When the Michigan football team hired Ed Warinner as an offensive analyst last offseason, it was unclear what his immediate role would be.
Warinner had always been an offensive line coach at Division I programs across the country, but the Wolverines already had an offensive line coach and run-game coordinator in Tim Drevno.
But Drevno left the program for Southern California, and Warinner was promoted to take his place.
“I wanted to be a part of this program, and I knew that I would contribute in whatever role I had,” Warinner said. “And then it came to be, probably a few weeks after I got here, and so there was no promises or anything like that going into it. So I just came here to be a guy to help in any way, shape or form.
“Then when the opportunity presented itself and (coach Jim Harbaugh) said, ‘You’ve got the line,’ of course I was ecstatic about that.”
In hindsight, that move may have made all the difference for Michigan’s offense.
The offensive line, which was under fire all of last season, has improved as this season has gone on. It’s to the point now where that unit may be one of the Wolverines’ strengths.
That was unthinkable in years past.
“I’m really pleased at where they’re at,” Warinner said Wednesday. “So we’re headed in the right direction. We keep getting better and better. I think we’ve grown a lot. I still think there’s some room to squeeze a little more juice out of it, and we’re gonna try to do that.”
The growth of his position group may have shaped how Warinner feels about his experience in general.
He said he expected big things when he came from Ann Arbor — stemming from the beginning of his career when he was at West Point coaching Army and much of the staff there had previously been at Michigan.
Even with that, Warinner says being a part of the Wolverines’ program has exceeded expectations.
“Michigan is what I thought it would be — the University, the athletic department, what (athletic director Warde Manuel has) got going here, what (coach Jim Harbaugh has) got going here,” Warinner said.
“But for me, it’s been better, but it was all gonna be about how much could I impact the group I had, and could they get them where they could help this team play at a championship level? So that’s been very fulfilling. But my expectation was this is a place that’s as good as it gets, and it is as good as it gets.”