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Michigan officially hires defensive coordinator Don Martindale, DL coach Greg Scruggs

clayton-sayfieby:Clayton Sayfie03/04/24

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New head coach Sherrone Moore and Michigan Wolverines football has officially hired defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale and defensive line coach Greg Scruggs, according to the university’s staff directory.

Martindale and Scruggs had been set to join the staff for weeks but were going through the hiring and onboarding process. Both can now recruit, which is a plus for the Maize and Blue with the NCAA dead period having ended this week.

Martindale is primed to keep Michigan’s defensive system in place, replacing Jesse Minter, who left with head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers. Martindale was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens from 2018-21, while Minter and former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald were position coaches for a portion of that time.

Martindale has spent seven seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator, including the aforementioned four with Baltimore and the 2010 campaign with the Denver Broncos. He was the D.C. for the New York Giants the last two seasons, before mutually parting ways with the organization in January.

Martindale, 60, was the linebackers coach with the Ravens from 2012-17, after stints with the Oakland Raiders (2004-08) and Broncos (2009-10). The new Michigan coordinator was last in college football in 2003 at Western Kentucky, where he worked for four years, including three under then-head coach Jack Harbaugh.

Scruggs, 33, spent a year mentoring the defensive line at Wisconsin, working under head coach Luke Fickell. He’s been a Fickell staffer most of his career, beginning as director of player development at Cincinnati from 2018-19 before coaching the defensive line from 2020-21. He moved on to become the New York Jets’ assistant defensive line coach in 2022, before coming to Madison prior to last season.

Scruggs played college football at Louisville, while Moore was a graduate assistant. He went on to play five seasons in the NFL, winning a pair of Super Bowls.

Moore has also reportedly hired linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary from Tennessee and defensive backs coach LaMar Morgan from Louisiana.

By putting Martindale in charge of the defense, the national champion Michigan Wolverines will be able to have continuity on that side of the ball.

“Michigan needed to make a defensive coordinator hire after Jesse Minter followed [head coach] Jim Harbaugh to the Chargers,” FOX analyst Joel Klatt said on his podcast. “Jesse was great, obviously, and former Michigan defensive defensive coordinator and then Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald got the Seattle Seahawks job. And these guys are stars.

“We all know how successful that style and philosophy was for Michigan over the last three years. Run wall, hard edges, hybrid players in coverage — that’s a philosophy. Reduced down to its most minimal form, that’s the philosophy.

“So, who do they go hire? Sherrone Moore gets the head job, promoted from within, loses all of the defensive staff and yet gets to hire ‘Wink’ Martindale, who comes from Baltimore and [head coach] John Harbaugh. Both Mike Macdonald and Jesse Minter coached, cut their teeth, were mentored by ‘Wink’ Martindale. So, philosophy wise, I don’t think a lot is going to change.

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