Michigan is preparing for its biggest game in years, if not ever. The Wolverines are riding momentum unfelt for decades. Jim Harbaugh’s program is attaining goals, fresh off winning the Big Ten and coming in at No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

On New Year’s Eve, all the hard work and dedication will manifest itself — or at least, it should — during the 2021 Orange Bowl vs. No. 3 Georgia at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

Michigan’s coaching staff deserves a lot of credit. Without the coaches, the current state of UM football might be different.

Well, all of this has been said during prior years — with exception to the CFP thing.


Who’s going? Who’s staying?

Harbaugh’s staff has had a phone book’s worth of assistants during the past 7 seasons. Three defensive coordinators. Who knows how many analysts and assistants? Offensive guys rotate. Defensive guys rotate.

Michigan needs to keep what it has and continue to grow if it wants to repeat this past season — one of the best it’s ever had.

Imagine if Harbaugh were able to retain the same staff for multiple years. That’d be a great way to establish consistency, continuity — all that stuff that relates to being a stable program. Yeah, he’s won 10 or more games 4 times in 7 years, including an 11-1 regular-season finish this season.

Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, famous for his “Speed in Space” approach, finally got his dues in Ann Arbor this season. After being widely criticized during his first 2 seasons for having a gimmicky offense, Gattis opened his playbook  and helped elevate the Wolverines to championship status. It took some time, but he worked wonders. His offense produced the two highest-graded running backs in the Big Ten this season — Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum — and created an avenue for QB Cade McNamara to flourish.

Plus there was all the decoy stuff with backup QB JJ McCarthy. The reverses. The McNamara to RB Donovan Edwards to Roman Wilson touchdown — a trick play from the Big Ten Championship Game vs. Iowa that will undoubtedly go down as one of the finest plays in Michigan history.

Well, Michigan has seen this before: get an awesome offensive mind, do great things … then watch him leave. Remember Jedd Fisch? The former passing game coordinator had a great relationship with the offense, namely QB Wilton Speight, and appeared to have Michigan trending toward championships.

Yeah, Michigan just got the most out of Gattis, but now the Broyles Award winner (top assistant) could be headed to Virginia, per reports.

Courtney Morgan just served Michigan notice, letting the team know that he’s assuming the same duties as director of player personnel at Washington, which lost 31-10 earlier this season to Michigan.

Morgan was lauded for his recruiting efforts, helping to forge Michigan’s No. 12 (as of Dec. 9) haul for the 2022 cycle.

His departure won’t break the Wolverines, but it could certainly influence a few recruits to possibly look elsewhere.

A Michigan legend who came up the coaching ranks via Western Michigan and Indiana, Mike Hart has become one of the brightest stars of the Wolverines’ revamped staff. At age 35, Hart has youth on his side. Players love him. Michigan had, arguably, the best backfield in the nation this past season, led by Haskins and Corum.

Donovan Edwards broke out as a true freshman.

Things were looking great. Michigan looked like it wanted to reclaim its title of one of the best rushing teams in the country.

And then this bombshell came out a couple of weeks ago: Bruce Feldman suggested that Hart could be a fit for Temple, which is on the hunt for a new front man.

Change can be good.

Development and promotion is always positive … as long it’s feeding your own team.

For one reason or another, Michigan hasn’t been able to nail down a core staff under Harbaugh; it changes on an annual basis.

The goal wasn’t to compete every few years. The goal was to build and sustain.

Why change anything?

Harbaugh’s Michigan is higher than it’s ever been. The Wolverines just qualified for the CFP, for the first time ever, just won the Big Ten outright for the first time since 2003 and has a legitimate Heisman contender in DE Aidan Hutchinson.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Michigan better learn that lesson before the 2021 season becomes a story of “what would have happened if that staff stayed intact for a few years?”

Due to the nature of the business, successful assistants will always be courted. It’s a compliment, right? Hey, your OC is pretty good, we’d like him to coach our entire team.

Flattery at its finest.

But flattery doesn’t win championships. Harbaugh knows that, so he better find ways to hold on to this group of coaches.