Maurice Linguist 'just clicked' in first meeting with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Maurice Linguist, Michigan’s new co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach, said when he spoke to head coach Jim Harbaugh about joining the staff, they immediately clicked.

Linguist, 36, played safety at Baylor and has coaching experience at eight college programs and most recently coached defensive backs for the Dallas Cowboys. He joined the “In the Trenches” podcast this week with host Jon Jansen. The conversation was recorded just before spring practice began on Monday, so while Linguist could not offer is thoughts on what he has seen so far from his players, he discussed how he wants the defensive backs to play and shared his feelings about recruiting.

Maurice Linguist

He said Harbaugh reached out for the initial contact and then the two had follow-up conversations.

“And things just clicked,” Linguist said on the podcast. “We had quality, good conversations about the vision of the football program, his vision of what we’re working on and where we are and what we could become, and we shared a similar vision.”

Linguist said he told his players recently that he is going to equip them with fundamentals, will teach technique and give them scheme and made it clear what he expects from them.

“If I had to ask one question when I watch us play, what do I want to see,” Linguist said he told the players. "The word that comes to mind is play-style. Not what you’re doing, but how are you doing it. Listen, a lot of schemes have been successful. The common denominator is how you play the game.

“It’s the confidence and conviction and the determination and grit, all the values I believe a lot of what Midwestern people stand for. We want to put that on the football field. We want to play with a shocking level of effort. We want people flipping through the channels and stop what they’re doing and say, ‘Wow, these guys play so hard.’ We want non-football fans to be attracted to our team and our program just because they know what we stand for and what we’re about. and when we hit the field, I can’t tell you what the final score is gonna be, but I can tell you we will fight and scratch and claw to win every single down.”

As a native Texan, Linguist knows firsthand about Texas high school football. And having coached college football since he was a graduate assistant in 2007, he knows plenty about recruiting.

“You’re just trying to find winners,” Linguist said of his approach to recruiting. “Does he get it? Does he have what it takes? Does he have something inside of him you can build on? There’s always going to be development. You’re looking to see do they meet the thresholds and that’s where coaching comes into play, the teaching, the developing, the connection and giving them the knowledge they need.

“It’s one when you get it right, and you hit it on the head, it really moves the needle in your football program when you’re bringing in the right type of people that have got the right mindset and you’re giving them those tools and they take it and run with it.”

Twitter: @chengelis