Michigan football is seeing double.
The Wolverines already have two quarterbacks sharing the field and battling for the starting job, and now Michigan has two offensive coordinators calling the plays.
After the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to Miami (FL), the Wolverines’ offensive line coach, Sherrone Moore, and quarterbacks coach, Matt Weiss, were promoted to co-offensive coordinator. This season, they will be running the same system as under Gattis, but will now share the responsibilities of scheming and play calling.
“We’ll be collaborative,” Moore said on Sunday when asked how he and Weiss plan to handle their shared duties. “We have a method to how we’re doing things. We’ve been pretty smooth so far, and it’s just been rolling. The kids have really adjusted and everything’s been good.”
Weiss doubled down on that label — “collaborative” — when he spoke about calling plays.
“I think we work really well together, and we’re very collaborative,” Weiss said. “Sherrone is a great resource for me; I try to be a great resource for him. … We have the same vision, all on one accord.”
That’s easy to say in August, a month before the offense takes the field against an actual opponent. But even with an identical vision, people disagree on decisions at the margin — whether to pass or run, which play to call and even determining the correct on-field personnel.
Who gets the final say? Moore? Weiss? Jim Harbaugh?
In reality, the offense is and always will be run through the eyes and brain of the Michigan coach. There’s no hiding it, and there’s no reason to pretend it isn’t. The vision for the offense is “directly from Coach Harbaugh,” as Weiss put it.
To find out what the offensive concept will be like, simply look to what it’s been in the past.
“If you look at (Harbaugh’s) history of teams and the culture that’s here at Michigan, that’s the vision for the offense,” Weiss said. “I think you could see the evolution of that last year.”
That’s a solid mixture of running and passing. It’s a “50/50” split of run and pass, as Moore put it, to “balance out” the offense. It’s what every coach preaches: Establish the run to advance the passing game. Punish in the passing game to open up the run.
Rinse and repeat.
It’s always great in theory, but much harder to implement on the field. Last season, the Wolverines actually delivered on the concept, averaging 229 yards passing and 214 yards rushing on approximately 13 more rush attempts than pass attempts per game. Those numbers are impressively balanced, laying the blueprint for how Michigan can successfully establish the run going forward.
It was success largely built on the back of Moore’s work with the offensive line, work that opened up Weiss’s ability to get creative through the air. Now, the two are challenged with one of the hardest things to do as a football coach — replicate it.
And do so in their new roles, together.
“I think it’s really a blessing for us to have (two coordinators).” Weiss said. “It’s another Jim Harbaugh stroke of genius. He somehow found a way where he got two while everybody else has one.”
It’s far too early to call the move “genius,” but whether or not the Wolverines will find success this year relies heavily on Weiss and Moore’s ability to work together.
In a few short weeks, that collaboration will be tested on the field for the first time.