Rays of Light: A Staff of Coordinators

In the first part of this week's chat with former Michigan All-American and current Big Ten Network studio analyst Marcus Ray, he shares his extremely favorable impressions of new defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, the chemistry he has with Greg Mattison, and much much more.

Sam Webb:   A couple of guys have been confirmed.  I don’t know if you have a working knowledge, but if you do kind of give me your impressions of what you’ve heard.  The coordinators have been confirmed, Tim Drevno, as offense coordinator and D.J. Durkin, as defensive coordinator.  Do you know much about either of those guys and have you heard much about either of those guys?

Marcus Ray:  “The first time I met either gentleman was last night.  I spent a lot of time at Schembechler Hall yesterday with some of the guys that I saw and Drevno was definitely there and DJ.  I’ve spoken a lot to DJ.  We kind of reminisced and kicked it about his time at Bowling Green as a player and some of guys that he knew from Columbus.  I told him that I was from Columbus.  Coach Mattison was still in there floating around and he made the connection.  DJ and I really spoke.  We started talking a little bit of football.  He seemed like a pretty good guy.  I told him that he did a great job down in Florida for the bowl game.  He looked like a natural at the head coaching position, interim.  It was a very good vibe.  I saw Drev, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, but from what I’m hearing you’re getting two of the best coordinators in the country.  I believe the rest of the staff will be coordinator-ish kind of guys.  Either guys who come from the NFL, these are coaches that are just as good as a coordinators sometimes and then you’ve got guys who were coordinators or spent time at some big time programs.  So there is going to be a lot of expertise.  I think Michigan’s offensive woes will definitely be solved up front.  You know Harbaugh, he likes to call some plays and mix it up.  Defensively, it is all about getting those guys to play well and build on what they did a season ago finishing up 10th in the country.”

Sam Webb:  It was confirmed yesterday that Greg Mattison is going to stay on the staff.  Is the vibe between Matty and DJ Durkin as good as we think it is from afar based on what we read?  Did you notice that in person?

Marcus Ray:  “Greg was glowing when DJ was standing there.  So I think the vibe is real.  When I was there, Greg is always the first person that I see when I go to Schembechler Hall.  That’s my guy, he recruited me, love him and we talk on the phone.  We go back and forth on a lot of stuff, we talk football.  He wanted to make sure that DJ knew who I was and why were standing there, it almost felt like DJ was a son to Greg.  Like how Greg was excited to be working with DJ again.  DJ was a GA (graduate assistant) for him at Notre Dame.  Everybody was getting to know each other, but all the connections were being made and introductions were being made and the energy was right and you could just see it in DJ’s face.  Man wow, I’m at Michigan.  I’m here at Michigan and then you have a guy like Greg there to help mentor DJ and all the other coaches that may be younger than him that are coming in.  Greg knows the program.  So if it is true that Greg is staying then that’s good for Michigan.  It’s good for the kids.  Greg is the type of guy, first of all he is selfless.  People didn’t think he would want to stay if he wasn’t the coordinator.  He is the exact opposite.  I’ve been knowing this man over 20 years and at this stage in his career, he still can have a major impact in that meeting room and with those kids defensively as a defensive line coach and he doesn’t have to do it.  He wants to help DJ win, learn the kids.  When you get a room full of coordinators who are selfless, who don’t have egos, then you should expect positive results.

For more on Ray, including insight into the defensive schemes Michigan will emplay, press play below.


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