The 2017 Michigan football team’s offensive woes were no secret.
Watch footage of the Wolverines and it becomes apparent almost immediately. Michigan’s pass offense had the fourth-fewest yards per game and total passing touchdowns in the Big Ten, an amalgam of a porous line and indecisive quarterback play. The shiftiness of Karan Higdon and Chris Evans were a band-aid as the run game averaged 177.7 yards per game.
For a 2018 season already littered with sky-high expectations, Michigan has reportedly hired Minnesota offensive line coach and run game coordinator Ed Warinner to shore up a weak offensive line — one that is also losing its most consistent talent in left tackle Mason Cole.
Football Scoop broke the news of Warinner’s hire on Saturday, a report that was quickly met with speculation on social media. The following day, Football Scoop reported that Warinner was a strong candidate to join forces with new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel — the pair coached together at Ohio State — and no longer considered for the Wolverines’ opening.
As of the publishing of this story, Warinner’s Twitter profile appears to have put these rumors to bed, despite no official statement. His profile picture and cover photo display the Block ‘M’ and a portrait of Michigan Stadium, and his biography reads “University of Michigan.”
Under Warinner last season, the Golden Gophers’ run game finished third in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (182.4), led by Rodney Smith. In his previous coaching stint at Ohio State as an offensive coordinator, the Buckeyes’ rushing attack finished in the top 15 nationally in every season of his five-year tenure there.
Warinner’s official title and job responsibilities have not been released yet. Currently, all 10 of the Wolverines’ available coaching positions are filled, which would relegate Warinner to an analyst role — that title limits him from coaching on-field or participating in recruitment efforts.
A coaching position may be opening soon, though. Dan Enos — who was reported to have joined Michigan’s staff as a wide receivers coach on Jan. 10 — is expected to become an associate coach and quarterbacks coach at Alabama, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.
Enos was initially hired away as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator and would have been tasked with developing a young wide receiver core that played to their inexperience in 2017. Junior Grant Perry and freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones led the Wolverines’ receivers with 307 and 277 receiving yards, respectively.
Michigan will have its work cut out to improve on a disappointing 8-5 season, but it’ll have to figure out its coaching staff first if it hopes to take that next step.