Michigan Football: New DC Mike Macdonald needs to be a game changer

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Michigan football announced Mike Macdonald as its new defensive coordinator on Sunday and here are some thoughts on the hire.

After the wheels fell off for the Michigan football defense in 2020, it was obvious that Jim Harbaugh needed to make a change and the move is now official as Mike Macdonald was announced as the Wolverines new defensive coordinator on Sunday.

Of course, it was reported more than a week ago that Macdonald was going to be the choice but as linebackers coach for the Ravens, but he had to wait until his team was out of the playoffs.

That happened on Saturday night and on Sunday, the Wolverines made the hire of Macdonald official, which couldn’t have come at a moment too soon.

Here’s what Harbaugh said about the hire via the release:

"“Mike is an excellent defensive mind who is highly respected across the NFL. He has been a valuable member of the Baltimore Ravens staff, and shown a passion for teaching, coaching and developing his players. We are excited about everything that Mike brings to our defense.”"

Macdonald played college football at Georgia and got his start coaching there, so he does know some about recruiting and all that. But for the last seven years, he’s been with the Ravens and has been in an on-field coaching role with the secondary or linebackers since 2017.

A big question Michigan football fans were asking was would Macdonald have a co-defensive coordinator and that answer is no. He was introduced as the DC and that’s the role he will have.

Michigan needs Macdonald to be a game-changer

There are still questions about who he will bring with him. There has been a ton of smoke about another Raven assistant, Jesse Minter coming to coach cornerbacks/secondary and there was also a rumor that Christian Robinson of Florida had a deal in place, only now he’s thinking about staying with the Gators.

It sounds like the battle for Robinson is still ongoing between Michigan football and Florida and we’ll see if Macdonald can get him on board. Beyond that, Brian Jean-Mary is another name to watch as he could stay on as linebackers coach but the staff is close to being set.

That’s vitally important because Macdonald and his staff need to get to work on the recruiting trail immediately and especially in the transfer portal.

Michigan football has vowed to attack the portal even more this year and with a big need at defensive tackle and also in need of pass rush, the Wolverines can’t wait around in the portal any longer and already, they have missed on kids because of having no defensive staff in place.

While Macdonald doesn’t have any experience as a coordinator, Minter was defensive coordinator at Georgia State and Jean-Mary also has experience in that role too.

But every coordinator needs to get a chance at some point and this move is better than a former head coach looking to be in Ann Arbor for only a year or two.

Surely, Macdonald wants to be a head coach some day and a few good years at Michigan could help him reach that goal. He’s young (33) and is viewed as a bright mind. He would have been a DC in the NFL before long, so it’s a great move by Harbaugh in that regard.

We have seen over the years how important these hires are and if Michigan football is ever going to compete with Ohio State, the Wolverines need Macdonald to be their Ryan Day on defense.

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That’s obviously a lofty standard, but that’s the kind of game-changing addition the Wolverines need to make and hopefully, Macdonald will be the guy to bring the defense back to playing at a really high level.