His hiring comes with the clear subtext of a sea change in Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan. Gattis, touting his mantra “Speed In Space” at every turn, brings apparent philosophical differences to Harbaugh’s traditional West Coach offense. While it remains to be seen how profoundly different the offense will look next season, it’s no small matter that Harbaugh appears willing to cede the keys to the offense.
Friday morning, Wilton Speight stood tall in the back of Schembechler Hall as little more than an afterthought.
This day was about Rashan Gary, who held firm on his claim that he’s the best player in the draft. It was about Devin Bush, who reflected on freak-ish combine numbers and rising draft stock. It was about Chase Winovich, who bid adieu to Michigan and, he hopes, his reputation as “that try-hard white guy.” And yet, Speight’s cameo appearance was an inherent, incongruent end, once and for all.
Coming off a 2017 season handicapped by poor quarterback play — one which ended with John O’Korn in tears sitting at the podium after the Ohio State game — even average quarterback play would have sufficed.
In 2018, Shea Patterson cleared that low bar with room to spare.
Maddie Mariani stood tall, took a breath and composed herself. Then the freshman sped down the runway, gracefully launching herself over the vault, landing cleanly on the mat. She was then mobbed by her coaches and teammates.
The scoreboard flashed a solid 9.825.
For Mariana and her teammates it was a moment of exhalation, energy and, for the first time in over a week, normalcy.
The hiring of former Alabama co-offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to become the offensive coordinator (yes, the sole offensive coordinator) at Michigan on Thursday is the latest and most discernible proof of Harbaugh’s willingness to evolve.
Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison has accepted a job to join the staff at Ohio State, as first reported by the Wolverines Wire. And for Harbaugh and Michigan, an offseason already sure to be rife with questions just reached a fever pitch.
“Next year, we’re not going to try to go backwards,” Winovich said, speaking of the program he’s now leaving. While Winovich might be correct that regression seems unlikely, the Harbaugh era has become increasingly defined by one question: Is progression really any more likely?
ATLANTA — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh could do nothing but stand behind to the 20-yard line, hands on his knees, body hunched over, stride widened. When running back Lamical Perine took a screen pass five yards, crossing the end zone untouched to extend Florida’s lead to 20-10, the fourth-year head coach stood up, crossed his legs and moved his hands to his hips. No yelling. No outward animosity.