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.
The Wolverines have hired Josh Gattis — Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach — to fill the job, per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman and Chris Vannini. The news comes as a shock, not just because it means Harbaugh could cede control of the offense, but because Harbaugh said after Michigan’s Peach Bowl loss that he didn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff.
What has to change is something systemic. There either has to be a greater buy-in within the program to elevate players to a new level, a change in philosophy to use players’ talents more effectively or an uptick in recruiting that injects Michigan with players too good to fail.
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?
When the Wolverines needed their defense at the end of the season, when the stakes were raised, and the opponents were better, the unit wilted. They gave up a program-record 62 points to No. 6 Ohio State and then allowed 41 more to the tenth-ranked Gators on Saturday.