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Michigan football suffers another blow as Steve Clinkscale leaves for NFL

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Wednesday was another wild day on the coaching search front for Michigan football. Yet, all is well that ends well and there was some tremendous news late last night as it was reported by Sam Webb of the Michigan Insider that Steve Clinkscale will return.

There were questions about the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach returning. It seemed obvious that he was interested in being the play-caller. However, according to Webb’s report, Clink has informed Michigan football players that he will be returning next

In terms of player retention, it’s massive for Michigan football. Clink has also been on the staff the past three years and the pass defense has been elite since his arrival. He was the defensive passing game coordinator in 2021, before getting promoted to co-defensive coordinator.

At the very least, it stems the tide of negative news, which continued this week with Mike Elston leaving for the Chargers. Beyond the retention of Clink, there appears to be some real movement on the defensive coordinator front.

Joe Cullen was thought to be the leading candidate and it seemed like things were trending in the right direction for Michigan football. However, Webb reported that Cullen is going to stay with the Chiefs, meaning Sherrone Moore has shifted his focus to Wink Martindale.

Martindale is the former Ravens defensive coordinator who spent the past two seasons as the DC for the Giants. Martindale is known as the creator of the defense Michigan football has been running. Both Jesse Minter and Mike Macdonald coached under him.

Martindale hasn’t coached in college football in decades, since 2003 to be exact when the was the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for Jack Harbaugh at Western Michigan. So there are ties to the Harbaugh family.

The coaching turnover on the defensive side of the ball is an issue Michigan football will have to deal with, and could have a big impact on recruiting. The Wolverines have done a good job holding on to recruits so far and so Davis’ decision shouldn’t be viewed as some sort of doomsday judgment about the program, but rather a reality of what the Wolverines face as a team in transition trying to move forward.

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It hurts to lose a four-star signee, but it’s part of doing business. Players are often close to the coaches that recruited them and now that all of those staffers are gone, you can understand why Smith and other recruits might reconsider. It’s just part of the business.



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