The Michigan Wolverines had a polar opposite performance offensively in the loss to Michigan State from the creative and balanced output that we saw in the first week against Minnesota. It was certainly apparent that preparation and gameplanning was an issue last week, which is now backed up from the offensive coordinator himself.
Josh Gattis was on the radio with 97.1 FM in the Detroit area on Tuesday morning and shared with hosts Michael Stone and Jon Jansen and said the inexperience of the young group showed up in the loss, as well as a shorter time to prepare compared to the season opener.
“The challenge for our guys on offense is we’ve got a lot of inexperienced players,” Gattis said. “A lot of first-time players. They have got to be able to handle success and prepare in three or four days for their next opponent in a normal game week.
“I did not think our preparation was up to par, or it was up to the standard that we needed it to be. And that falls on me.”
A shining example of that inexperience came on the two-minute drive at the end of the game — which actually wound up being almost five minutes off the clock — that would derail the team’s chance of getting back into a two-score game.
“That two-minute drive was obviously disappointing on our end,” Gattis said. “It took 18 plays and almost five minutes. I think it was a learning lesson for our offense because we take tremendous pride in being prepared in situational football. We do two-minute, I believe, more than anyone in the country.
“Whenever you’re in a two-minute scenario you’re battling against the clock, so you gotta do a great job of getting first downs but also getting out of bounds. That was a teaching moment.”
Among one of the biggest gripes from the game was things that went wrong in the redzone with the wildcat formation and taking quarterback Joe Milton off the field to execute it. Gattis was also asked to address what happened there.
“The (first play) we ran the previous week out of the same formation,” Gattis said. “We just had a mental mistake by a blocker up front. If not, it would have been a walk-in score just like it was from the same down-and-distance the week before.
“The second play, obviously in any type of situation as a play-caller, any time you use some type of trick play, it’s genius when it works and it’s dumb of you when it doesn’t. The play was open. There’s no blame to go there. That’s on me. That’s a critical call in a critical situation. I accept the results.”
Of the plays that Michigan ran on Saturday, 13 of them went for no gain or negative yardage altogether that put the offense off schedule right off the bat. Despite Michigan State being ready for what the Wolverines threw at them, Michigan was not able to adjust much throughout the contest.
“That’s my job as coordinator, to make sure that we’re getting the very best out of our young men, and we’re demanding the very best,” Gattis said. “I have to do the best job of putting them in positions to be successful.”
Gattis said in the interview that the team is working towards a renewed focus towards rallying from the loss on Saturday and that they will attempt to put this one behind them.
“It’s a new day with a new opportunity we’ve got this week,” Gattis said. “We’ve got to kind of rally the troops. Obviously there’s a feeling of disappointment around the program. It’s not anything that we accept or settle with.
“We’ve just got to continue to find ways to get this next one.”