Big Ten: John Harbaugh

As colleague Brett McMurphy tweeted earlier today, the SEC leads all conferences with 23 players on the two Super Bowl rosters (based on 2012 conference membership). But the Big Ten isn't too far behind.

The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens boast a combined 19 Big Ten players on their rosters for Super Bowl XLVII. That's tied with the ACC for the second highest total among conferences this season.

Here's the Big Ten contingent for the Big Ten in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Active roster:

A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
Garrett Celek, TE, Michigan State
Trenton Robinson, S, Michigan State
Jonathan Goodwin, C, Michigan
Alex Boone, OL, Ohio State
Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Larry Grant, LB, Ohio State
Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State
NaVorro Bowman, LB, Penn State
Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin

Reserve/Injured list:

Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan

Practice squad:

Al Netter, OG, Northwestern
Nate Stupar, LB, Penn State

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Active roster:

Sean Considine, S, Iowa
Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
Sam Koch, P, Nebraska
Bernard Pollard, S, Purdue
Marshal Yanda, OL, Iowa

Practice squad:

Jack Cornell, OL, Illinois

Here are some coaching staff connections for each team ...

49ERS
  • Head coach Jim Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan
  • Quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst served as a Wisconsin assistant in 1988
  • Assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson was a Wisconsin assistant in 2010
  • Linebackers coach Jim Leavitt joined Hayden Fry's staff at Iowa in 1989
  • Running backs coach Tom Rathman played running back at Nebraska
RAVENS
  • Head coach John Harbaugh coached Indiana's defensive backs and special teamers in 1997
  • Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg coached Minnesota's secondary in 1996
  • Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell played at Iowa; served as a Penn State assistant from 1986-92 and a Northwestern assistant in 1981
  • Defensive coordinator Dean Pees held the same post at Michigan State from 1995-97
  • Secondary coach Teryl Austin held the same post at Michigan from 1999-2002 and served as a graduate assistant at Penn State
  • Offensive line coach Andy Moeller played linebacker at Michigan and coached the Wolverines offensive line from 2000-07
My apologies for not posting last night -- was out and about -- but Michigan coach Brady Hoke announced the hiring of seven assistant coaches, including both coordinators.

We already knew Hoke was bringing offensive coordinator Al Borges with him from San Diego State. The big move came Tuesday night as Hoke named Greg Mattison as his defensive coordinator. Mattison most recently served as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator and returns to Michigan, where he served as a Wolverines assistant with Hoke in the 1990s. Mattison coached Michigan's defensive line from 1992-96 and served as the team's defensive coordinator in the final two seasons.

Like Hoke, Mattison still has a strong bond with the Michigan program.
[+] EnlargeBaltimore's Greg Mattison
AP Photo/Rob CarrGreg Mattison has been the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator the past two seasons. He'll take the same job at Michigan.
"He has loved Michigan since working there earlier in his career," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. "We will miss him because he's a great coach, but also an even better person. The students there are the lucky ones. Not only will he teach them football to the highest level, he will influence them to be the best persons they can be. Greg is one of the good people you are fortunate to meet in your life. We are disappointed that he will not be coaching our defense, but we know that he is following a true love by returning to the Wolverines."

The thing that jumps out about Mattison is his experience:

  • 14 years as a defensive coordinator (12 in college, the past two with the Ravens)
  • served as co-defensive coordinator and D-line coach at Florida from 2005-07, helping the Gators win a national title in 2006
  • has held positions at three different Big Ten schools -- Michigan, Northwestern and Illinois -- in addition to spending eight seasons on Notre Dame's staff

Mattison has seen just about everything in his career and faced all sorts of challenges. He encounters a difficult one at Michigan, which comes off of the worst defensive stretch in team history.

The Wolverines ranked 110th nationally in total defense this year and finished 108th, 77th and 84th nationally in points allowed in the past three seasons. Youth and lack of depth certainly played roles, but Michigan also had players who simply didn't improve, and that falls on the coaching staff.

It will take more than a good scheme to get Michigan on track. Mattison and his defensive staff must get back to the basics (tackling, alignment, angles to the ball). They inherit some good pieces like nose tackle Mike Martin, defensive end Craig Roh and cornerback Troy Woolfolk, but their real work takes place with the younger players to build depth.

