Four games into the season and the number one thing on the minds of most Michigan fans is, what is going on with the offense?
When Al Borges was asked to leave and evacuate his position as offensive coordinator of the Wolverines last year fans gained hope. Everyone was then thrilled with the hire of former Alabama offense coordinator Doug Nussmeier to fill the position.
Blue supporters thought the Michigan offense would finally return to the days of old but that has not been the case this year so far.
Over four games, the offense has looked good vs. lesser teams (Appalachian St., Miami (OH), but has struggled vs. the two good teams Michigan has played (Notre Dame, Utah). Matter of fact, the Wolverine offense has failed to find the end zone against the two good teams. And that is puzzling because Nussmeier has a reputation for being a good offense coordinator.
Nussmeier brings with him a reputation as a successful groomer of quarterbacks. And he has implemented changes to his coaching style specific to aid in the development of Devin Gardner. Specifically for the first time as offensive coordinator Nussmeier is calling plays from the sideline instead of up in the booth. And history predicts Doug will be successful.
Some of the quarterbacks that Nussmeier has helped develop has been former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Washington’s Jake Locker and Keith Price. He also helped develop Drew Stanton and Marc Bulger as well.
The quarterbacks are not the only position that Nussmeier has seen thrive under his leadership. He has six 1000 yard running backs. During his time at Alabama Nussmeier guided an offense that set school records in multiple offensive categories.
Some of those records included school records for rushing and passing touchdowns. His offense also led the nation in pass efficiency. 2012 was also the first time in school history that an Alabama offense rushed and passed for 3,000 yards in a single season.
In 2013 the Alabama offense was 7th in pass efficiency and also ranked 17th in both scoring and 3rd down conversions.
And before you say, “yeah but he had Alabama players!” Let me state there are more examples of success.
During his final season at Washington his offense scored 57 touchdowns and they also scored 434 points. Those 434 points were the second highest totals in school history for the Huskies. That team plays in the Pac-10 (Pac-12 now).
Quarterback Keith Price set school records for passing touchdowns , completion percentage and also pass efficiency. Price also ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency.
When Nussmeier was the offensive coordinator at Michigan State, his quarterbacks also broke school records. Drew Stanton passed for a school record 3,415 yards in 2005. That broke the old record of Jeff Smoker who passed for 3,995 yards in 2003.
So this brings me to the question, “Can Nussmeier fix the offense buy the end of the season?” The answer is, yes! I think the offense WILL get better before the end of the year.
Michigan has been moving the ball each game but then would get a penalty or turn the ball over when the offense starts getting some rhythm . If the Michigan offense can cut down on the turnovers the offense may start performing up to their potential.
We shall soon see which quarterback Nussmeier has the opportunity to groom the rest of the way as head coach Brady Hoke has declared he would announce the starting quarterback for the Minnesota game on Saturday.
Will he ride it out with the inconsistent Gardner? Or will Hoke choose the truly unproven Shane Morris?
Can’t wait to find out.
Until next time GO BLUE!