The Michigan Wolverines had a good day on Thursday, bringing in a new assistant coach that may be able to help the team improve on the offensive side of the ball.
Alabama co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Josh Gattis is Michigan’s new offensive coordinator.
Josh Gattis is expected to call plays at #Michigan as Wolverines new OC. https://t.co/cHmEkhuHPT— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 10, 2019
But what does the hire mean exactly?
The first of which is what Feldman is reporting, that Gattis is expected to call plays at Michigan. That isn’t a surprise after getting the title of ‘offensive coordinator’, but how much of the play calling Gattis will be responsible for remains to be seen.
A good recruiter
Gattis is only 34 years of age and has been an excellent recruiter for Alabama. In 2019, Gattis was ranked as the No. 23 best recruiter for the 2019 class according to 247 Sports. Beyond the X’s and O’s Gattis has shown an ability to connect with young athletes and fire them up enough to join his program. Michigan will improve its recruiting prowess with Gattis in the fold.
Can coach up wideouts well
Gattis coached Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy, who hauled in 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. Alabama also had five receivers with 40 or more receptions and 600 or more yards. Those are good numbers to have on a resume.
New blood may be good for the offense
There are two trains of thought on this, the first being that continuity on offense would be better and the offense wasn’t far off from flourishing in 2018. The other train of thought is that Gattis will bring in a fresh perspective for Michigan. Beyond calling plays, Gattis will have his own ideas, his own input.
And maybe, just maybe, Gattis will be a fiery yet trusted ally of Jim Harbaugh’s that will push Harbaugh and himself in the process. Maybe they can bump chests in a positive way in the name of improving the team.
Will we see more of the RPO, pistol, and spread with Gattis in the fold?
Passing offense success
Alabama’s offense fared well under Gattis’ guidance, finishing No. 3 in scoring offense (45.6 points per game), No. 6 in total offense (522 yards per game), and the passing offense finished No. 6 in the nation (323.6 yards per game).
“The offense and passing games under Josh’s direction have achieved at a very high level throughout his coaching career,” Jim Harbaugh said.
Those were the first words in Harbaugh’s initial statement about the hire, and there’s likely a reason he mentioned the passing game first. Gattis was brought to Michigan, in part, to take the passing game to the next level, to let it do what I’ve suggested it do... LET IT RIP.
What about Pep?
Michigan assistant head coach and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton is still under contract for two more seasons. It’s hard telling what his future holds one way or the other. Hamilton is the highest paid assistant coach in college football and it’ll be interesting to see how he and Gattis co-exist, or if they even coach together at all.
If Hamilton does stay, how much playcalling will he cede to Gattis? How much input does he have compared to Gattis going forward? It’s a collaborative process, sure, it’s a coaching staff for a reason and not a dictatorship, but it’s reasonable to wonder how the Gattis hire impacts Hamilton.
Changes the ‘sky is falling’ narratives
With both defensive line coach Greg Mattison and linebackers coach Al Washington joining the Ohio State staff, Twitter became a place where people freaked out and thought something terribly wrong was going on in Ann Arbor. The Gattis hire proves things are just fine at Michigan and Harbaugh still can hire just about any high profile coach he wants. The Gattis’ hire could even lead to excellent assistant defensive coaches being hired to replace Washington and Mattison, because the candidates know after the Gattis hire that the machine is running just fine at Michigan.