ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michigan football fans who have been clamoring for changes in the offense have to like what they're hearing from new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
Gattis joins a Michigan program that has been plenty good defensively to reach the College Football Playoff, save for a few defensive collapses against the likes of Ohio State and Penn State. For the most part, Don Brown's defense keeps Michigan in every game.
To call Michigan's offense stale, though, would be putting it lightly. Though Harbaugh has always operated with a run-heavy offense, the team's current personnel has fans begging for more of a downfield passing game.
The hiring of Gattis, who helped elevate Alabama's talented wide receiver corps last season, appears to show a willingness for change inside the Michigan football program.
Ann Arbor here we come! Can’t be more excited to be a part of the most storied program in college football! We are ready to take it to the top! #SpeedInSpace #GoBlue〽️ pic.twitter.com/4bbDeCTLyR — Josh Gattis (@Coach_Gattis) January 12, 2019
Alabama has been a pioneer of modernization in college football. Head coach Nick Saban had had unmatched success with his traditional, run-heavy offense, yet was still willing to evolve with the times and adopt a more aggressive approach.
He's been rewarded with some of the most explosive offenses in Alabama history. Harbaugh likely hopes Gattis can provide some of the same.
Michigan's new offensive coordinator took to Twitter this weekend to post his "building blocks" for the offense.
Here are the three that he listed:
- Be explosive.
- Protect the football and who has it.
- Be aggressive and score.
Gattis will have plenty of weapons to field an explosive offense, especially at the wide receiver position. Michigan returns a trio of junior receivers in Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black, who were all high-profile recruits and have since shown flashes of being elite offensive players in college.
The Building Blocks for 〽️Offensively!
1. Be EXPLOSIVE!
2. Protect the Football & Who Has It!
3. Be Aggresive & Score!
DNA➕SCHEME➕CONFIDENCE=💥💥💥💥💥#SpeedInSpace #GoBlue〽️ — Josh Gattis (@Coach_Gattis) January 13, 2019
Starting quarterback Shea Patterson will also return for another season in Ann Arbor, though he'll have to beat out rising junior Dylan McCaffrey and redshirt freshman Joe Milton to secure the starting job once again.
Gattis has never held the reins to an entire offense, so he's still unproven heading into the 2019 season. But his hiring and the Twitter remarks should be music to the ears of Michigan fans.
Harbaugh is showing self awareness. Stubbornness from a college football coach can be damning for a program, but this move suggests Harbaugh understands the team's shortcomings on offense and is willing to make changes to improve.
Gattis' vision for the offense has Michigan fans eager for the 2019 season, which says a lot considering the beating the program took over the last two months, both on and off the field.
Harbaugh has taken Michigan from a broken program to three 10-win seasons in four years, but he's not satisfied. We don't know if Gattis will work out in Ann Arbor, but we do know Michigan is willing to try something new to get to the top.
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