The Wolverine

March 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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80 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2022 M ike Elston's ears perked up when he heard Michigan football had a defensive line coach opening. The longtime Notre Dame assistant played at Michigan from 1993-96, and worked for the Wolverines for the next four seasons as a student assistant (1997), intern (1998) and graduate as- sistant (1999-2000). When Shaun Nua left Ann Arbor for USC, Elston's agent brought up the prospect of coming back to Michigan, and things moved quickly after that. He was officially introduced by the program Jan. 17. "The moment it happened … I have an agent. The agent actually called me and asked me, 'Hey, would you be in- terested in a Michigan opportunity?'" Elston said on the In The Trenches pod- cast with Jon Jansen, a former teammate of Elston's at Michigan. "I don't want to say the words I used, but it began with an 'H' and ended with a 'yeah.' "Next thing I know, [Michigan head] Coach [Jim] Harbaugh reached out, and that was it. When I brought it up to my wife, she was just ecstatic. It happened very quickly, and the feeling was mutual — they wanted me here and I wanted to be here." Needless to say, he feels right at home. "My family and I, we're so excited, and I've always had my eye on getting back to Ann Arbor," he said. "It's funny, my wife was in the office today, and she looked at me sitting in the office and said, 'Do you remember dreaming about being here?' And I said, 'Absolutely.' "It's great. It's great to be home. Ev- erybody I've met, the people have been great and the players have been great. It's been a really special homecoming." Elston hit the ground running. Just after the ink dried on his contract and before he was officially introduced by the program, he joined his fellow as- sistant coaches at the Michigan High School Coaches Association clinic, which offered him his first chance to represent the Wolverines once again. He's now on the road recruiting, and wearing Michigan gear has him excited. "It was natural, man," Elston said of putting on U-M gear. "It felt great. I didn't know what it was going to feel like, and then I realized, dang, it doesn't even feel like I lost any time. I got chills." Jansen asked what an Elston-coached defensive line will look like, and the new Michigan assistant laid out some of his vision. "They're going to be physical," he be- gan. "You're going to see great block construction for the run, you're going to see a vertical pass rush. Great effort and attitude to the football when the ball is either thrown or run. "Physicality is going to be No. 1. Great effort. You're going to see us flying to the ball, you're going to see 11 of those winged helmets — four of them up front, sometimes five defensive line- men on the field. "You're going to see them flying to the football with great effort and atti- tude, and pass rush. One thing that they did a great job of a year ago, obviously with those first-round draft picks, was great pass rush. We need to be able to do that at all four positions. We need to create that. You're going to see great pass rush and leverage and level rushes to the quarterback." — Clayton Sayfie   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Mike Elston Talks About Rejoining U-M, What His D-Line Will Look Like Elston played at Michigan from 1993-96 and worked on staff in various roles for the Wolverines the next four seasons. He returns after coaching 12 years at Notre Dame. PHOTO BY MIKE MILLER/COURTESY BLUEANDGOLD.COM 2022 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Sept. 3 Colorado State Sept. 10 Hawai'i Sept. 17 Connecticut Sept. 24 Maryland Oct. 1 at Iowa Oct. 8 at Indiana Oct. 15 Penn State Oct. 22 BYE Oct. 29 Michigan State Nov. 5 at Rutgers Nov. 12 Nebraska Nov. 19 Illinois Nov. 26 at Ohio State

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