By: Will Burchfield
Jim Harbaugh appears to have found his replacement for Dan Enos.
Former Florida head coach Jim McElwain is expected to join Michigan’s staff as its tenth assistant, according to Michigan Insider.
McElwain’s role with Michigan isn’t yet known, but he figures to have a big role in the offense. He’ll likely work in tandem with offensive coordinator Tim Drevno and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton. Michigan’s former run game coordinator/tackles and tight ends coach Jim Frey left for Florida State in January.
Michigan’s play-calling — which runs through the trio of Hamilton, Drevno and Harbaugh, with Harbaugh having the final say — came under frequent scrutiny last season. The Wolverines had recurring issues in the red zone and numerous head-scratching moments on offense.
Harbaugh himself acknowledged the play-calling was open to criticism after Michigan’s loss to Michigan State.
The Wolverines finished 105th in the country in yards per game (349) and 91st in points per game (25.2).
McElwain, who was the offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008-2011, went 22-12 over three years as head coach at Florida. He was SEC coach of the year in 2015, but the Gators tumbled to a 4-7 record in 2017 and McElwain was relieved of his duties midway through the season.
Harbaugh and McElwain have an interesting history. They exchanged jabs ahead of last season’s opener between Michigan and Florida, with McElwain calling out Harbaugh for his unusual recruiting habits over his first couple seasons in Ann Arbor.
“He obviously felt he needed to do some things to be relevant and that’s his choice. I probably wouldn’t have done it,” McElwain said.
Michigan went on to beat Florida 33-17. Harbaugh also got the better of McElwain in the 2015 Citrus Bowl.
Enos, who had been hired as an offensive assistant in December, ditched Michigan in January to become an associate head coach at Alabama.
McElwain, like Enos, has ties to Michigan State; he was the Spartans’ assistant head coach, receivers coach, and special teams coach from 2003-2005.