The semi-youth movement on the Oklahoma coaching staff continued Saturday as word filtered out that Jerry Montgomery, a 33-year-old assistant at Michigan, has accepted an offer to fill the Sooners’ vacancy at defensive line coach.
Montgomery’s relatively short career makes it hard to get a great read on what he brings to the table. His quick ascension up the coaching ranks is a good sign, as is the fact that he was handpicked by to join the Wolverines by Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison, two well-respected tacticians with deep backgrounds coaching defensive linemen.
I should have more soon on Montgomery from the Michigan perspective. In the meantime, a few initial observations:
*If a lack of fire on the recruiting trail actually did in Jackie Shipp, Montgomery looks like a step in the completely opposite direction. According to Josh McCuistion of SoonerScoop.com, Montgomery was already calling recruits today.
In his two years at Michigan, Montgomery played a key role in bringing two five-star prospects to Ann Arbor in running back Derrick Green and defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins. His 2013 haul included two four-star defensive lineman to go along with a four-star tight end and four-star linebacker.
Also, much like Oklahoma, Michigan tends to take a more national approach to recruiting. That shows up in Montgomery’s portfolio. He landed players from both inside Michigan’s Midwestern breadbasket and outside of it – Kansas City, Utah, Baltimore. That bodes well when it comes to his willingness to go on the road and lock up top-flight talent.
*How much coaching did Montgomery really do at Michigan? Given that both Hoke and Mattison have defensive line backgrounds, it seems like a fair question.
*Word has circulated since the end of the season that OU intends to switch to a 3-4 base defense. If so, Montgomery strikes me as an odd choice to coach the d-line.
As is customary for just about every team in the country, the Wolverines mixed in the occasional three-man front during the last two years. However, Michigan has primarily operated out of a 4-3 Under scheme. Granted, there aren’t a ton of college programs out there running a 3-4. Even so, shelling out to hire a position coach with no experience in the scheme would constitute a big roll of the dice.
*Bob Stoops has certainly made a splash with these hires. Few would argue that the additions of Montgomery and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh will bring some much needed new blood to the OU staff.
It all sounds great right now, but keep in mind that Texas’ coaching staff underwent a similar facelift in 2011. The Longhorns still have yet to really get back on track. Ultimately, I suspect that has a lot more to do with how Mack Brown captains his ship than the guys pulling the oars.
Stoops’ underlings took a deserved share of the blame for OU’s foundering as of late. However, if the overhauled staff doesn’t light a fire under the Sooners with a quickness, it should give everyone a pretty clear indication of where the true issues with the program lie.