In a tandem piece to coincide with defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Sherrone Moore joined Jon Jansen on In the Trenches to talk at length about Michigan’s offense.
With heavy themes of dynamic playmakers and depth, Moore painted the picture quite eloquently of the upcoming 2023 season for Michigan football. With an array of talent at each positional group on the offense, there was no shortage of players he could call upon to demonstrate the strength, power, and depth that the Wolverines have attained.
Moore described coming to the program in his first year, having had minimal experience leading the offensive line, but head coach Jim Harbaugh had his full confidence in him. “My first year, coach [Harbaugh] hired someone who never coached the offensive line. When I took over, it took time to build rapport and know that I could do it.” he said.
He knew that working hard was necessary for the recruiting trail and for talent retention, because he knew other schools were using that against him. So Moore did as he said, and now the Wolverines have been the recipient of the Joe Moore award for two years running.
Now that has become the standard in the Wolverine locker room. “Not winning the award but standard level of play,” Moore clarified, “We have raised the standard, raised the bar to the Michigan offensive lines of old. That was one of my goals when I got here.”
An embarrassment of riches
When it comes to the starters and the guys vying for spots, it came up quite often that the talented players the Wolverines possess are worthy of the start anywhere in the country. Moore emphasized that, but the culture that Michigan has built is something the players have all bought in to. They recognize that if they want to make those starting lineups, they are going to have to work extra hard. “We built the culture in the room they want to be a part of, but credit to the players and the standards they hold themselves to,” Moore said.
In terms of the offensive line, that is a major component. There is talent and depth at each position, so they hold each other accountable, while recognizing that they all have what it takes to start. “We feel both groups are ones, whether you line with the first group or second, you are all starters and you have to set yourself up like that,” Moore explained.
Though not too much detail was revealed on starters, it calls for a lot of fun and consideration for the players and Moore alike. “It’s a tight competition. Fall camp is going to be super fun. It’s up in the air now, but we have four five dudes who can start and I am excited to see how the pieces fall.” Moore shared.
The tight ends share in the wealth as well. There’s no shortage of who can stand in, from transfers to guys like Colston Loveland. Though one key piece Moore mentioned was that each tight end has a unique skill set, which leads to really exciting prospects for him when it comes to shaping Michigan’s offense.
Moving outward to the wide receivers, Michigan retained a few of their studs in Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson. The coaches have seen the potential in their newest additions, but also the emergence of those who have been around the program for a few years, like Peyton O’Leary. “They have potential to be as good as any group in the country, the young guys are super dynamic and exciting. There are areas to be fixed, like where to exploit defenses more, but that’s something they work on. They see that with more consistency, they have more confidence.” Moore said.
Moore transitioned then transitions to the running backs, which have become a staple in Michigan’s offenses. Equal talent exchanges year in and year out, but the Wolverines have two extraordinary backs this year. With two elite running backs in Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum, Moore knows how special they are and how to utilize their different skill sets to help Michigan achieve success.
“Cool thing is there are a bunch of puzzle pieces to make this masterpiece of what we want this offense to look like,” he explained, “We have creative things we are doing with those guys but being smart in how and why we are doing it.” He continued, “Sky’s the limit, these guys are special. The little things these guys do, little cuts, little moves, running over guys, the ball skills they have, they are elite. Even better leaders and workers, just outstanding individuals.”
Then Moore concludes with the final piece of the puzzle, quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Moore shared that a main thing he has seen in McCarthy going into his second year as the starter is the confidence he holds. “He was always quiet-confident, but you can see it now when he walks around. From how he approaches the film room, to how he walks on field, looks out the huddle, he looks dynamic. As a leader he has taken that ownership,” Moore said. “Everything looks comfortable and he looks like he is in a video game sometimes,” he added.