The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 23 TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS "Pep Hamilton is a proven, out- standing football coach, husband and father," Harbaugh said upon Michigan confirming the hire. "His teaching and mentoring skills have produced qual- ity athletes and quality young men, in- cluding some of the finest quarterbacks and wide receivers in the country. We are thrilled and excited to have Pep and Nicole and their children — April, Jackson and Elizabeth — as members of our Michigan family." Hamilton acknowledged his appre- ciation for joining Harbaugh's staff. "It is an honor and privilege to be part of one of the most storied pro- grams in college football history," Hamilton said. "I look forward to working with Coach Harbaugh and members of the staff at Michigan. I am excited to get to work meeting our players so that I can assist with their development on the field and in the university community." When Hamilton coached Har- baugh's wideouts in 2010, Stanford established a school record with 32 touchdown catches on the year. He then drew increased responsibility after Harbaugh left for the NFL, and doubled down on results. Hamilton served as Stanford's quar- terbacks coach and offensive coordina- tor in 2011-12. Behind Maxwell Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist Luck, Hamilton's offense produced a school-record 561 points, averaging 43.2 per game. The Cardinal shattered program re- cords for total offense (6,361) and net yards per game (489.3). The following year, Stanford went 12-2 with running back Stepfan Taylor closing out his ca- reer as the school's all-time leader in career rushing yards (4,212) while ty- ing the Stanford career record via 44 total touchdowns. Moving on to the Colts, Hamilton helped Luck and Indianapolis estab- lish a franchise record for fewest turn- overs in a season — 14, the best in the NFL that year. Luck slashed his inter- ceptions in half, from 18 in his NFL rookie season to nine in the first year of the Hamilton reunion. Luck's comple- tion percentage also jumped from 54.1 to 60.2 percent. The Colts proved to be the NFL's most prolific passing crew with Ham- ilton at the helm in 2014. They set a franchise record with 4,894 yards through the air and another with 6,506 net yards on the season. They posted 458 points, second most in the history of the Colts, and 371 first downs, the third-highest total ever in Indianapolis. Luck wound up firing 40 touchdown passes and racking up another franchise record by throwing for 300 yards or more in eight straight contests on his way to the AFC Cham- pionship Game. "Luck came into the league and had one of the best quarterback coaches around to help him as an offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians," noted In- dianapolis Star beat writer Zak Keefer, who covers the Colts. "But it changed his second and third year. His third year, in 2014 — and his second year in that system [run by Hamilton] — was his best year as a pro, by any measure." What people not following the Colts closely in 2014 don't know, Keefer noted, involves what Hamilton was up against in terms of limitations. He points out that Indianapolis enjoyed very little success in the running game, and yet had to try and balance out Luck's prolific passing. "That's without a good offensive line and that's without anything in the run game," Keefer said. "It's a pretty good testament to what Pep Hamilton did. "I can't stress enough how difficult it was. It was a coach-general manager disagreement that leaked into what Hamilton's job was, because he had to keep everyone happy. Part of that was trying to run an offense with a bad of- fensive line and a bad running back. "T.Y. Hilton, as a receiver, needs some time to get open. He needs an offensive line that can protect Andrew Luck. Pep had a lot to balance on his plate when he was in Indianapolis. You look at that 2014 season, and An- drew Luck has never been better than he was that year." Hamilton sports an extensive NFL history, beginning all the way back in 2002 as a pro personnel intern with the Baltimore Ravens. He served as the New York Jets offensive quality control agent in 2003, before coaching quarter- backs for them in 2004-05. He coached quarterbacks with the San Francisco 49ers in 2006 and guided the Chicago Bears signal-callers from 2007-09, before agreeing to join Har- baugh at Stanford. The former How- ard University quarterback taught QBs at his alma mater in 1997-2001 and coordinated the team's offense from 1999-2001. With Michigan, he should slip seam- lessly back into directing the passing game under Harbaugh and working with U-M offensive coordinator and run game coordinator Tim Drevno. A VERSATILE PLAYERS' COACH Keefer described Hamilton as "a very ambitious play caller," who him- self appreciates the balance in an of- fense. But with a "really, really patchy" offensive line in front of Luck and an "abysmal" running back situation, he was eventually forced to turn Luck loose at Indianapolis. "I did get the sense that they wanted to run more," Keefer said. "They fought that for a long time, then even- tually gave up and said, 'This is who The Pep Hamilton File Hometown: Charlotte, N.C. College: Howard University Playing Career: Quarterback at Howard, 1993-96; team's scholar-athlete award in 1995 and 1996 Coaching Career: Howard (1997-2001) — Quarterbacks coach Howard (1999-2001) — Offensive coordinator Baltimore Ravens (2002) — Pro personnel intern New York Jets (2003) — Offensive quality control coach New York Jets (2004-05) — Quarterbacks coach San Francisco 49ers (2006) — Quarterbacks coach Chicago Bears (2007-09) — Quarterbacks coach Stanford (2010) — Wide receivers coach Stanford (2011-12) — Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Indianapolis Colts (2013-15) — Offensive coordinator Cleveland Browns (2016) — Associate head coach-offense Michigan (2017) — Assistant head coach and passing game coordinator

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