With three days remaining until the opener against Alabama, Countdown to Kickoff hears from defensive secondary coach Curt Mallory, who provides an overview of his position group and its leader, co-captain Jordan Kovacs.
Safeties coach Curt Mallory returned to his alma mater in 2011. A two-year letterwinner (1989-90) under Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller, Mallory was part of five Big Ten Championship teams (1988-92). In 1989, the Wolverines posted a 10-2 record and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. The 1990 team defeated Mississippi in the Gator Bowl, a game in which Mallory recorded a key interception.
In 2013, Mallory's unit was led by All-Big Ten first-team cornerback Blake Countess and the Wolverines' leading tackler, Raymon Taylor. Countess tied for the Big Ten lead with six interceptions, while Taylor had 86 tackles and ranked tied for third in the Big Ten with four interceptions. Mallory's secondary accounted for 15 of the Wolverines' 17 interceptions, the most by a Michigan defense since 1998.
In 2012, Mallory's group helped lead a Michigan defense that allowed only 169.5 passing yards per game, second in the Big Ten and tied for fifth nationally. The Wolverines held opponents to 320.0 total yards per game in 2012, second in the conference and 13th in the country, and 19.8 points per game, good for fourth in the Big Ten and 20th in the NCAA.
In 2011, Mallory's unit surrendered only 190.5 passing yards per game, fifth-best in the Big Ten and 16th in the nation. Michigan's defense allowed just 17.4 points per game, which ranked second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation in scoring defense, and it allowed only 12 touchdown passes. The Wolverines, who won the Sugar Bowl with an overtime victory over Virginia Tech, led the Big Ten with 29 turnovers forced, including an FBS-best 20 fumble recoveries.
Mallory returned to Ann Arbor after spending one year as Akron's defensive coordinator. He was Illinois' co-defensive coordinator for three years (2007-09) and had 10 years of experience coaching the secondary at Illinois, Indiana, Central Michigan and Ball State.
At Illinois, Mallory helped coach a defense that led the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss per game in 2008. He mentored cornerback Vontae Davis, a two-time Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist, All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection. He was the defensive coordinator when the Illini went to the 2008 Rose Bowl. The 2007 Illini squad allowed fewer than 20 points per game. In 2006, Mallory's defensive backs allowed 182.2 yards passing per game, which ranked second in the Big Ten, while opposing quarterbacks averaged only 6.5 yards per pass attempt and scored just 11 touchdowns through the air.
At Ball State, Mallory spent five seasons mentoring the linebackers (1995-99) and one with the secondary (2000). In 1995 and 1996, the Cardinals posted winning records, earning a berth in the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl.
Mallory began his career as a student assistant at Michigan, and then served as a graduate assistant for his father, Bill Mallory, at Indiana from 1993-94.
Mallory earned his bachelor's degree in sport management and communications from U-M (1992), and a master's degree in outdoor recreation from Indiana (1999). He and his wife Lori have two sons, James and Sam, and one daughter, Margo.
Defensive Coordinator, Cornerbacks
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Secondary
Graduate Assistant (linebackers, defensive backs)
ABOUT COACH MALLORY Age / 44 Date of Birth / May 9, 1969 Hometown / Bloomington, Ind. High School / Bloomington South (1988) College / Michigan (1992, sports management and communications) Graduate / Indiana (1999, outdoor recreation) Family / Wife Lori, sons James and Sam, Daughter Margo Bowl Experience (8) / Michigan: 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl; 2013 Outback Bowl; 2012 Sugar Bowl; 1993 Rose Bowl; 1991 Gator Bowl (player); 1990 Rose Bowl (player)... Illinois: 2008 Rose Bowl ... Ball State: 1996 Las Vegas Bowl ... Indiana: 1993 Independence Bowl. All-Conference Players / 2013: Blake Countess (All-Big Ten first team) ... 2012: Jordan Kovacs (All-Big Ten second team) ... 2008: Vontae Davis (All-Big Ten first team) ... 2007: Vontae Davis (All-Big Ten first team) ... 2004: Herana-Daze Jones (All-Big Ten second team) All-Americans / 2008: Vontae Davis (Illinois)