Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is embracing change on the offensive side of the football.
Two major factors have led to the switch in philosophy and schematics, those two being the personnel at quarterback and the hiring of new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, who specializes in up tempo and no huddle out of the spread.
Michigan’s quarterback room is as athletic and fast as it’s ever been during Harbaugh’s tenure at U-M, with the likes of Shea Patterson, Dylan McCaffrey, Joe Milton, and Cade McNamara all having above average speed along with prior experience playing in no-huddle/spread offenses.
“What made me want to commit to that was really the quarterback position of quarterbacks Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey. Their explosive ability to throw and run, both, they’re used to that,” Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Days. “Shea was used to that, found that Shea was really better in the shotgun. After being with him for the first season, we went more to it as the season went on last year. Also, Dylan’s ability to get out and go and run. There’s a tremendous running ability there that he has. I think Shea’s really comfortable in that up tempo, no huddle offense and things spread out just a little bit more helps, helps those two quarterbacks.”
Along with the QB’s being comfortable in the offense, Harbaugh’s decision to hire Gattis has led to the shift being implemented in a way that he deems “the best”.
“Opportunity presented itself to hire him and was decisive in doing that because they felt like he would be, he could be the person that could coach that system the best, knew that system the best,” Harbaugh said. “And it’s been a great learning experience for me, learning some of those ways. And our coaching staff is at the point now where they know it, and everybody’s working really well together.”
Michigan’s new scheme will likely shape how they recruit at the quarterback position for years to come. Look for Harbaugh and Co. to go after speedy quarterbacks that have familiarity in an up-tempo attack that have the ability to handle the duties of an RPO heavy offense.
“Not only Shea and Dylan, are really good and suited for it. I’d say Joe, Joe Milton as well, and Cade McNamara, and most quarterbacks are coming out of that type of system.”