ANN ARBOR—After spending one season as an assistant coach under former Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer head coach Joe Palka, now in charge at Saline (Mich.) high school, former Michigan tight end Kevin Koger is back in Ann Arbor as a graduate assistant with the Wolverines in 2013.
Playing one full season under Michigan coach Brady Hoke and his coaching staff in 2011, Koger’s experience in the system is already paying dividends for tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno.
“The thing is is Kevin was through our system when we first got here,” Ferrigno told GoBlueWolverine. “So he understands it, which is a huge help for me.
“It’s another set of eyes. So a lot of times we’re in two tight ends and I’m watching one (going back and forth). I don’t have to do that anymore cause (you say), ‘Kevin you’ve got the U this game.’ He relates really well to the kids and he says the exact same things as I do. But sometimes, it’s good to hear it again from somebody else.”
Spending four years (2008-2011) blocking and catching passes for the Maize & Blue, Koger, a captain in his senior season at Michigan, offers leadership to a group in desperate need of it.
Four current scholarship tight ends are either freshmen or sophomores for the Wolverines, now able to lean on and pick the brain of someone who has been through it all on the field.
“He’s been a great help, a great help for the tight end group,” sophomore tight end A.J. Williams said. “Not even just me and Funchess but just helping everybody out from Jordan Paskorz to Michael Jocz, helping all these guys to get better and better.
“Koger’s done a great job with everything from footwork to route running to even little tricks you can do to get open a little bit more.”
Echoing the same sentiment is fellow sophomore tight end Devin Funchess, now a thick 6-foot-5, 235-pounds, and looking to expand upon the five touchdowns he caught in 2012, while also improving his blocking.
“Kevin has brought a lot to the picture with him coming back and helping us,” Funchess said. “I’ve learned different techniques that he had in the blocking game that I didn’t have and little things in the passing game as well. I’m just learning from him as much as I can so I can be a better player and same with everyone else.”
With dreams of playing in the NFL all but gone, Koger appears to be on the path to a long, successful coaching career in college football.
“He’s got a great personality, the kids love him, so, and I do too, so it’s great to have him around,” Ferrigno added. “And he’s going to be a very good coach, a very good coach. He’s very detailed and works very hard. He does whatever we ask him to do, he helps me with special teams and it’s great to have him.”