I like the Mattison hire. Michigan needed a coach with loads of experience and a promising track record. He'll command respect from the players, and he understands the difficult task at hand.

In addition to Mattison and Borges, Hoke announced the following staff additions:

  • Dan Ferrigno (tight ends and special teams coordinator)
  • Darrell Funk (offensive line)
  • Jeff Hecklinski (receivers)
  • Mark Smith (linebackers)
  • Fred Jackson is the lone assistant retained from Rich Rodriguez's staff and will continue to coach running backs
  • Aaron Wellman takes over as head strength and conditioning coach

Aside from Mattison and Jackson, all the staff members are holdovers from Hoke's staff at San Diego State.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Most college football fans have some knowledge of Missouri, Cal, Utah, Syracuse, Northern Illinois and maybe even Akron (hey, Jason Taylor played there). But seriously, does anyone know what a Chanticleer is? Put your hands down, liars.

It's time to take a closer look at some of Big Ten's lesser-known opponents for Week 1. Learning about these far-flung teams is one of the fun parts about the nonconference schedule. It's a bit like the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, except these games are never played on neutral sites. But as Michigan found out last year against Appalachian State, not all these teams are showing up just for a hefty check.

Here's the skinny on the squads visiting State College, Iowa City, Bloomington and Columbus on Saturday.

COASTAL CAROLINA CHANTICLEERS (at Penn State)

  • Location: Conway, S.C. (15 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach)
  • Enrollment: 7,872 as of fall 2007
  • Football coach: David Bennett (39-17, sixth year at CC; 102-34, 13th year overall)
  • Conference: Big South (Football Championship Subdivision)
  • 2007 record : 5-6
  • Fun fact: According to the Coastal Carolina football media guide, the nickname Chanticleer comes from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (I wonder if it's required reading for football players). "A Chanticleer is a rooster who rules the barnyard with cunning and wit. His competitiveness never wanes as he battles to the end, using his brains to come out on top every time." Somehow I don't think their brains will help them against Penn State. Coastal Carolina athletic director Moose Koegel was a co-captain for Penn State's football team under Paterno in 1970.

MAINE BLACK BEARS (at Iowa)

  • Location: Orono, Maine (125 miles northeast of Portland)
  • Enrollment: 8,777 as of fall 2007
  • Football coach: Jack Cosgrove (80-90, 16th season at Maine)
  • Conference: Colonial (Football Championship Subdivision)
  • 2007 record : 4-7
  • Fun fact(s): Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz served in the same role at Maine from 1990-92, finishing with a record of 12-21 (Cosgrove was his offensive coordinator). The Black Bears beat Mississippi State in 2004 and face a Division I-A opponent for the fifth straight year. Author Stephen King is among Maine's famous alumni. The Black Bears had seven players on NFL rosters last season, the most among FCS schools.

WESTERN KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS (at Indiana)

  • Location: Bowling Green, Ky. (110 miles south of Louisville)
  • Enrollment: 19,215
  • Football coach: David Elson (37-22, sixth year at WKU and overall)
  • Conference: Independent
  • 2007 record : 7-5
  • Fun fact(s): The Hilltoppers are in their final year as a Division I-A independent before joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2009. They won the 2002 FCS national championship under coach Jack Harbaugh, the father of Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and have 12 straight winning seasons. Famous alums include Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel and former Minnesota basketball coach Clem Haskins. The 2008 schedule includes 10 Division I-A opponents this fall. And Elson can wield a sledgehammer. Both Elson and Indiana coach Bill Lynch attended Butler.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE PENGUINS (at Ohio State)

  • Location: Youngstown, Ohio (70 miles southeast of Cleveland)
  • Enrollment: 13,497 as of fall 2007
  • Football coach: Jon Heacock (50-31, eighth year at YSU at overall)
  • Conference: Missouri Valley (Football Championship Subdivision)
  • 2007 record : 7-4
  • Fun fact(s): Youngstown is a tradition-rich program with four FCS national championships, 25 FCS playoff victories and six appearances in the title game. Heacock succeeded Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and is the younger brother of Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. The Penguins have sent 21 players to the NFL, including quarterback Ron Jaworski and kickers Paul McFadden and Jeff Wilkins. Other notable alumni include Kansas coach Mark Mangino, actor Ed O'Neill and ABCD All-America basketball camp founder Sonny Vaccaro.

SPONSORED HEADLINES