Michigan Looks to Climb Out of the Dark By Hiring Nussmeier

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan's football program took a massive step when it reached out to Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

Behind the times. Outdated. Stuck in the past. Cavemanish. Call the sometimes ignorant University of Michigan what you will, but do it after you wipe that shocked look from your early morning face.

The previous 72 hours have been fun. Wednesday afternoon brought news that Michigan wouldn't retain embattled offensive coordinator Al Borges, letting him go after three up-and-down seasons that saw his offenses sputter and restart like a machine you're barely able to afford in high school.

Michigan can afford a well-oiled machine, but no one expected it to go out and buy one. Then Dave Brandon, armed with enough cash and connections to make a Kardashian blush, went out and found what we all wanted while we sat around wondering what it would feel like to see Al Borges go. We still didn't expect him to go.

Now he's gone. Replaced. Replaced? By whom? By the offensive coordinator of the University of Alabama. The same Alabama that features one of the nation's best rushing attacks. The same Alabama that just produced one of the more efficient quarterbacks in recent college football history. The same Alabama that would have taken Michigan's head to the pavement, again, had the two programs unfortunately crossed paths for the second time in two seasons. Nussmeier pummeled Michigan's defense into oblivion to begin the 2012 season, only to leave Alabama for Michigan in 2014.

It's comical how Nussmeier reflects everything Michigan wants in a coach without screaming outdated! or behind the times! when you see him. Michigan could have chopped Borges and replaced him with an equally maddening coach, but it instead went out and found one of the very few pro-style offensive coordinators with enough vision and respect to keep Michigan's fans and their foes from laughing at the hire.

Nussmeier's track record is legitimate. Stops with the Michigan State Spartans and St. Louis Rams came before he finally got hit shot at coordinating the Fresno State offense, which was then followed by a three-year gig at Washington. After producing multiple draft picks at quarterback, he went on to win a national title with Alabama, setting a multitude of offensive records at one of the most prestigious football programs in the country. The Tide's offense ran the ball with force and complemented it with quality play-action pass plays – fitting the mold of a Michigan offense to a tee.

Nussmeier, Nuss, The Nuss, Doug, or whatever you'd like to address him by, will fit in at the University of Michigan. Despite winning a ring with Alabama, he simply didn't mesh well with Nick Saban's approach; the my way or the highway attitude doesn't sit well with some individuals. Saban and Nussmeier's differences sometimes led to Nussmeier veering away from his own game plan to calm the fiery Saban, yet Nussmeier still managed to produce one of the most prolific offenses under Nick Saban to date. We're excited to see what he can manage with the Michigan offense when he's given total control – something that he may have never had during his time in Tuscaloosa.

Yet Nussmeier is being handed more than the keys to the offense. Brady Hoke is putting his Michigan career – the job he wanted since his days at Ball State and would have "walked to" from San Diego – into the hands of Nussmeier. If the young offensive coordinator fails to turn around an ailing Michigan offense, Hoke will almost certainly lose his job over it. Greg Robinson's aging heart would ache out of sympathy for Nussmeier if he were to stumble across this article.

My young, caffeine-driven heart has been aching over Michigan football for some seven years now, and the rest of the Michigan fan base has felt all of the same pains. We've witnessed one of the darkest stretches in Michigan football history, and we're all looking for one Doug Nussmeier to bring us out of it.

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