Big Ten: Adam Braithwaite
What's new: After losing linebackers coach Jay Hopson to Memphis, Rodriguez promoted Adam Braithwaite to safeties and outside linebackers coach. He also added special teams to the plate of secondary coach Tony Gibson, who will continue to work with free safeties and cornerbacks. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will work with the linebackers. There was a lot of talk this spring about the 3-3-5 defensive alignment, as Michigan must replace standouts Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren.
Sidelined: Defensive lineman Will Heininger (knee) is the only player out because of injury, and he might not play this season. Running back Vincent Smith is expected to be 100 percent for camp after undergoing offseason knee surgery. Running back Mike Shaw appears on the team's 2010 roster, although he had some eligibility issues to clear up with summer school.
Key battle: You might have heard, but Michigan's quarterback spot is undecided and Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson resume the competition today. The Wolverines also need to identify a featured running back or two, and Smith, Shaw, Michael Cox and Fitzgerald Toussaint are in the mix. Kenny Demens will push Obi Ezeh at middle linebacker, and J.T. Floyd looks to cement himself as a starting cornerback opposite Troy Woolfolk. Both kick specialist jobs also are up for grabs.
New on the scene: Michigan still needs its freshmen to play, especially on defense. Look out for defensive back Cullen Christian, defensive lineman Richard Ash and linebacker Marvin Robinson, among others. In a perfect world, Michigan could redshirt quarterback Devin Gardner, but if he's the best option, Rodriguez won't hesitate to play the freshman.
Back in the fold: Center David Molk was Michigan's best offensive lineman before knee problems cut short his 2009 season. After a strong offseason, Molk will boost a line that has enough talent and depth to be the team's biggest strength this fall. Receiver Junior Hemingway, who had a strong start last fall before being sidelined by mononucleosis, also returns to the mix.
Breaking out: If Denard Robinson builds on his spring performance, he could be the difference maker for Michigan's offense this fall. Receiver Roy Roundtree could be on the verge of bigger things after leading the team in receptions (32), receiving yards (434) and receiving touchdowns (3) last year. Hopes are high for defensive end/linebacker Craig Roh, who recorded 7.5 tackles for loss as a true freshman in 2009. Safety Cam Gordon was the star of spring practice and could be poised for a big year.
Quotable: "There's a lot of hungry football players up in Ann Arbor, and I think they're as excited as I am to get going. We have some questions, certainly, on both sides of the ball." -- head coach Rich Rodriguez
Barring any late coaching changes, here's a look at who's gone, who's back and who's in new roles.
- Who's out: Mike Schultz (fired)
- Who's in: Paul Petrino (previously offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Arkansas)
- Who's out: Dan Disch and Curt Mallory both were demoted to position coaches. Disch is staying on staff as linebackers coach.
- Who's in: Vic Koenning (previously co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State)
- Who's out: Kurt Beathard (fired)
- Who's in: Jeff Brohm (previously quarterbacks coach at Florida Atlantic)
- Who's out: Jim Pry (fired)
- Who's in: Greg Nord (previously running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Louisville)
- Who's out: Reggie Mitchell (left to become running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Kansas)
- Who's in: DeAndre Smith (previously running backs coach at UNLV)
- Mallory left his position as secondary coach to become defensive coordinator at Akron.
- Special-teams coordinator Mike Woodford was fired along with Schultz, Beathard and Pry.
- Ron West was hired as a defensive assistant. His official responsibilities have not been announced.
Offensive line coach
- Who's out: Bobby Johnson (left to become assistant offensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills)
- Who's in: Myron "Mo" Moriarity (previously served as head coach at Carmel (Ind.) High School
No staff changes, but recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson was named tight ends coach. Wide receivers coach Erik Campbell previously had worked with the tight ends, while Johnson had helped Darrell Wilson with the linebackers.
- Who's out: Jay Hopson (left to become defensive coordinator at Memphis)
- Who's in: Quality control assistant Adam Braithwaite was promoted to outside linebackers/strong safeties coach. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will take a more active role with the linebackers in 2010.
- Secondary coach Tony Gibson will continue to work with cornerbacks and free safeties, and also serve as special-teams coordinator.
Running backs coach
- Who's out: Dan Enos (left to become head coach at Central Michigan)
- Who's in: Brad Salem (previously served as head coach at Augustana College)
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
- Who's out: Jedd Fisch (left to become quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks)
- Who's in: Jeff Horton (previously served as quarterbacks coach with the Detroit Lions)
- Who's out: Richard Hightower (left to become assistant special-teams coach for the Washington Redskins)
- Who's in: Steve Watson (previously served as associate head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2008)
- Running backs coach Thomas Hammock was named co-offensive coordinator
No coaching changes
No coaching changes
No coaching changes
Defensive line coach
- Who's out: Terrell Williams (left to become defensive line coach at Texas A&M)
- Who's in: Gary Emanuel (previously served as defensive line coach at Rutgers). Emanuel also was named co-defensive coordinator with a focus on run defense.
Defensive backs coach
- Who's out: Kerry Cooks (left to become outside linebackers coach at Notre Dame)
- Who's in: Chris Ash (previously served as defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Iowa State)
- Randall McCray, who served as Wisconsin's recruiting coordinator and assistant secondary coach, left to become defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Wisconsin has yet to fill the vacancy.
The NCAA sent the notice Monday morning, and Michigan now has 90 days to respond. Michigan then will appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions at a hearing in August.
You can read the NCAA's report here, as well as a letter sent to head football coach Rich Rodriguez, who appeared alongside incoming athletics director David Brandon and university president Mary Sue Coleman at today's news conference.
