the Michigan Wolverines She was so close to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat TCU In the Fiesta Ball. The 143’s have been Michigan’s best team since the 1997 lineup and are arguably one of the top three teams in program history. But in the end, the 2022 season suffered the same fate as the 2006, 2016 and 2021 teams.
Aside from the obvious self-wound cleaning improvements, how does this team continue to evolve and finally reach the next level? For now, let’s focus on the offensive side of football, otherwise this could turn into a 5,000-word essay as I slowly sink deeper into the madness as I argue the nuances of defensive line style.
Michigan’s rushing attack was deadly. Two-headed monster running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards combined for 2,454 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. The Wolverines have a clear football playing identity, and that will never go away as long as Jim Harbaugh is the head coach of that team (please stay).
However, in order to improve on this offensive unit, the Wolverines must become a more fluent, consistent, and effective passing offense. Quarterback JJ McCarthy has improved every week during his freshman year as a starter and in order to accelerate his development in 2023, Michigan must bring in a passing game coordinator (PGC).
Offensive coordinators Sherwin Moore and Matt Weiss have coexisted exceptionally well this season as double play players and produced a top-five rushing offense and a best-six scoring offense. But the traffic offense lagged behind at 83rd in the country.
Statistical rankings aside, Michigan’s offense often felt like passing and nothing was as smooth as it should be — just compare Michigan and Georgia’s recent offensive possessions in the college football matchup.
Given that both Moore and Weiss came from a run first, ask questions later coaching style, the PGC flow can inject the creativity and play determination needed to help balance and elevate this offense into a more complete unit. The clearest example of this is when LSU They hired Joe Brady as their passing play coordinator and co-receiver coach in 2019. Brady helped marshal the most dynamic passing offense in college football history and took quarterback Joe Burrow from middle selection to the Heisman Trophy.
Harbaugh doesn’t need someone to do it, but he does need to hire someone who understands supplemental football and the identity of his team. And it just so happens that the specified person is looking for a job.
David Shaw resigned as head coach of Stanford at the end of November after consecutive 3-9 campaigns. He succeeded Shaw Harbaugh at Stanford in 2011 and became the all-time winningest coach at his alma mater, compiling a career record of 96-54 during his tenure.
In 2006, Harpo hired Shaw as the PGC and receivers coach at the University of San Diego. The Toreros went 11-1 and Harbaugh left the following year to take the job in Stanford’s dormant 1-11 program. Harbaugh was so impressed with Shaw’s coaching that he brought him to Stanford and promoted him to offensive coordinator.
The Cardinals improved every year under Harbaugh: 4-8, 5-7, 8-5, and 12-1 in his final season in 2010. The biggest jump in improvement came when Stanford’s defense finally reached respect and when the offense evolved into a more balanced offense .
In 2009, Stanford’s rushing offense ranked No. 11 nationally (218 yards per game), while its passing offense ranked No. 70 (209 yards per game). The following year, the rushing offense fell slightly to No. 17 (214 yards per game), but the passing offense jumped to No. 29 (258 yards per game).
Shaw has developed and refined an identity based on physicality, but one that can be equally dominant in the air.
The Harbaugh-Shaw connection is still alive and well throughout these later years. At his resignation press conference, Shaw Referred to What he and Harbaugh started at Stanford in 2007: “I appreciate Jim Harbaugh and the original staff. We started something that has really lasted.”
Harbaugh has found his man to lead the defense in Jesse Minter, and now he needs to balance his offense. Shaw would not be expected to come to Michigan and call plays or usurp responsibilities from Weiss or Moore; He just needs to design a passing offense to put coordinators and players in the best position for success.
There are really a few familiar faces on Michigan’s roster to make Shaw feel at home. There’s Harbaugh, obviously, but also 2022 Stanford captain and Drake Nugent, along with left tackle Myles Hinton, already transferred to Ann Arbor for the 2023 season.
Shaw and Harbaugh started something special at Stanford – it’s only right that they finished it together at Michigan.