BRADENTON, Fla. -- It's been a busy offseason for Michigan. Despite dominating headlines for other reasons, the Wolverines had to fill two key coaching staff openings after the season ended. While the defensive coordinator position has been filled for some time now, the defensive back coaching position is the most recent position to be filled this offseason.
Two different hires, same line of coaching.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was finally able to see what his two newest members to the core group of position coaches could finally do as the Wolverines opened spring practice at IMG Academy in Florida on Monday.
Brian Smith, formally an assistant linebackers coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, has been recently hired by Harbaugh to take over the position vacated by Greg Jackson. Smith is very familiar with new defensive coordinator Don Brown as he played, as well as coached, for Brown some years ago.
Someone who Harbaugh feels like is the best man for the job.
"Brian Smith. He is here. He is a good man, someone that Don Brown coached when Don was at UMASS," Harbaigh said. "Knew him very well and we interviewed three candidates and talked to others on the phone. We are really pleased with all the guys that we interviewed, but just thought Brian was the best fit and think he is a very good teacher, heck of a good guy and experience of the highest level coaching at the Eagles and Jets."
With Jackson coaching mainly the safeties last season, Harbaugh said that Smith will take an equal approach to the defensive backs and will coach both the corners and safeties alongside Mike Zordich in 2016.
Brown is also relatively new to campus and this week is the first opportunity to start implementing his new schemes at U-M and coaching his new players. Harbaugh certainly didn't waste any time praising the new defensive coordinator.
"Love him, love him, love him," Harbaugh said. "Had a meeting last night and had a nice partition in-between the offense and the defense. The paint peeled off the walls. He is a intense man and a ball of fire. We are going to have to get the meeting room repainted because he was peeling the paint off. Very excited watching him coach and learning a lot of football after just one day. I did personally and I know our players did even more so, I am more than excited, beyond excited, thrilled."