Harbaugh requested game plans for MSU, OSU from Michigan DC candidates

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When Jim Harbaugh went searching for a new defensive coordinator this offseason, he had two opponents in mind: Michigan State and Ohio State.

Former defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald had returned to the Baltimore Ravens, and Harbaugh was eyeing someone who could build on Macdonald's foundation.

Per The Athletic, Harbaugh requested each candidate to present a 'big-picture plan' tailored to Michigan's defensive personnel in 2022, along with changes they would make to the scheme.

Harbaugh also asked the candidates for game-plan ideas, 'specifically for Michigan State on first and second downs and Ohio State on third downs.'

This marked quite the 180 for Harbaugh, who had typically hired coordinators without formally interviewing them.

“Knowing Jim, every coordinator he’s ever hired has probably been a different process because it’s probably what he thinks is important at that particular moment,” a former Michigan assistant coach said.

Macdonald helped Michigan topple Ohio State for the first time in 10 years last season, on a day the Wolverines' defense excelled on third down: 10 stops on 18 attempts.

But his defense was much less effective in Michigan's 37-33 loss to Michigan State when the Spartans averaged 6.3 yards per play on first down.

Harbaugh ultimately hired former Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, who also spent four years as a defensive coach for the Ravens in the same system Macdonald brought to Michigan.