Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has made a lateral move to become the next offensive coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes on Mario Cristobal’s staff. With Gattis’ abrupt departure, the focus now turns to who will replace him.
The good news for Michigan is they have a talented staff on the offensive side of the ball already with solid internal options.
Moore, Michigan’s offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator, was a major help to Gattis and Michigan’s offense in 2021. The Michigan offensive line had its best year yet during the Harbaugh era, and the offensive line won the Joe Moore Award, which goes to the best offensive line in the nation.
“I’m not gonna change,” Moore said about his coaching style back in September. “The first thing I told them is that for us to be successful as a team, it starts with us. We’ve gotta run the team in every aspect, every shape, and form. Every good team I’ve been around, it’s the offensive line that’s controlled the team. Really, that’s the first thing that I said and then let them know, I’m gonna coach you hard, but I’m gonna love you harder.”
While Gattis won the Broyles Award in December, which goes to the top assistant coach in the nation, Moore’s presence as co-offensive coordinator was a great help to Gattis and the Michigan offense. His fingerprints were all over the success of the o-line and the offense as a whole.
“He’s been such an important piece to our staff. He knows our system. He’s very, very smart. Having him serve as offensive line coach and co-coordinator, it’s a huge addition for us,” Gattis said about Moore in August. “I’m excited for him. I’m his biggest advocate and our biggest fan. Like I said, there was one person, when I accepted this job, the first person I called was coach Moore because we’ve been the best of friends for a long time. I couldn’t be more excited that we were able to retain him on the staff and keep him here.”
Moore’s well liked in the Michigan locker room, he’s hungry to keep ascending in the profession, and he’s destined to be a head coach in the near future if his trajectory continues to follow the path it has to this point. A natural leader, very smart, with tons of energy, Moore becoming offensive coordinator seems like an obvious bet at this point. However, he could remain co-offensive coordinator with someone else replacing Gattis.
Michigan quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss was a graduate assistant at Stanford from 2005-08 when Jim Harbaugh was the head coach there. From there Weiss joined the Baltimore Ravens, where he ultimately became running backs coach and quarterbacks coach, on top of that Weiss was hands on in the Ravens analytics department.
“We have a great relationship from our time together at Stanford and he brings a great deal of experience coaching all three phases of the game in addition to his strength in the area of analytics and game strategy,” Harbaugh said when Weiss was hired. “He is a great teacher and will be an excellent role model for our student-athletes.”
Weiss was hands-on teaching Michigan’s quarterbacks this past season, and he was around Jim Harbaugh a lot, as Harbaugh was in the quarterbacks room aplenty. Weiss is trusted by Harbaugh and Weiss is someone who has a firm grasp of how to attack the vulnerabilities of opposing defenses. Weiss knows how to put a game-plan together.
“You want diversity and people think of diversity and you want diversity of background in race and all those things. Which is great, and we have that here, and it’s valuable,” Weiss said in April. “You also want diversity of thought. That’s really important in any successful team. So right now, I’m really trying to master this offense and hopefully I’ll contribute ideas where I can. But I’m here to coach in this offense.”
Weiss is a rising star in the coaching profession, and if he was named co-offensive coordinator it would be a move that makes sense and would be a positive for Michigan.
Running backs coach Mike Hart received rave reviews from Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum, and Michigan had one of the best rushing attacks in all of college football. Further, Hart worked extensively with true freshman Donovan Edwards, getting him game-ready, and it’s clear his coaching greatly aided the young Edwards during his first year as a college player.
While Hart has shown he’s a solid college coach and asset on the recruiting trail, it remains to be seen whether he’ll make the leap from being a position coach to being a play-caller and being firmly entrenched into the gameplan of an offense.
Weiss and Moore both have experience that Hart simply doesn’t. However, Hart is clearly yet another rising star on Michigan’s staff and should receive consideration. Speculation is Hart is in line for an added title of associate head coach and running-game coordinator. Finally, Hart is the type of coach that could receive a job offer as a running backs coach in the NFL. Whether he’d leave his alma-mater for such a gig remains to be seen.
Gattis leaving the Michigan program was abrupt, but there’s really no cause for panic from Michigan’s perspective. Jim Harbaugh put together a solid staff with options in case something like this was to ever happen. Gattis was interested in Virginia’s head coaching vacancy back in December, the possibility of Gattis moving on has been there ever since, and now he has. Gattis’ coaching job in 2021 is to be commended, he was worthy of the Broyles Award, but assistants such as Moore, Weiss, and Hart all aided Gattis greatly and will be able to help Michigan with Gattis no longer in the picture. Losing an offensive coordinator is never ‘good news’, but in this case, Michigan should survive, and still thrive in the days to come.
Michigan has a talented offense with a plethora of returning weapons such as Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards, Erick All, Ronnie Bell, Mike Sainristil, Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, A.J. Henning, and more. Whoever is Michigan’s offensive coordinator in 2022, they’ll have a lot of talent to work with.