There aren’t any major takeaways from viewing one collegiate football practice in the month of April, but at the same time this isn’t just another April for Michigan football.
There’s a new offensive coordinator. A new offense. A new quarterbacks coach.
During a large chunk of Michigan’s Spring Game, the team scrimmaged against one another with referees taking part in the festivities.
By the time the practice session ended, it became obvious as to what direction this offense is headed.
The tempo is for real
The Michigan offense did not huddle up, routinely getting the ball snapped with around 25 seconds left on the play-clock.
In the new system, signs with random pictures are used to get the play calls in quickly, everything from food items to professional sports teams were featured on these signs. Some signs may seem silly but they’re meant to be so players can remember what the signs and sequence of them mean.
Not to give the scouting report away, but brownies and brisket appear to be terminology in the Josh Gattis playbook. pic.twitter.com/XPgBwBQvmu— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) April 13, 2019
Michigan may still chew clock here and there, but now they have the ability to change the pace, and now they can dictate the pace. What makes a no huddle offense so lethal is to keep a defense on their toes and sharp every second they’re on the field. If a defense is out of position schematically, or momentarily confused mentally, an up-tempo offense can do serious damage to the opposition, and that’s what Michigan aims to do in 2019.
If the offense is productive, they have a much better chance of overcoming a multi-score deficit late in the game by virtue of being able to run plays quick and potentially score swiftly utilizing the no-huddle.
#SpeedInSpace appears to be an accurate offensive slogan
Josh Gattis has been saying ‘Speed In Space’ ever since he set foot in Ann Arbor, but now we have a real good idea of how the schematics are going to shake out.
At the Spring Game, quarterbacks Shea Patterson, Dylan McCaffrey, and Joe Milton all took their snaps out of the shotgun and pistol. the RPO was used quite a few times, and all three QB’s were allowed to let it rip down the field.
There was a steady dose of deep passes during this windy scrimmage, and while not all of them found their target to net a completion, it looks like there’s now a willingness to be aggressive and let quarterbacks take deep shots.
Along with the deep passes, there were a lot of crossing patterns that can also be deadly and maximize the speed Michigan’s wideouts have in space.
We also saw jet sweeps, QB’s running with the football, and outside runs, all three of which should occur more in 2019.
The new Michigan offensive scheme may be put together, but the players still have a long way to go before it’s a finished product, and that’s precisely why there are spring practices to begin with. As weeks and months go by, players will come to understand the offense better and that will become evident by the way they practice.
What bodes well for the Michigan offense to become a cohesive one is how players have said the terminology is simpler than the 2018 offense. Understanding the terminology can become a major roadblock that stalls growth in an offense, but it looks like Gattis and Co. are doing everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Who knows what the ultimate fate of the 2019 season for Michigan will be, but on a Saturday in April, the Michigan Wolverines offense looked like one that will be fun to watch, win or lose.