It's more reaction and less news at this point, but Michigan hired Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to replace beleaguered coordinator Al Borges. This, by most accounts, has been fairly well received by the Michigan faithful.
Adam Rittenberg on ESPN: Nussmeier Must Refine Michigan's Identity:
Michigan's offense has hopscotched under Brady Hoke, never establishing an identity despite repeated claims about a clear philosophy. We always hear about who the Wolverines want to be, but because of personnel, youth or fickle schematic decisions, we rarely see who they are.
Perhaps the best thing about Michigan's offensive coordinator transition was the lack of indecision. Hours after Michigan announced Al Borges had been fired, reports surfaced that Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier would be his replacement. Hoke knew who he wanted, targeted him and got the deal done.
A record-setting signal-caller at Idaho who played in both the NFL and CFL, Nussmeier knows quarterbacks, but his first priority at Michigan will be resurrecting a run game that went dormant the past two seasons. Michigan's young offensive line needs to grow up in a hurry, especially after losing left tackle Taylor Lewan, a first-round draft pick in April, as well as right tackle Michael Schofield, a three-year starter. Nussmeier isn't exactly inheriting the Alabama offensive line in Ann Arbor. Or Alabama's running backs, for that matter. There's some young talent at Michigan, but it needs to be coached up.
CBS's Bruce Feldman:
While some might see this as a lateral move, going from one powerhouse to another, it's not a stretch to see the upside in the move for the Oregon native, especially for what it could do for his stock as a potential head coach. The Wolverines, 7-6 in Hoke's third season, ranked just No. 87 in total offense, No. 67 in scoring and No. 102 in rushing in 2013. However, Devin Gardner, who sat out Michigan's 31-14 bowl loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl with an injury, returns for 2014 along with a lot of young talent including dynamic sophomore TE Devin Funchess. Nussmeier also has some Big Ten roots, having spent three seasons at Michigan State as the Spartans QB coach.
Prior to coaching at Alabama, Nussmeier ran the offense at Washington and established himself as one of the sharpest offensive coordinators in the country. In 2011, even though UW had to replace a first-round pick at quarterback (Jake Locker), Nussmeier's offense scored 57 touchdowns and 434 points, the second-highest totals in school history (behind only the Huskies' 1991 national championship team). And in his three seasons at UW, his offenses got statistically better each year.
A former NFL QB, Nussmeier also has earned a reputation as one of the country's best developers of quarterbacks. Among his proteges: Bama's AJ McCarron, Washington's Jake Locker and Keith Price and Michigan State's Drew Stanton and Jeff Smoker. Nussmeier also coached QBs for the St. Louis Rams in 2006-07 and helped Marc Bulger, a former sixth-round pick, make it to a Pro Bowl.
Bob "Wojo" Wojnowski on the hire:
Hoke talks a very good game, a tough game, and now must show he can consistently play it. This was a tough-game move in many ways, hiring Doug Nussmeier from Alabama to replace Al Borges as offensive coordinator. Hoke wants Michigan to play like the big boys, so he went and plucked a respected assistant from big-boy Bama.
This was a good, necessary strike. I wouldn’t call it a panic move, although Hoke has to know the heat is rising. I’d call it a perception move, and the Wolverines haven’t won many of those battles lately. The perception here is, they moved swiftly, boldly and expensively, and aren’t reducing expectations one bit. Michigan might not have shown much fight this season, but it did here.
Michigan Blog Reactions
Brian Cook at MGoBlog offered this reaction:
Nussmeier's got a pretty good resume both as an OC and a QB coach, what with Smoker/Stanton/Bulger/Price/Locker/McCarron on his resume, and quickly climbed the ladder. He's got a good rep as a recruiter and at 43 is relatively young for a BCS offensive coordinator; his Washington offenses were spread/pro mish-mash amalgams and then he seemed to do just fine with Alabama's pro-style attack. It's possible Michigan was going to ride with Borges for another year before the rarest commodity of all appeared: a proven college offensive coordinator with pro-style genes.
