In the Michigan community directory and on the athletic department’s website, Ryan Osborn is listed as an analyst. It’s a vague title with a job description even more nebulous. The role was created more than a decade ago as deep-pocketed football programs invested their money in personnel and built outsized staffs that numbered in the dozens.
The men who hold these positions tend to operate in the shadows while scouting opponents, formulating detailed game plans, crunching data and consulting with the on-field assistants.
What they can’t do, according to the NCAA, is coach.
But multiple people inside the program have said Osborn was doing just that.
Taylor Upshaw, one of the team’s eight newly labeled edge defenders, revealed as much during an April 5 news conference held in the final stretch of spring practice, when he told reporters Osborn was leading his position subgroup instead of third-year defensive line coach Shaun Nua.
“The reality is Nua is more like a D-tackles coach right now,” Upshaw said. “Coach Osborn is really our main guy. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s a good coach. You can tell just with his passion and the things he’s getting us right with our technique.”