A new era begins at Michigan Stadium on Saturday night for the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh, who has been known as being a stubborn coach to change, will hand the keys over to Josh Gattis to run the offense. Gattis is reinventing this offense and Michigan is going to look nothing like their old school offensive scheme.
Harbaugh was running the same system he was at Stanford, and in this new fast paced era of college football, his archaic offense was not working well. Especially with a quarterback like Shea Patterson. He isn’t designed to play in a pro-style system. Allow Patterson to spread the ball around and run a bit then his full potential begins to be reached.
Gattis served as co-offensive coordinator and wide receive coach at Alabama and we watched what they did with Tua last season. Michigan is going to run a similar offense. Think Alabama and Ohio State. They’re still going to run the ball, but Patterson is going to have way more freedom to improvise in the spread.
And that’s exactly what made him a good quarterback at Ole Miss. He was able to use his legs instead of just lining up under center and handing the ball off. Expect to see Shea in the shotgun way more than Michigan fans are used to. Michigan have a lot of talent offensively, but they just haven’t been able to get the most out of it. With Gattis running the show, look for a fun offense out of Ann Arbor in 2019. Gattis will unlock Patterson’s potential.
There is a lot of pressure on Harbaugh to win this season. They are the favorites to win the Big Ten and anything less than a conference championship is going to put Harbaugh on a really warm hot seat. He knows it and that’s what prompted him to look elsewhere for help with his offense. If the offense performs how they should, the rest should fill in for Michigan.
There is nothing wrong defensively, so an elite offense puts them in playoff territory. They will look to avoid a letdown in the season opener against an inferior team out of Conference USA, Middle Tennessee. Head below for our free Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan pick.
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Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan Pick:
This matchup will be about getting into a groove and putting things together against Middle Tennessee. Patterson enters this season as a dark horse Heisman candidate. If everything goes according to plan, he might at least get invited to the Heisman presentation as an outsider. There will be no more huddle in the Michigan offense. Instead Patterson will get signals from the sideline out of the spread formation. It’s the same thing that Patterson did at Ole Miss.
The wide receivers are a talented group. Injuries have just killed them the last couple of years, though. Most notably, Tarik Black, has been unable to play a full season. Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones should combine, if they stay healthy, can be a force for Michigan. Ronnie Bell has had an excellent spring and summer as well, so keep an eye on the sophomore making an impact as well. Their offense line remains largely in-tact, with right tackle the only position they had to replace.
With a new Michigan offense instituted, it’s not realistic to compare them to the 2018 version and any other Harbaugh offense. This will be the first time in Harbaugh’s career that he has primarily gone with a no-huddle look. The offense will be good with talent returning. Although, the defense does lose talent, including Devin Bush, who is already turning heads for the Steelers. Michigan will be reloading with future pros, though, so they should be fine defensively.
They get to test their defense against a Middle Tennessee team who are going with a new quarterback after losing Brent Stockstill. MTSU hasn’t been so sure who they are going to go with to replace Stockstill in Week 1. They have Chase Cunningham and Asher O’Hara is the likely options.
Cunningham threw for one pass last season, while O’Hara wasn’t recruited out of high school to play for a D1 school. O’Hara passed for 114 yards with no touchdowns and an interception in 2018. I don’t see this working under the lights in the Big House against Michigan.
Look for Michigan to name the score here, as they exploit an offense in the middle of a gunfight with no gun. The new look Michigan offense get going fast with 50 or so points in the opener. A 52-10 win for Michigan looks doable. 34.5 is a big number, but it shouldn’t matter here.