After the announcement yesterday by Derrick Green I started to wonder which Michigan team, if any, the offense next year would look like when it hit the field next September. After reviewing the squads starting last year and going back to when time began in 1969, I believe there was a team (pictured above) who we can look to for a "sneak peak" of what we can expect in 2013. Step inside Mr Peabody's "wayback machine" for a glimpse of our offense next year - provided by Team 121 - your 2000 Michigan Wolverines.
Coached by Lloyd Carr, this Michigan team was led by Drew Henson, a heavily recruited 5 star QB who grew up in Michigan entering his Junior Year - just like we will have under center in 2013 with Devin Gardner. Henson, like Gardner, had seen the field his first two years and based on his prior year's performance and high school hype - much was expected from Henson leading into year three. Henson, like Gardner, was mobile with a strong arm and seemed to know when to leave the pocket and run. If you watch any game film from that year you're sure to see Henson play-action fake and roll, just as we did many times this year (and I'm sure next year too) with Gardner. Henson was tall 6'4 (Gardner is 6'5") and other than one being left handed and one being right their style of play is remarkably similar in almost every sense.
The offense in 2000 ran predominately out a single back set with two TE's - just as we've been told we're planning on running out of in 2013 as well. While we'll have to see if Funchess + ? can equal Joppru & Ecker we can be pretty confident they will be a big part of the offense in 2013. Running duties were handled mostly by Anthony "A-Train" Thomas who was a bruising power back with good, but not Wheatley-level great, straight line acceleration - which is very similar to how Derrick Green's running style has been described. The offensive line was anchored back then by 5th year All American senior tackle Jeff Backus who provided much the same level of line leadership and talent we expect from Taylor Lewan in 2013. The comparison pales a bit at wide receiver I must admit as we'll be hard pressed to get the same level of production out of Gallon and Dileo that Michigan enjoyed from Marquise Walker & David Terrell but there is always a chance they could pleasantly surprise. My guess is they'll be more open than they've been in the past if for no other reason than the offensive will be more diverse than it has been in the past few years with scoring threats coming from positions other than QB.
Coaching the offensive in 2000 was Stan Parrish, a first year OC whose base sets and play calling are remarkably similar to that of Al Borges. Ironically, Parrish left Michigan to become Hoke's QB coach at Ball State and eventually replaced Brady when he left for SDSU. Rounding out that side of the ball's staff was Terry Malone, Erik Cambell and of course - Fred Jackson. Again, this team favored single back, two TE sets with heavy play action calls and lots of deep horizontal routes from the wide outs. The offense was explosive and averaged over 27 points per game scoring 20 (a game in which Henson was hurt and unable to play), 31 and 51 respectfully in their three losses.
Looking backward to see the future of Michigan football. I think I may have found it - 13 years ago.