Ohio State football: Will Ed Warinner joining Michigan have any impact on The Game?
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Will the hiring of Ed Warriner by *ichigan have any effect on the outcome of “the game”?
— William E. Feeman III (@feemandvm) January 29, 2018
The ending of his tenure at Ohio State may not have been ideal, but it was still surprising to see Ed Warinner’s name listed on the Michigan coaching staff just one year removed from his final campaign with the Buckeyes. Now, it’s obviously not unprecedented for people to switch sides in the greatest rivalry in college football, but it’s rare and interesting when it happens — even when there’s a buffer such as Warinner’s season spent coaching the offensive line at Minnesota.
It should come as no surprise that the Gophers showed noticeable signs of improvement in the trenches last season under Warinner’s watch. There’s no question that he’s one of the finest assistants in the nation when it comes to developing offensive linemen. While there may have been issues with his play calling and management of the offense as a whole at the end of his run with the Buckeyes, Warinner was invaluable to the staff for the work he did with the guys up front. Ohio State won a national title thanks to the rise of a line that paved the way for one of the country’s most potent rushing attacks. Warinner was integral in helping like Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell and Taylor Decker become NFL-ready blockers.
If anything, that would be the reason Ohio State may have its hands full when the next edition of The Game rolls around in November. Michigan has been dreadful on the offensive line for a few years, an issue that hasn’t resolved itself as expected by Jim Harbaugh trying to turn the Wolverines into more of a smash-mouth, physical team in his image. Only one team in the Big Ten allowed more sacks than Michigan last season, and when it had a chance to end its losing streak against the Buckeyes it could muster only 100 yards on 36 carries in a game that it led by 14 points in the first half. That isn’t a recipe for success against Ohio State’s defensive line, which isn’t going to slow down any with Nick Bosa, Dre’Mont Jones and Chase Young coming back next season.
There are other questions about Michigan’s offense, which still faces uncertainty at quarterback. And while Warinner’s track record suggests he’ll be able to upgrade an area of weakness, odds are he won’t be able to tip the scales by himself next when he’s standing on the opposite sideline in the Horseshoe. His move to Michigan is intriguing and one to watch, but the balance of power overall still squarely favors the Buckeyes.
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