Harbaugh May Get Help Fixing Defense from Ohio State


The incestuous nature of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry may be adding another chapter to its already-voluminous history with the possible hiring of an OSU assistant at Boston College perhaps relieving the Wolverines of a ticklish issue.

OSU linebackers coach Al Washington Jr., a former BC player, is among the rumored candidates to succeed Steve Addazio as the head coach of the Eagles.

Washington would be an unproven hire, but he'd be a popular hire with former players, and probably with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, too.

The reason has less to do with Harbaugh wishing good things for Washington -- who coached linebackers in Ann Arbor in 2018 before leaving for Columbus and OSU, his hometown and the alma mater of his father, who played linebacker for the Buckeyes from 1977-80 -- than it does with what Washington's hiring at Chestnut Hill would take off Harbaugh's plate.

It's plausible Washington would hire Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown to fill the same role at Boston College, thus sparing Harbaugh the controversy of either firing or keeping him after Ohio State put 62 and 56 points on Brown's defenses the last two seasons.

Brown has been with Harbaugh all five of his seasons at Michigan, which might be the shelf life for non-family member assistant coaches.

After all, Brown interviewed for the Temple head coaching job after last season.

Both he and his wife are from New England, where several of their four children now live.

And Brown and Washington coached together at Boston College from 2013-15. In 2015, Washington coached the defensive line with Brown as defensive coordinator.

Their reunion makes even more sense considering Boston College athletic director Martin Jarmond worked at Ohio State from 2009-16.

One of Jarmond's most trusted advisors is Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who took a chance of elevating Ryan Day at age 40, with no head coaching experience, when Urban Meyer retired.

Day has the Buckeyes No. 1 and unbeaten entering the Big Ten title game on Saturday.

Day also worked at Boston College on Addazio's staff with Brown and Washington in 2013-14 and some former Eagles are still salty Day got away from Chestnut Hill.

 The argument that Washington, at age 35, is too unproven to be a head coach at Boston College, would likely fall on unsympathetic ears in Jarmond, who at age 37 was the youngest athletic director among Power 5 schools.

If Washington heads for BC, and in so doing relieves Harbaugh of his Brown dilemma, it would be par for the course for an Ohio State-Michigan rivalry in which the connections between the two schools are are strong as the mutual disdain.

Legendary coach Bo Schembechler coached on Woody Hayes' staff at OSU, and Schembechler's successor, Gary Moeller, played for Hayes.

Former Ohio State athletic director Rick Bay, who resigned in protest over Earle Bruce's firing at OSU, was an All-American wrestler at Michigan.

Two of Michigan's Heisman Trophy winners, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson, are Ohio natives, headlining the long list of All-Americans for the Wolverines to hail from the Buckeye State.

And Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf, the analyst on the Michigan Radio Network, is a Canton, Ohio, native.

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