Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh says staff overhaul not due to a disconnect

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Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh on Thursday said he did not sense a disconnect among his staff or with players last season, but he cited his desire to make “improvements to everything” for hiring seven new assistants, including defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

“I didn’t find any kind of disconnect, but wanted to be strong in all areas, making improvements to everything,” Harbaugh said Thursday following Michigan’s first two spring workouts. “I would describe it as that. I didn’t feel there was a disconnect, no.”

Harbaugh completed the staff overhaul Monday by hiring quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss, who worked for him at Stanford before spending the past 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens under Harbaugh’s brother, John.

Jim Harbaugh said he will work alongside Weiss and directly coach Michigan’s quarterbacks in 2021.

Macdonald also came from the Ravens, where he coached linebackers and defensive backs over the past four seasons.

The Wolverines went 2-4 last season — their first losing record under Harbaugh, who hadn’t had a losing season as a head coach (NFL or college) since 2008 at Stanford (5-7).

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Michigan replaced defensive coordinator Don Brown with the 33-year-old Macdonald and brought in several other young coaches: co-defensive coordinator Maurice Linguist (36), linebackers coach George Helow (34), safeties coach Ron Bellamy (39), Weiss (37) and running backs coach Mike Hart (34), the program’s career rushing leader.

“Just looking for great coaches, really,” Harbaugh said. “That was the thing I was looking for the most. … I feel that they’re already accomplished coaches for their age and definitely coaches that are going to do great things in this profession.”

Harbaugh sought a lot of input in reshaping his staff but said he values his brother’s opinion more than that of any other coach. Macdonald had worked on the Ravens’ staff since 2014.

Although Harbaugh declined to specify what will change on defense in going from Brown to Macdonald, he has been pleased with the communication and energy from the new assistants.

“I’ve got the right guys on board, working hard, coaching hard,” Harbaugh said. “I feel really good about where the staff is.”

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