Michigan Football: Wolverines add new safeties coach but staff up in air

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been pushing for the Big Ten to play fall football.Jim Harbaugh
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been pushing for the Big Ten to play fall football.Jim Harbaugh /

It’s been interesting to watch Michigan football build its defensive staff and for the second time, a strong favorite for a job is going somewhere else. 

Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh has his new defensive coordinator and according to reports Monday, a new safeties coach. But there is still work to do.

Harbaugh did announce Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator on Sunday and Monday night, according to multiple reports, the Wolverines will also hire George Helow, who spent the last season coaching inside linebackers and special teams for Maryland.

However, Helow has a strong resume and began his coaching career under Nick Saban and eventually became the safeties coach at Colorado State before going to Maryland last year.

Helow also has a connection to Macdonald, the new defensive coordinator, which is another reason it makes sense for Michigan football.

Other positions still being decided

But there are still some openings that need to be filled on the defensive staff and according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Athletic, Jesse Minter, the secondary coach for the Ravens, won’t be coming to Michigan to coach corners. Instead, he will go to Vanderbilt as defensive coordinator.

Sam Webb of the Michigan Insider ($) also confirmed that Michigan football will not be hiring Christian Robinson away from Florida. The Gators were able to keep him. That could mean that Brian Jean-Mary is back in the fold but that doesn’t seem to be a certainty yet.

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Basically, Macdonald needs a cornerbacks coach and with Will Johnson, a five-star cornerback recruit in 2022, potentially making a decision relatively soon, a dynamic new hire is essential.

The ideal name is Kentucky’s Steve Clinkscale.

Clinkscale would be a tremendous hire for the Wolverines. He’s been coaching at Kentucky as defensive backs coach and went there after a stint at Cincinnati, including one season as DC.

Not only is he known as a really good coach, Clinkscale is from Youngstown, Ohio and worked at Toledo as well as Cincinnati. In terms of recruiting, that couldn’t be better for Michigan football which needs to increase its presence in Ohio.

Clinkscale is also the kind of hire that should be viewed favorably by recruits like Johnson, however, he’s not the only candidate and like Florida did with Robinson, Kentucky isn’t going to let him leave without a fight.

Whatever happens, Michigan needs to finalize the staff quickly, then it needs to get to work on the roster in the transfer portal.