ANN ARBOR – Michigan players and coaches auditioned ad nauseam about the improved culture and team chemistry from a season when the Wolverines finished 2-4 during preseason camp.

But with the practices closed to the media and the public, the effects of a reshaped coaching staff were intangible to those outside the program.

After a dominant 3-0 start, the influence of the six new assistants on Jim Harbaugh’s staff and the buy-in of the players becomes more apparent.

“The boys, when they enter the building, they are alive,” Michigan’s assistant coach Sherrone Moore told reporters on Wednesday. “You are energetic. The exercises are great fun and the guys enjoy them. I think whenever kids have fun and do their best, they get a great result, and that’s exactly what they get right now.

“I think the new employees are great. Everyone is like brothers. The staff are fun to be around and the players really feed on it. I think they can see and feel that so it was all great. I think the culture really implemented that part of it. “

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Moore is one of four assistants who are still on the team from last season, but even he is training a new position and moving from tight ends to the offensive. He has also added co-offensive coordinator to his title.

While there was some overlap with the offensive linemen at Moore as a trainer of tight ends, the 35-year-old assistant still had to get used to it. But now he’s training the position he played in Oklahoma and was able to quickly build trust with his players.

“A lot of these guys know me from coaching tight ends so they have a good sense of who I am as a person,” said Moore. “I will not change. The first thing I told them was, “To be successful as a team, it starts with us. We have to lead the team in every way, in every shape and form. With any good team I’ve been with, it’s the offensive that controls the team. ‘ Really, that was the first thing I said and then let her know, ‘I’m going to train you hard, but I’m going to love you even more.’ I think that is the message and what I have been trying to implement and do since I took the position. “

Moore’s tough but lovable approach has resonated with his linemen. The unit deserves considerable credit for the Wolverines who lead the nation in a rush through three weeks of the season. It also only allowed one sack.

“It is definitely more open and can ask questions more freely,” said second guard Zak Zinter on Tuesday. “With Coach Moore, he really brought this sense of family with him. He’s like a second father type. But at the same time we are locked up, we mean business, we ask questions. “

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The improved chemistry is not limited to the offensive line space.

“We depend more secondary,” said RJ Moten in the second year. “We text ourselves a text message like ‘How are you? Or try to get food (together). We got a lot closer, so I feel that this kind of bond on and off the field has really helped us this year. “

Michigan’s secondary school was struggling in 2020 and seemed lacking in confidence as the teams frequently shot against the Wolverines’ defensive backs. Steve Clinkscale, the first year Defensive Backs coach, not only knew he needed to restore his players’ confidence, he also wanted to get them back into football.

So far he has noticed a re-energized group.

“I think it’s just determination and drive,” Clinkscale said Monday night on the Inside Michigan Football radio show. “You love the game. You love soccer. The coaches spiced it up to fall in love with football again. Yes, everyone thinks it’s self-confidence or yes we get better, but we pretty humble ourselves. It’s not about being arrogant or thinking we have arrived. We know and the players know that we are nowhere near where we want to be. But I think it’s just the determination, this work ethic, that workers will come to work every day and give all I have (mantra). And if I work hard and put in more hours, and dedicate myself more and change my habits, then we will get the results. That’s more of what I see. “

Moten agreed, saying that the players would devote more time to football this year.

“It’s definitely more than just trust,” said Moten. “Now, after training, we do more, we go back and see the training that day. We watch more films about the upcoming opponent. We watch more films about certain players, certain formations and really just dive deeper into the game instead of just finishing training and leaving. “

Michigan’s competition only gets tougher from here when it kicks off its nine-game Big Ten season against Rutgers on Saturday, but the team feels they are better equipped to deal with adversity this season.

“I think what you really find is when the chips are down, adversity happens,” said Moore. “How do you react? You can tell that we were pretty lucky in a few games because we were ahead in most of the games, but I think everyone’s got their backs and I think that’s the most important thing. “

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