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Five offensive coordinator candidates for Michigan football

Michigan will look a lot different next season. Jim Harbaugh is off to the NFL and has taken Jesse Minter, Ben Herbert and likely Jay Harbaugh with him. A number of roles need filling.

Sherrone Moore has been announced as the new head coach, which means the Wolverines will also be searching for a new offensive coordinator. Michigan has at least one good in-house candidate, but it could really shake the program up if it decides to conduct a wider search.

Here we take a look at five offensive coordinator possibilities, each from a different home base.

Kirk Campbell, Michigan

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

This is the safest bet.

Campbell joined the staff in 2022 after being the offensive coordinator at Old Dominion. He has been the quarterbacks coach for one season, in which Michigan produced a first-round QB), and he has a good understanding of the culture and systems used at Michigan.

Campbell was also huge in the recruitment of incoming freshman quarterback Jadyn Davis, who might be the starter for the next three seasons. Campbell is my favorite guy for the job. He keeps the job in-house and is young enough to be in it for the long run. If you don’t promote him now, you probably lose him in a year or two.

Andy Ludwig, Utah

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ludwig is probably the dream hire for Sherrone Moore.

He has been the offensive coordinator at Utah for the past five years and has been a position coach for every unit on offense except the offensive line during his career.

Ludwig brings a wealth of knowledge to the room. He’s a veteran who has been in big moments and prevailed. He has led effective Big Ten-style offenses the past few seasons without the luxury of using five stars across the board. Something Michigan might have in its future.

It could be tough to lure him away from the Utes given it’s not technically a promotion, but the Michigan job might be more attractive than sticking it out at Utah. Kick the tires and see if he’s interested.

Vince Marrow, Kentucky

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Marrow has been on Kentucky’s staff for a while without a promotion. Currently listed as the assistant head coach/tight ends coach, Marrow could be open to exploring other options.

Marrow could end up as a great recruiting hire as well. He is originally from Ohio, which gives him important regional ties. In the 2024 class, Marrow was responsible for landing two of the top 10 players in the state and flipping both Jerod and Jacob Smith from Michigan.

The Wildcats and Wolverines ran a similar number of plays per game last year, but Kentucky only ran the ball 26 times per game compared to Michigan’s 37. It would be a slight schematic switch for Marrow, but he’s been around the game long enough to accommodate that.

Emmett Jones, Oklahoma

OU wide receivers coach Emmett Jones speaks during a media day for the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) football team in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.
OU wide receivers coach Emmett Jones speaks during a media day for the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) football team in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.

Jones is the change of pace hire. Michigan is traditionally a run-first school, so hiring a pass game specialist could help balance the offense.

There might not be a better candidate to do that than Jones, who is the passing game coordinator and wide receiver coach for Oklahoma. In 2023, the Sooners’ starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel (now at Oregon) passed for 30 touchdowns and over 3,600 yards. Both would be program records at Michigan. The impressive part about the accomplishment is that there was no superstar receiver on the roster. Drake Stoops, Nic Anderson, Jalil Farroq, and former Wolverine Andrel Anthony were their top four targets. None are considered top NFL prospects.

Sherrone Moore loves to run the rock. Maybe too much. There were times last year when fans were screaming for anything but a run up the A gap … and it came anyway. Jones would be a nice glass of cold water in that regard. Michigan doesn’t have Blake Corum anymore. There needs to be more to this offense than interior runs and rollout crossing routes. Expanding the passing playbook will keep defenses honest and capitalize on all 11 positions on the field.

Glen Elarbee, Tennessee

Tennessee offensive line coach Glen Elarbee before the start of an NCAA college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
Tennessee offensive line coach Glen Elarbee before the start of an NCAA college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

Currently serving as the offensive line coach at Tennessee, Elarbee has put out a number of starting offensive limen in recent years. Most notably, Tennessee had right tackle Darnell Write selected 10th overall in the last draft.

Tennessee’s offense ranked ninth in rush yards per game, so Elarbee is familiar with the smash-mouth identity Michigan has thrived using in recent years. He would probably jell well with the current staff, could help recruit offensive linemen from the south, and has experience as an offensive coordinator for West Georgia from 2010-2011,

There are definitely more attractive hires, but Elarbee could end up being a diamond in the rough. Making a move on prestigious coaches from the South is always a good idea. It would be interesting to see the staff head in this direction as opposed to promoting from within.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire