The Wink Martindale era has begun for the Wolverines. The former New York Giants defensive coordinator is ready to fill the significant hole left by the departure of Jesse Minter. And who better to assume that role than the man who mentored Minter in Baltimore?
Once again, continuity has been a key focus in Sherrone Moore’s choices for his assistants and coordinators, and Wink is more of the same. His defensive scheme is well known for its blitz-heavy focus and with the talent at the quarterback position in the Big Ten next year with the likes of Will Howard, Dillon Gabriel and Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Michigan football will need to find creative ways to pressure opposing passers.
Thankfully for Wink, the Wolverines have just the talent to accomplish that goal. If a defense loves to blitz, then they most certainly will need to ensure that the secondary is up to the task of regularly covering big-play wide receivers one one-on-one. Thankfully Michigan football returns one of the best cover corners in the country in Will Johnson and has plenty of talent in defensive backs Rod Moore and Makari Paige. Keon Sabb also played well and could step in to fill the shoes of the legendary Mike Sainristil. If Wink wants to blitz then he’s got the corners and safeties to give him confidence to do so.
And who is going to be doing all that blitzing you might ask? Look no further than Ernest Hausmann who was one of the Wolverines best linebackers last year who is coming back to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. And when our linebackers rush the quarterback, that will be in addition to one of the best defensive lines in the Big Ten. Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant are absolute monsters on the interior and Josiah Stewart can cause havoc on the outside.
The Michigan football defense in 2024 was the unit with the most returning talent and the most impact-ready players. The addition of Wink solidifies this defense and ensures that they will be ready to take over next year if our offense struggles, which is a possibility given all of the star players that must be replaced there. For so many years Wolverines fans have looked to the defense to take over games and it looks as though in 2024 it will be more of the same.
With so much uncertainty at the quarterback position, Donovan Edwards’ ability to consistently run the football will be critical for this team to have success, but even more important will be how this loaded defense can enforce its will, take over games, and put the offense in a position to be effective. Wink unquestionably gives us that and it’s another example of a hire that is a great fit for this team.