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Harbaugh Says 'Huge Change' Coming To Michigan Offense In 2019

Sounds like Josh Gattis is already making his mark. 

March 18, 2019 - 5:00 pm
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After four years of mixed results running Michigan's offense, Jim Harbaugh is prepared to move in a new direction in 2019. A couple new directions, in fact. 

For one, he's handing over control of the operation to his new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. For another, that operation is going to run much more swiftly. 

That's the plan heading into spring practice, at least. Harbaugh told reporters on Monday to expect an up-tempo offense moving forward. 

"The tempo is a huge change," he said, via ESPN.com. "From huddling to not huddling, that's big. I like it. It's got more of an attacking feel to the offense in terms of tempo and in terms of going downfield in the passing game."

It echoes something Gattis said this winter, that a "completely brand-new offense" is coming in 2019. He's spent much of this offseason hyping up the possibilites for the Wolverines with the hashtag "#SpeedInSpace" on Twitter. 

Harbaugh hired Gattis away from Alabama, where last year he served as co-offensive coordinator.

Gattis will call plays in 2019, Harbaugh confirmed on Monday. Harbaugh was Michigan's primary play-caller each of the last four seasons, when the Wolverines never finished higher than 50th in the country in total offense.

In Gattis' lone season at Alabama, the Crimson tide ranked sixth in total offense and passing offense. They ranked 91st in passing offense the year prior to Gattis' hire. Safe to say he knows how to open things up through the air. 

Michigan returns a number of weapons in its passing attack, including quarterback Shea Patterson and wide receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Nico Collins. 

"To Josh's credit, he's done a phenomenal job of coming in and looking at our personnel and what we did well with the run and pass game and protections and making it cohesive with his system," Harbaugh said, via the Free Press. "It's blended really good. The coaches have done a great job of making that happen."

Harbaugh said he jumped at the chance to hire Gattis, 35, when he sensed he was available, having followed his career for a number of years. And Harbaugh's excited to watch him shake things up on offense. 

"The biggest difference people will see will be the tempo," he reiterated. "It's more up-tempo, less huddle. I think that'd be No. 1."

Harbaugh on Monday also touched on the defection of former defensive line coach Greg Mattison to Ohio State, where he will serve as defensive coordinator under first-year head coach Ryan Day. He wasn't "shocked" by the news, Harbaugh said, but he admitted he was "surprised."

“Coaching-wise he wanted to be a coordinator again. Darn near doubled his salary. I don’t hold that against him," he said. “We’re not going to be sending each other Christmas cards based on where he went. That’s how I feel and understand it.

"Still a good man. Still have a ton of respect for him, and we’ll be friends again someday when we’re done coaching."