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Published: Tuesday, 2/14/2006

UM's Carr gets better coordinated

ANN ARBOR - The fallout from Michigan's worst football season in 21 years is expanding faster than the Big House.

Much-maligned offensive coordinator Terry Malone and defensive coordinator Jim

Herrmann have both left coach Lloyd Carr's staff in the last eight days.

Malone, a former Bowling Green assistant, started his new job as tight ends coach with the New Orleans Saints last Monday. And Herrmann went to work as linebackers coach for the New York Jets yesterday.

Insiders say Malone would have been demoted if he had stayed with the Wolverines. And although Herrmann would have kept his title, according to Carr, he was expected to have less responsibility.

Rumors had been swirling about the makeup of Carr's staff ever since Michigan's gut-wrenching loss to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl. You can be sure that Malone and Herrmann felt the heat, and got out before Carr was forced to show them the door.

Carr is desperately trying to hang onto his job, which could be in jeopardy next season if the Wolverines don't do an about-face, or if he can't figure out a way to beat rivals Ohio State or Notre Dame.

The Wolverines were a very unsatisfying 7-5 last year, and unranked in the final polls for the first time since 1984.

They are just 7-7 in their last 14 games, and have suffered three consecutive bowl losses.

Worse yet, since 2001, Carr is a combined 2-7 against Ohio State (1-4) and Notre Dame (1-3).

Status quo wasn't just cutting it anymore.

Something major had to happen in order for Carr to show his superiors and detractors that he was making major offseason moves to fix the Wolverines' problem areas.

Malone spent nine seasons at Michigan, including the last four as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. Herrmann, a former Michigan player, was the longest-tenured assistant on the staff, recently completing his 20th season.

Malone's best offense at Michigan featured quarterback John Navarre, tailback Chris Perry and receiver Braylon Edwards. The 2003 unit ranked 12th nationally in points per game (35.4), and 15th in total offense (446.7 yards) en route to winning the Big Ten championship.

With tailback Mike Hart injured most of last season, Michigan's offensive output slipped to just 28.8 points per game. The Wolverines finished ninth in the league in scoring, rushing offense (161.6) and total offense (384.2).

Herrmann started as a graduate assistant under Bo Schembechler in 1986, and had been the defensive coordinator since 1997. That was the year Michigan won the Associated Press national championship under Carr, had the country's best defense, and Herrmann captured the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant.

The last two years, with Michigan going a combined 16-8, Herrmann was the only coach on the staff who might have been dissed more than Carr.

The Wolverines' defense allowed a school-record 279 points in 2004. This past season, Michigan ranked 36th in the nation in total defense (345.2) and 41st in run defense (137.3).

In all, eight running backs gained 100 or more yards against the Wolverines last season and they lost four games when the opposing team scored on its last drive.

Carr has moved quickly to replace Malone and Herrmann, although there has been no official announcement or news conference.

Mike DeBord, the special teams coach and recruiting coordinator, has been promoted to offensive coordinator. DeBord held the same position with the Wolverines from 1997-99, but left to be the head coach at Central Michigan for four seasons, before returning in 2004. And secondary coach Ron English, who accepted a job with the Chicago Bears last week before reversing his decision, has been elevated to defensive coordinator.

English will bring new schemes and fresh ideas to the Wolverines' defense, and is a definite upgrade over

Herrmann.

DeBord's offenses set all kinds of records during his previous stint, meaning Malone probably won't be missed. Not only was DeBord the guy calling the plays in the Wolverines' national championship season, he produced 11 first-team all-conference selections and five second-team performers in three years.

Carr still has a hire or two to make to fill out his staff before spring drills begin next month, but for now, the coaching carousel has stopped.



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