Hello: Josh Gattis, Apparent Offensive Coordinator Comment Count

Brian January 10th, 2019 at 3:39 PM

Per Chris Vannini, Michigan's filled a hole they don't appear to have:

Michigan: Alabama co-offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach Josh Gattis will be named offensive coordinator at Michigan, people with direct knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic’s Chris Vannini and Bruce Feldman. Gattis spent one year at Alabama and previously worked at Penn State. At Alabama, Gattis directed one of the top wide receiver groups in college football.

Compounding the oddity here is that Maryland hired him three hours ago.

Gattis is a 34-year-old who played safety at Wake Forest and had a cup of coffee in the NFL after being drafted in the fifth round. Before Alabama hired him away to be the WR coach and co-offensive coordinator—whatever that means—he'd been James Franklin's WR coach at both Vandy and PSU. Mike Locksley, the other co-OC, took the Maryland job and was apparently set to bring Gattis along before this abrupt about-face.

[After THE JUMP: I'm just warning you there is a picture of Allen Robinson but now we can feel good about it!]

Saban on Gattis, FWIW:

“Josh is a very, very good coach,” Nick Saban said in October “He’s a very bright guy. He has been in some good systems. He has a good understanding of the big picture offensively. He’s very technical in terms of how he coaches and teaches his players and he’s got a really good personality.

“He can confront guys when they are not doing things the way they are supposed to do them, and I think that has created a lot of consistency in our receivers and improved their toughness. We have some good players and he has got them playing well.”

Pros: Gattis is highly sought, having bounced from PSU to Alabama and then getting intercepted beforehand. PSU's WR corps was excellent for the duration of his tenure…


[Bryan Fuller]

…and dropped off significantly after he left. The Alabama WRs were part of the most explosive passing offense in college football this side of Kyler Murray, and to whatever extent he co-OC'd said offense that's good. Given Locksley's track record and Gattis getting to asborb some of Joe Moorhead, chances are good that he had a major say.

Also, Gattis has the requisite recruiting rep:

On top of his coaching efforts, Gattis was also viewed as one of Alabama’s top recruiters. He helped the Crimson Tide land five-star defensive lineman Antonio Alfano as well as four-star receiver John Metchie and four-star defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe in this year’s class.

And he's definitely played Madden and can only hope with the whole "maybe play fast sometimes" thing.

Cons: last year's Alabama offense was his only year with any kind of coordinator title. There are probably dozens of coaches who could have lit up college football with Tua Tagovailoa and friends. Also… if you're Alabama why not just bump him up to OC and keep him? Going to Michigan is one thing. Maryland?

This is kind of a swing in the dark but Gattis is the hot name and sure why the hell not. There is now another shoe to drop: unless Michigan plans on dropping a defensive assistant—highly unlikely—this presages an exit or reassignment from the offensive staff. Pep Hamilton has been interviewing and spotted at some NFL games and seems like the most likely departure.



January 10th, 2019 at 4:02 PM ^

Gattis is highly sought, having bounced from PSU to Alabama and then getting intercepted beforehand.

Um, unfortunate choice of words for a WR coach . . .



January 10th, 2019 at 4:02 PM ^

Saban comes from the defensive side of the ball. He needs someone more experienced as an OC so that he can rely on them to run the offense by themselves. For him, promoting Gattis to sole OC is a risky move. For Harbaugh, a young up-and-comer at OC isn't risky because he is going to be very involved with the offense no matter what.


January 10th, 2019 at 4:03 PM ^

I'm sure Ben McDaniels is a nice guy and all, but I want Gattis coaching the WRs.  And if he can draw up plays better than Pep, so much the better.


January 10th, 2019 at 4:05 PM ^

Dan Murphy’s ESPN story indicates Gattis will be a co-coordinator. 

From the article: “He will work as a co-offensive coordinator for the Wolverines, according to The Athletic, who first reported news of his hire.”


January 10th, 2019 at 4:07 PM ^

If you take that view that our offensive scheme last season woefully under-utilized our receivers, then bringing in Gattis is a great move just on that basis alone. 

From a recruiting standpoint, it sounds like a home run.

True Blue 9

January 10th, 2019 at 4:08 PM ^

Man....I wanted youth but whew.....34?! Ekk. This one feels like a gamble but when isn't it, I suppose? This will be interesting. If anything, it appears he's a tremendous recruiter and if he gets Jim to open up the offense, I'm all for it. 



January 10th, 2019 at 4:08 PM ^

This does not scream the offensive equivalent of Don Brown . . . hire the best coordinator you can find and then get out of the way.

