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UM's returning assistant Frey: 'We have a lot of talent here'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Greg Frey said he has transitioned smoothly to Michigan’s staff and likes the offensive line and tight end personnel he has inherited.

Frey, who coached at Michigan under Rich Rodriguez 2008-2010, and then moved on to Indiana where he was a Broyles Award nominee for college football’s top assistant in 2015, has returned to work on Jim Harbaugh’s staff. He will handle the offensive tackles and tight ends and is the run-game coordinator.

He praised offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, who also coached the offensive line the last two seasons but now will focus on the interior line, Jay Harbaugh who coached tight ends the last two seasons and now moves to running backs, and Pep Hamilton, also a new hire who will be the pass-game coordinator working with quarterbacks and receivers.

“It’s big time,” Frey said this week of the staff. “It’s been a great experience.”

Frey is happy with the athletes with whom he will be working.

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“We have a lot of talent there,” he said. “Of course there’s some young positions. I can’t get wait to get to work on the practice field. Right now it’s more been just mentality and just talking and getting to know each other. The chit-chat of coaching I call it. I can’t wait to get to practice.

“It’s been a very easy transition. Unbelievable. Great guys, great people. Very much a similarity (to Indiana’s offense, which was more up-tempo). People don’t realize how similar. Like where we were a shotgun no huddle compared to Michigan and pro style and coach Harbaugh’s offense, there’s a lot of similarities. It’s a lot easier than what I expected.  There’s a lot of things where you go from A to C in a no huddle and you assume. Here it’s just spelled out and that’s really the step in the huddle, talking, communicating. Up there you don’t do as much of that on the line. You’re just rolling. All the calls and the techniques, it’s all the same. It’s just a quickened version.”

Frey said returning to Ann Arbor has been an easy transition. During his previous stay he was extremely active in the Michigan from the Heart Thursday night trips to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital to visit sick children, and he already has re-engaged in that activity.

“Every Thursday I’ll be there,” Frey said earlier this week after Mock Rock. “I loved my time here the first time, and I love it here now.”

Frey did not know Harbaugh before they met during his interview, but he knew plenty about him. They share a mutual friend in Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt. Frey worked on Leavitt’s staff at South Florida, and Harbaugh hired Leavitt in 2011 to coach linebackers for the 49ers.

He also played with Michigan defensive analyst Devin Bush at Florida State where they were part of a national championship team and has gotten to know defensive line coach Greg Mattison through recruiting, particularly the west coast of Florida where they’ve crossed paths. Frey said he also knows many who were at Michigan during his previous three seasons.

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But to work with Harbaugh was what made Frey’s decision to accept the job so easy.

“There’s very few opportunities I’d say to me are that way,” Frey said. “Working for coach Harbaugh, it was not a hard decision at all. When we were on the phone, I muted it and I was talking to my wife as he was talking and telling her everything. It was about 18 seconds in my mind and I was like, ‘I’m ready to roll.’ He hadn’t offered me the job but in my mind I was sort of like, ‘OK, that’s an opportunity if I get it I’m going to definitely go.’”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis