Michigan football’s Mike Macdonald remembers his early coaching days at Georgia fondly

DANIA BEACH, Fla. — The reminiscing began shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday as Michigan football defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s life came full circle. He sat behind a microphone flagged with an Orange Bowl logo and answered questions about the school he attended, the football program that gave him his first real job and, most pressingly, the challenge his former employer now poses as an opponent in Friday’s national semifinal against Georgia.

“Back then we didn’t have iPads so we had the playbooks, and I remember just having a really rough relationship with the printer,” Macdonald said in a Zoom call. “But yeah, those were great days, man. Just learning from Coach (Mark) Richt and Coach (Todd) Grantham and Coach (Mike) Bobo and really just what makes an organization tick, how does it go, just being in on the ground floor, doing anything you can to help the team win was really valuable. They’re great people in that building, and it was great, great experience for us.”

Long before Macdonald jumped from the Baltimore Ravens to Ann Arbor and resurrected Michigan’s defense, he broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 2010. Macdonald remained on Richt’s staff for the next four seasons as a defensive quality control coach before contemplating leaving the business in the spring of 2013, going so far as signing a contract with KPMG, one of the largest accounting firms in the world.

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It was then that Macdonald experienced a stroke of good fortune when Rodney Gardner, an assistant at Georgia from 1998-2012, mentioned the hardworking youngster to a member of the Ravens’ scouting department.

Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald watches warmups before a game against Northern…


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