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Sherrone Moore Navigates Through First Obstacles


Sherrone Moore
© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

New Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore looks to have passed his first two major challenges that faced him after taking over for Jim Harbaugh. The key date for Moore to get past was February 23, 2024. That was the date the transfer portal window would close for Michigan players after Harbaugh's departure to the Los Angeles Charges.  After taking over, Moore had two major challenges: putting together a new staff and retaining as many key players as possible for the 2024 team.  Moore looks to have passed both challenges and can now focus on spring practice.


 

Staff Hires To Surround Sherrone Moore



Many fans were hoping that after the announcement of Moore taking over as head coach, he could retain most of the coaches on staff with him. Moore had a very bumpy road in front of him but was able to overcome some obstacles and navigate his way to the finish. In the end, Moore looks to have put together an experienced staff on both sides of the ball.


Offensively, Moore was promoted from within, keeping the coaches he worked beside in 2023. Quarterback coach Kirk Campbell adds offensive coordinator to his title. Grant Newsome went from tight ends coach to offensive line coach. Steve Casual went from senior offensive analyst to tight ends coach. JB Brown went from special team analyst to special team coordinator.  Ron Bellamy (wide receivers) and Mike Hart (running backs) stayed and will be coaching the same position groups.


Kirk Campbell
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Unlike on offense, Moore needed to find all new coaches on the defense. Former head coach Jim Harbaugh did no favors for Moore by raiding the defensive staff and taking most with him to LA.  Moore needed to hire a completely new coaching staff and to his credit, he brought both NFL and college experience to Ann Arbor.  Wink Martindale, formerly of the New York Giants, is the new defensive coordinator. Joining Martindale are defensive tackles coach Greg Scruggs (Wisconsin), linebackers coach Brain Jean-Mary (Tennessee), and defensive backs coach LaMar Morgan (Louisiana).

 

The majority of Michigan's key players are returning on the defensive side of the ball. The new defensive staff must quickly build relationships with the players.  Spring practice will start on March 18 with the Spring game scheduled for April 20. The relationships built at this time will hopefully keep most of the players from entering the new transfer window that will open on May 1.      


 

 Retaining Players



Harbaugh's exit gave Michigan players a 30-day window to enter their names into the transfer portal and look to continue their collegiate careers elsewhere. Michigan moved fast in hiring Sherrone Moore with the hope of retaining as many players as possible, it looks like that move has paid off.




 

Rivals believed that with two outstanding NCAA investigations hanging over the program and the possibility of the hammer coming down on Michigan, a mass exodus was inevitable. The Moore hire looks to have stabilized the program as the Wolverines have kept all but one of their key players from the 2023 National Championship team.



Lucrative NIL deals and rumored tampering with players on current rosters have become part of the college athletics landscape. The fact that Michigan only lost one key player since Harbaugh left is Moore's first win as Michigan head coach. The fear that Michigan was going to suffer the same fate as Washington, with a mass exodus of players after DeBoer headed to Alabama, never came to fruition.  Keon Sabb was the only significant player Moore lost, he was expected to compete for a starting role in the secondary but decided to leave Michigan and head to Alabama.

 


 

Moore and staff are not out of the woods yet, and work will need to be done to make it to September without any key losses on the roster.  May 1st is the official day when the spring transfer portal window will open up and players will have the ability to leave again.  Moore will need to build on the success he has had over the previous month if he hopes to keep as many players as possible.



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