will use the second half of January to make in-roads.

achengelis@detroitnews.com

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