Here's a summary of the five allegations:
1. Five Michigan quality control staffers regularly engaged in both on-field and off-field coaching activities that are prohibited by NCAA rules. By engaging in these activities, Michigan exceeded the limit on number of coaches who can engage in these activities. Quality control personnel are alleged to have coached players two days a week in offseason workouts, warm-up activities during the season and film study, and they also attended meetings that involved coaching activities.
2. Michigan violated NCAA rules by having football staff members "monitor and conduct voluntary summer workouts, conduct impermissible activities outside the playing season, require football student-athletes to participate in summer conditioning activities for disciplinary purposes [missing class], and exceed time limits for countable athletically related activities during and outside the playing season." This seems to be the most serious charge and the one that sparked the Detroit Free Press report and the investigation. Here are some of the specifics:
- In two separate offseason periods in both 2008 and 2009, football players were sometimes required to participate in up to 10 hours of athletic activities or weight training/conditioning, which exceeds the limit of eight hours.
- During the 2008 season, players were sometimes required to participate for up to five hours a day in "countable athletically related activities," exceeding the maximum of four hours. The staff exceeded the 20-hour-a-week limit by 20 minutes during the week of Oct. 19, 2008.
- During September 2009, football players were required to participate in four and a half hours of activities per day, exceeding the NCAA limit by 30 minutes. The report identifies four dates in question: Sept. 7, Sept. 14, Sept. 21, Sept. 28.
4. Because of the first two allegations (detailed above), Rodriguez is alleged to have "failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failed to adequately monitor the duties and activities of the quality control staff members, a graduate assistant coach and a student assistant coach, and the time limits for athletically related activities."
5. Because of the first two allegations, Michigan's athletics department is alleged to have "failed to adequately monitor its football program to assure compliance." Compliance staff members became concerned about the duties of the quality control coaches in the winter of 2008 but didn't gather enough information to determine potential problems. The strength and conditioning staff didn't calculate time limits for offseason workouts or effectively communicate information to the compliance office. This resulted in the compliance office approving miscalculated activities and failing to follow its own policies for monitoring these activities. Athletics staff also failed to provide the forms showing countable activities to the compliance office.
So how serious are these allegations?
In the letter to Rodriguez, the NCAA writes that "all of the allegations charged in the notice of allegations are considered to be potential major violations of NCAA legislation, unless designated as secondary violations." In its response to the NCAA, Michigan has the right to point out why alleged violations should be considered secondary. You can bet Michigan will do so.
Brandon told reporters today that while Michigan takes any allegations seriously, "there was no charge of loss of institutional control, none whatsoever." We don't know yet whether these violations will be labeled as major, which has historical significance because Michigan has never been hit with major violations before. But "major violations" can sound worse than they actually are, and these allegations certainly don't fit into the same category of recruiting improprieties, paying players, etc.
Brandon reiterated that Rodriguez will be Michigan's head coach in 2010 and that he has seen nothing to indicate a change at the top is necessary.
Michigan could be termed a repeat violator of NCAA rules because these allegations occur within the five years since the school was sanctioned for much more serious violations involving its men's basketball program. It's unlikely Michigan gets nailed for this, but it's within the realm of possibility.
A few takeaways from the news conference:
- Brandon and Rodriguez repeatedly stated they take the allegations seriously, which was the right move. But when the seriousness of the allegations keeps getting questioned, it probably means the repercussions won't be too bad for Michigan.
- The investigations were all sparked by allegations from current and former players that Michigan had grossly exceeded NCAA time limits for practices, offseason workouts and other team activities. Going 20 minutes beyond the weekly limit or 30 minutes beyond the daily limit is hardly extreme. It happens everywhere. If anything, the NCAA report helps Rodriguez and Michigan on this issue.
- Michigan's decision to put its CARA forms online -- logs sent from teams to the compliance office to monitor countable activities -- is much needed. Brandon acknowledged Michigan wasn't being diligent enough with these forms in the past.
- Brandon declined to discuss personnel decisions, so it will be interesting to see if any heads roll. It's noteworthy that Adam Braithwaite, a quality control assistant named in the NCAA's report, recently was elevated to a full-time assistant coach position. The allegations against Herron certainly suggest some disciplinary action will be taken.
- The size of coaching "staffs" is getting out of hand. Michigan's case should alert others to the potential problems of having so many quality control staffers.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez on Thursday named Adam Braithwaite as the team's new outside linebackers/safeties coach. Braithwaite, a defensive quality control assistant for the last two years at U-M, fills the vacancy left by Jay Hopson, who left in December to become Memphis' new defensive coordinator.
Hopson had coached Michigan's linebackers, a group that now will be overseen by defensive coordinator Greg Robinson. Braithwaite will assist Robinson with the outside linebackers and handle the strong safeties. Assistant head coach Tony Gibson will coach cornerbacks and free safeties, and serve as special teams coordinator. Gibson previously had coached the entire secondary.
"We are excited to promote Adam to be our safeties/outside linebackers coach," said Rodriguez. "He has been a loyal hard-working member of our staff for several years and knows our system. I believe he will bring a lot of energy both in coaching and recruiting."
The division of responsibilities among the defensive assistants is interesting, but Braithwaite, Robinson and Gibson will have to work well together to improve a group that really struggled in 2009. Braithwaite played at William & Mary and worked as a graduate assistant for Rodriguez at West Virginia before becoming defensive coordinator at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
Rodriguez interviewed former Marshall head coach Mark Snyder and a few other bigger names for this vacancy. Braithwaite should transition well given his familiarity with the Wolverines personnel.