CHICAGO — Michigan still doesn’t have an offensive coordinator.
And Jim Harbaugh’s not sure if that will change.
Speaking with reporters at Big Ten media days in Chicago on Monday, Harbaugh maintained the stance he’s had throughout the team’s offseason: He’s placed a high value on the way his revamped offensive coaching staff has worked as a collaborative unit.
And, as of right now, he’s hesitant to move away from the type of chemistry he believes the group has developed since beginning spring practice back in March.
Still, the question came up again Monday. Will he name an offensive coordinator this season?
“We might. We’ve got Pep (Hamilton on staff). I don’t know, I can’t explain it to you,” Harbaugh says. “I’m not going to try to explain it anymore. We feel good the way we’ve got it going right now. We’re going to keep going in that direction.”
Harbaugh’s first three seasons at Michigan featured a collaborative play-calling effort between himself and his coaching staff. Same time, he did give now former assistant Tim Drevno the offensive coordinator tag from 2015-17.
When passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch left his post for an offensive coordinator spot at UCLA in early 2017, Hamilton was brought in as an assistant head coach/passing game coordinator from the Cleveland Browns.
Drevno left Michigan this spring and was immediately replaced by Ed Warinner as the program’s offensive line coach. Run game coordinator Greg Frey left for Florida State. Michigan hired and lost Dan Enos before spring practice ever started, eventually winding up with former Florida head coach Jim McElwain as a wide receivers coach. Sherrone Moore was hired away from Central Michigan as a tight ends coach and Jay Harbaugh remains in his role as running backs coach.
Whatever the situation currently is, Harbaugh said he’s enjoying the way it’s playing out.
“We’re so good right now, I think, at collaboration. The way we’ve got it going,” Harbaugh added. “We’re pretty confident (with it).”
In the past, both Drevno and the passing game coordinator (Fisch and Hamilton) worked together with the rest of the coaching staff to put game plans together. During games, both offered play suggestions based on their area of expertise (run or pass) and Harbaugh served as the final decision-maker on which call was made.
It wasn’t out of character for Harbaugh to send a run and a pass play in at once and allow the quarterback to check into the proper call at the line of scrimmage based on the look he saw from the defense.
Throughout his coaching stops at San Diego, Stanford and with the San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh’s leaned heavily on the idea of every coach on the staff having a say in how the offense runs.
Whether or not someone has the tag of “offensive coordinator” next to his name doesn’t seem to be something he’s concerned with at the moment.
“Great collaboration, I think that’s what we were striving for with our offensive coaching staff. Great additions. Jim McElwain, Ed Warinner, Sherrone Moore. Jay Harbaugh’s back, Pep Hamilton’s doing a great job. We believe we have a lot of great football minds,” Harbaugh said. “It’s been a tremendous collaboration, it needs to be. When you have that many good coaches you need to draw from as many as you can.”