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It was a memorable year in college football, and in no other conference was that more evident than the Big Ten. Initially, the conference wasn’t going to play at all, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The league would change course and wound up with a representative in the College Football Playoff, where Ohio State advanced to the title game with a win over Clemson before ultimately falling to Alabama.
The Buckeyes’ path to the title game included a near-upset from Indiana and a disappointing cancellation with long-time rival, Michigan. Both the Wolverines and Hoosiers had openings on their defensive staffs following the season, and both have found their guy.
Macdonald - New Michigan Man
Jim Harbaugh’s status in Ann Arbor was a major discussion point throughout the regular season. However, that speculation was put to rest when Harbaugh signed an extension in early January.
Defensive coordinator Don Brown wasn’t as fortunate, as he was let go, eventually landing in Arizona as the Wildcats’ new DC under new head coach Jedd Fisch.
Harbaugh went to his brother for Brown’s replacement, hiring Mike Macdonald as the Wolverines’ new defensive coordinator. Macdonald comes from John Harbaugh’s staff with the Baltimore Ravens, where he was Baltimore’s linebackers coach for the past three seasons. He spent seven seasons with the Ravens and in various roles with Georgia between 2011-13.
Macdonald had been the frontrunner for the job since almost immediately after Brown’s dismissal. Michigan waited for the Ravens’ playoff run to conclude, which it did Saturday night to the Bills in the AFC Divisional Round. The 33-year old takes over a defense that ranked 89th in the country by giving up 434.3 yards per game.
Warren New DC in Bloomington
After two seasons at Georgia, Charlton Warren is expected to be named defensive coordinator at Indiana. Warren will replace Kane Wommack, who departed the Hoosiers to become the new head coach at South Alabama.
The 44-year old was the shortest-tenured member of the Bulldog staff, joining the program after Mel Tucker left Athens to become the head coach at Colorado. Dan Lanning was promoted to defensive coordinator, Tucker's former post, and Warren was hired away from Florida to lead the defensive backfield.
Warren was a crucial part of two full two full recruiting classes at UGA, helped the Bulldogs commit one five-star prospect and five prospects who were four-star rated.
The Georgia secondary had an excellent 2019 season, finishing second in the nation in average yards allowed per pass attempt. However, the Bulldogs experienced a backslide in 2020, finishing 38th in the country in that same category.
Tom Allen and Wommack led Indiana to a resurgence in 2020, finishing 6-2, second in the Big Ten East, and an appearance in the Outback Bowl. The team’s 17 interceptions were the most in the entire country despite only playing eight games.
Warren, who had also spent time as the defensive coordinator at Air Force, beat out Michigan State’s Mike Tressel and Liberty’s Scott Symons for the job.