Subsequently, MGoBlog's The Mathlete:
This does seem to be the coordinator who can do the things that Borges can’t while still fitting into Hoke’s desire for what his team’s offense looks like. Where Michigan has spent the last three years moving backwards, every single Nussmeier coordinated offense has shown year on year improvement. There aren’t going to be fireworks or a spread offense, most likely, but there should be a lot of first downs and hopefully consistent improvement.
From a watchability standpoint, this won’t be the fun offense many of where hoping for. It is a system that in the presence of elite talent and great defense can do everything you need it to.
Touch the Banner on who on the team will benefit most/least:
I expect Nussmeier to simplify Michigan's blocking schemes, which should help out the young linemen and the quarterback. The new offensive coordinator also likes to push the ball down the field (as did Al Borges), which suits Gardner well because he has a strong arm and throws a nice deep ball.
Brad Muckenthaler at Maize n' Blue Nation:
Well, that happened quickly. With head coaching vacancies remaining open all over college and pro football, Michigan seems to have opened and closed their offensive coordinator search in less than a few hours.
This was a calculated move from the start. No doubt about it.
If it is true, and Michigan did indeed nab Alabama's offensive coordinator, then consider this one of the biggest assistant hires in Michigan football history. There's no question a guy like Nussmeier will command top dollar, and he'll get it.
Andrew Coppens on How the Nussmeier Hire Will Change M's Offense:
With the hire, Michigan and Hoke are putting their chips all-in in an effort to get back to winning 10-plus games and becoming relevant nationally.
The question is, exactly what will change under Nussmeier? He'll still be dealing with the same set of players Borges couldn't mold into some sort of style.
More than anything else, that is what Nussmeier needs to change—Michigan's offense needs to have an identity. If it can find that in one offseason, Michigan could find success quickly under Nussmeier.
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.
Alabama SB Nation blog Roll Bama Roll isn't that torn-up about it:
This announcement was met with mixed reviews from the Alabama fan base and twitter alike. The Michigan crowd seems to feel they stole Alabama's guy right from under our noses and Alabama fans feel Saban let Nuss go without much, if any, fight at all.
Honestly, it's hard to not agree with the Alabama position. With Nussmeier's salary of $680,000, if Alabama wanted to keep him on, we wouldn't be talking about his possible replacement today. Alabama is near the top when it comes to assistant salaries and there's no doubt in my mind if Saban felt Doug was worth the money, $850,000 (his reported raise at Michigan) wouldn't be much of a stretch at all.
Jeff Svobada at BuckeyeSports.com is impressed:
Out is Al Borges, who had been with Hoke for the past five years at both San Diego State and Michigan. In, according to multiple national reporters, is Alabama’s Doug Nussmeier.
That’s right, the Wolverines went out and took away an assistant coach from perhaps the gold standard program in college football, and did it in record time. Even if Nussmeier wasn’t exactly beloved at the moment in Tuscaloosa, the man has a national title ring on his finger from 2012 and helped make A.J. McCarron into a household name. He brings pro-style credentials to Michigan and has coached under John L. Smith, Scott Linehan and Steve Sarkisian, respected offensive minds all.
Urban Meyer has said the Buckeyes need a "home run" hire to replace Withers, and it might be fair to say the stakes have been raised even higher now that Michigan has hit one out of the park with the hiring of Nussmeier.
Sam Webb: Nussmeier the "ideal candidate." Larry Lage at Yahoo! Sports called the hire a "bold move." MLive's Baumgardner on Nussmeier's coaching acumen, and offers instant analysis via video. Buckeye fans at Land Grant Holy Land say they're "not worried." The hire is also dismissed by the folks at Eleven Warriors. MGoBlog celebration thread. TheWolverine.com pay-and-read links on Nussmeier.