Thursday afternoon, the Michigan football team confirmed that it has hired Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to replace former offensive coordinator Al Borges.
BY THE NUMBERS
Former offensive coordinator Al Borges
Borges’ annual salary, among the highest in the nation for an assistant.
Yards per game by the Wolverines this season. 86th in the nation.
Rushing yards by Michigan against Michigan State, a program worst.
Games under Borges that the wolverines failed to reach 300.
“I am extremely excited to join the University of Michigan and work with Brady Hoke, the staff and players,” Nussmeier said in a statement to MGoBlue.com. “I’m proud of what we accomplished in two seasons at Alabama, and I owe a great deal to (Alabama) coach (Nick) Saban for that opportunity. Michigan is a program I’ve always had deep respect for, and I’m looking forward to getting started in Ann Arbor and being a part of the great tradition there.”
Nussmeier will assume the role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Wednesday evening, Football Scoop first reported that Michigan had hired Nussmeier, and ESPN’s Joe Schad also tweeted confirmation.
The news came just five hours after the Wolverines announced that Borges had been fired.
CBS Sports’s Bruce Feldman reported that Nussmeier, 43, will become one of the top-five paid coordinators in college football. That would put his salary at no less than $850,000. Nussmeier made about $680,000 at Alabama. Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is the fourth-highest paid assistant in the nation, earning more than $851,000, while Borges was No. 9, at about $709,000.
The Nussmeier hiring likely signals a continuation of the offensive philosophy favored under Michigan coach Brady Hoke, which features the downhill run game prominently.
The Wolverines’s offense finished the 2013 season ranked 86th, averaging 373.5 yards per game. Michigan ended its year with a 7-6 record that culminated with a 31-14 loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 28.
After the Ohio State game, Hoke told the Detroit News that he anticipated all of the staff returning and did not expect any changes, saying that it was not a “we’ll see situation.” But that changed Wednesday.
“Decisions like these are never easy,” Hoke said in a statement to the Athletic Department. “I have a great amount of respect for Al as a football coach and, more importantly, as a person. I appreciate everything he has done for Michigan football for the past three seasons.”
Borges worked as an offensive coordinator under Hoke for two years at San Diego State before following Hoke to Ann Arbor in 2011.
Borges spent much of this past season under scrutiny for his play calling — Michigan’s ground game was frequently stifled due to a youthful offensive line, and redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner often struggled under pressure in the pocket.
The Wolverines’s worst offensive performance of the season came against Michigan State on Nov. 2, where they garnered minus-48 yards rushing and just 168 yards of total offense. Michigan rushed for a negative amount the following week against Nebraska as well.
In Nussmeier’s two years at Alabama, the Crimson Tide went 24-3, including a 41-14 demolition of Michigan in his first game on the job. His scheme and playcalling tended to be less conservative than Saban’s previous offenses in Tuscaloosa.
In 2013, Alabama’s offense was 17th nationally in scoring, 25th in rushing, 48th in passing and 33rd in total offense. The Crimson Tide had a much bigger talent pool, but playing against top-tier SEC opponents, all of those numbers outranked Michigan’s production this season.