Michigan takeaways from Sherrone Moore, coach contracts: Wink Martindale tops $2 million


ANN ARBOR, Mich. —  As Michigan’s offensive coordinator, Sherrone Moore could find a meeting room inside Schembechler Hall, dim the lights and unwind by watching film the way other people binge Netflix.

“Door closed, music on, candle lit — that was it,” Moore said. “It was ball, all the time.”

It’s different now that Moore is Michigan’s head coach. Since he was promoted in January, there’s hardly been a day when Moore didn’t have to deal with some issue, big or small, that went beyond the field. The latest example happened Thursday with the resignation of defensive line coach Greg Scruggs, who was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Losing an assistant coach during the first week of spring practice isn’t ideal, especially after Moore just completed his staff by hiring Ohio State’s Tony Alford to replace Mike Hart as running backs coach. Moore said Michigan would move “swiftly but carefully” to replace Scruggs while leaning on the rest of the defensive staff to pick up the slack during spring practice.

“We have a collective unit coaching the D-line,” Moore said. “We’re super happy with these past couple days while that was going on. The whole defensive staff, we’ll be all hands on deck, as we all are, coaching every position.”

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Michigan released contracts for its coaching staff Thursday, including a market-setting deal for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Here are five takeaways on Moore’s staff and more after his first comments of the spring.

Martindale tops $2 million

Moore will earn $5.5 million in his first season, significantly less than the $8 million-plus Michigan was paying Jim Harbaugh. A big chunk of that savings went to hiring Martindale, who will be at or near the top of the list of college football’s highest-paid assistant coaches at $2.3 million.

Clemson’s Garrett Riley was college football’s highest paid coordinator last season at $2.05 million, according to USA Today’s salary database. The Athletic reported in December that new USC defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn will earn $2 million with a $500,000 annual housing stipend, joining Ohio State’s Jim Knowles and Georgia’s Glenn Schumann on the list of highest-paid defensive coordinators.

Martindale’s three-year deal is fully guaranteed with base salaries of $2.5 million in 2025 and $2.7 million in 2026. Getting him to leave the NFL after 19 years wasn’t cheap, but Moore said Martindale’s presence is already paying off.

“Wink’s awesome, man,” Moore said. “I love Wink. He’s such a great, vibrant person, a great human being, obviously an extremely intelligent coach. The boys love him. He brings such a great vibe to the team, and experience, obviously.”

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Alford gets a raise

Alford will earn a base salary of $850,000 in each year of his three-year deal after earning $772,000 last year at Ohio State. He’s making significantly more than Hart, who earned $550,000 in base pay last year.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” Moore said. “Obviously he was on the other side. I don’t fault him too much for that. When you get to know him as a person, he’s an incredible human being, an incredible mentor, an incredible coach.”

Alford signed his deal March 13, five days after it was reported that Hart would not return. Moore declined to elaborate on the reasons for Hart’s departure.

“Mike did so much for this university,” Moore said. “He was an integral part of what we did here as a coaching staff and as a player. That’s all I’ll comment on that.”

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Another spot to fill on defense

Scruggs was set to earn $650,000 in the first year of a two-year deal prior to his resignation. He also was due a $75,000 signing bonus within 30 days of signing his term sheet and successfully completing a background check. Scruggs signed his term sheet Feb. 12.

Moore didn’t rule out elevating an analyst to coach the defensive line during the spring but said Martindale has been heavily involved with that position group so far. Michigan hired Kevin Wilkins, Martindale’s right-hand man, as a defensive analyst, and 247Sports reported the Wolverines are in the process of adding former Ravens pass rusher Pernell McPhee to its defensive support staff.

Tuttle on the mend

Quarterback Jack Tuttle, who has dealt with injuries throughout his seven-year career, is “working through some things,” Moore said, which could mean more reps for Alex Orji and Michigan’s other quarterbacks this spring.

Orji is getting a chance to audition for the starting quarterback job after being used primarily as a runner the past two years. Offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell praised Orji’s development as a passer last week, and Moore said the same thing Thursday.

“The ability for him to be a game changer with the ball in his hands, running the football, (means) he really has a different element from guys we’ve seen in the past,” Moore said. “But it’s not like he can’t throw. He can, and he’s thrown pretty well as we’ve gone through the spring.”

Early spring standouts

There’s not much Michigan needs to see from Will Johnson this spring, but the Wolverines have several young cornerbacks who could benefit from an extended opportunity. DJ Waller and Jyaire Hill are two players who have taken advantage, Moore said.

“DJ Waller played a little bit last year,” Moore said. “He’s been super impressive. Super long, super athletic. He’s going to be a phenomenal player. Jyaire Hill — we call him ‘Shug’ — made two big plays yesterday. He’s been awesome.”

Moore also mentioned edges TJ Guy and Enow Etta as players who have performed well in the first week of spring practices. Etta, the top-ranked recruit in Michigan’s 2023 class, appeared in three games last year and could be in line for a bigger role with Michigan replacing Braiden McGregor and Jaylen Harrell on the edge.

“We’re super excited about him and what he can do,” Moore said.

(Photo: Rick Osentoski / USA Today)





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