Michigan football: Jim Harbaugh must choose an offensive coordinator — and fast
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Who do you think will be Michigan’s offensive coordinator? — Fusho K. Teruya, via Facebook
If it was up to Jim Harbaugh, he’d take the reins of the offense.
But that’s not how it works. Harbaugh might have the final say on calling plays, but he’s made no public say in regards to naming Michigan’s offensive coordinator. A few days into spring practices, and the chair remains open.
“It’s going to be a collaborative process,” Harbaugh said Friday, the first day of Michigan’s spring practices. “It really comes down to who the play callers will be and how we’re going to call plays. We haven’t decided that yet, but it’s always going to be a collaborative process on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive side of the ball. And on special teams. We’re just very excited about the staff.”
The offense was a “collaborative process” in 2017. There were too many coaches with too many responsibilities, including three offensive coaches with “coordinator” in their titles: offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, and run game coordinator (and tackles and tight ends coach) Greg Frey.
That didn’t work out so well for the Wolverines, whose offense was, for lack of a better term, uncoordinated in 2017.
Two have left: Drevno to USC and Frey to Florida State. The offensive staff is being streamlined in what Harbaugh calls a “self-scout” process.
Here’s a nomination for the open coaching position: Ed Warinner, who coaches the offensive line. Warinner helped Ohio State win a national championship in 2014 as its co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, but left after the 2016 season, a peculiar parting of ways.
Still, the offensive line is the heart of an offense. Productivity for any football team depends on that unit’s effectiveness. Get the offensive line into shape, and so much more will open up for the Wolverines.
Michigan kicks off against Notre Dame in about five months. That’s an eternity to some but for college football coaches, it’s the equivalent of about a week of preparation.
The window is closing. Having some clarity on the situation at the start of spring practices would be extremely valuable. This is Harbaugh’s call.
He already could know who his pick will be. But in the same way he announces his starting quarterbacks, Harbaugh also might wait to announce an offensive coordinator until he absolutely has to.
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