|Photo Credit: AP|
Friday saw a new offensive era welcomed in Ann Arbor as former Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was introduced for the same position at the University of Michigan. At face value, the hiring of Nussmeier was knocked out of the ballpark. As head coach Brady Hoke is surely fighting for his job next season, the pick had to be a good one.
Of course, we won’t know about the choice fully until the games are played. But, as far as Nussmeier is concerned, he is in a position of instant success with the Wolverines.
With the stench of last years putrid offense behind them, it is unfathomable to predict another poor offensive year for Michigan. Considering this is Michigan, anything can happen. That alone will make Nussmeier’s start at Michigan a success, though having a consistently fine-tuned offense from year to year is crucial. This is where Borges lacked, the offense (and team included) regressed significantly.
Since Mike Hart left in the late 2000s, Michigan has only had a 1,000 yard running back once and that was Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2011. Unfortunately, Denard Robinson does not count towards that statistic. Under Nussmeier, Alabama had the luxury of having a solid power running game with names like Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon in tow.
Nussmeier gave a brief look into what he wants Michigan to eventually look like during his presser. “We want to be able to run the football, and we want to be able to put points on the board and we want to force the defense to defend all different elements of the game,” he said.
It goes without saying that Michigan is no where near Alabama’s level. The power running game is easy when you have an experienced and solid brick wall for an offensive line. With Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith expected to return next year and with a solid year of offseason conditioning under their belts, Michigan should be in good shape with their backs.
The backs success will depend on the ability of the offensive line to contain. Though the line will return a majority of youth, that youth will have experience. Nussmeier and offensive line coach Darrell Funk hopes it translates to a better performance in 2014.
Arguably one of Nussmeier’s best qualities is being able to work with quarterbacks. As a former quarterback in the NFL, he fully understands the position. He was also responsible for helping Marc Bulger become a Pro Bowler, turning Keith Price into a serviceable QB at Washington and helping A.J. McCarron turn into a household name and put him in the Heisman discussion this year. This alone will satisfy the fans gripes about the lack of quarterback coach.
Michigan’s quarterback position is filled with talent and youth behind Devin Gardner. With Shane Morris the heir to the throne and Wilton Speight also in waiting, having Nussmeier on board is an absolute win for the both of them. Not to mention Nussmeier also being a lefty quarterback, it truly is the perfect situation for Morris. Though Gardner is the likely starter in 2014, he had a frustrating first half of the season but managed to turn it around nicely. Having one more year and a whole season under Nussmeier’s guidance can only help Gardner.
With the Michigan coaching staff ridding themselves of the problem child Al Borges, it truly appears that they hit this hire out of the park with Nussmeier. Of course, only time will tell if this is the case. But Nussmeier has stepped into a situation where he will be beloved if he succeeds and may even get a shot to be a head coach in a few years, much to Michigan fans dismay. He was a finalist for the Washington head coaching position that was filled in December.
But, in regards to instant success, the offense simply can’t get any worse, right?