But I don't think that anybody realistically should expect that from Harbaugh.  He is not going to let go.  It's his thing.  He likes to fiddle.

But at least his head and heart seems to be in the right place, and he is bringing in somebody to help open up the offense on the passing side of things.

We have all the necessary tools to do this, so it should be quite interesting to see what the offense looks like next season.


Arb lover

January 10th, 2019 at 4:20 PM ^

Don Brown was one in a million, a proven OC/DC at the top of their game who aren't really looking for that head coaching role.

This is a quality hire and gives me SERIOUS hope that Harbaugh is willing to work on some deficiencies, including tempo and passing mix/strategy.... and he's a great recruiter.


January 10th, 2019 at 4:20 PM ^

I realize Harbaugh has given us no indication that he’s giving up the reins, but I can’t imagine this guy coming from Bama without assurance he’s going to have a big say if not most of the control. 

Im guessing the conversation went like this:

Harbaugh: I want you to be the O coordinator. Gattis: you going to let me call plays and actually run the offense?  Harbaugh: let’s run the power spread, incorporate some of my ideas and your experience, and let’s go crush in with you calling the plays and I have a say on weekly plan  Gattis: I’m in!

At least that’s what I’m hoping was agreed. Harbaugh is stubborn but wants to win more than his stubbornness.  He will hire and do what will win, eventually.




January 10th, 2019 at 4:32 PM ^

Right now, there are two African American assistants on the staff, and there are some indications one of them won't be around much longer. In college football today, you need to have a diverse staff, especially when it comes to recruiting. I don't see that as a quota thing, but an entirely reasonable and common-sense recognition of the fact that a large portion of top recruits are African American kids who live in majority black communities.


January 10th, 2019 at 4:09 PM ^

I'm not worried that he's only had half a year of "Co-OC" work. He's replacing Pep, who's a deadweight recruiter and cooks up the blandest passing game possible. Josh has Jim to learn from and he only needs to be better than Pep. That's not a high bar. 


January 10th, 2019 at 4:09 PM ^

It is sad that so many want to question this hire after having spent the last several months bemoaning the fact that JH hasn't hired an OC.  This looks like JH continuing to do what JH has always done:  being flexible while always looking to do everything possible to secure the future success of his team.  This year, Alabama went from run-heavy to pass-heavy, and it seems highly likely that Gattis was a big part of that transition.  Great hire.  Go Blue!

Arb lover

January 10th, 2019 at 4:15 PM ^

Hm. Did not see this coming. Great hire. Eat it, Bama.

I didn't say there was no way we were going to get one of Bamas better coaches, but I'm going to go ahead and eat a lemon simply because this is a great hire I didn't expect. And I like lemons. 


January 10th, 2019 at 4:15 PM ^


Sounds like Doug Nussmeier, Version 2.014

I don't know man.  Maybe this time around we should all just wait a little bit until all of the facts come out? 

Is this a better hire than the underwhelming one of the 8-8 2015 Indianpolis Colts OC and 1-15 2016 Cleveland Browns OC and QB Coach Pep Hamilton in 2017?  Answer: No.

It's not like we have a choice as fans anyway, but we already seem to be investing in the wishful thinking once more that:

1. one year as Co-OC at perennial wholesale recruiting violator and juggernaut Alabama indicates future great OC coaching and recruiting performance? I don't see any evidence for this about Gattis.  (Recency bias, Halo Effect, and Doug Nussmeier Effect)


2. Joe Moorhead's aggressive offensive play calling mentality hopefully rubbed off sufficiently onto this guy's cerebral cortex. This is certaintly possible, but there's no way of telling.  

Reality is Gattis has no significant track record of success as an OC at all in any significant capacity. 

However, he's probably an above average to excellent WR coach.   But Michigan already has one of those in Ben McDaniels.

Oh well.




January 10th, 2019 at 4:34 PM ^

Pros - are that he has a great rep as both offensive minded and works with WR, which is two checks that needed to be addressed. 

Cons- He has no direct play calling exp. 

Seems like this is solid based on that the play calling is by committee with JH being the final stop on it. Hopefully the new young mentality will throw a couple more knock out blows as opposed to the body blows. 


January 10th, 2019 at 4:57 PM ^

This seems a bit of the problem with a lot of the Michigan fan base. They only want old, aged, “proven” coaches who’ve already won big at every other stop they’ve been at. But that’s not how things work 99% of the time.

Lots of schools and teams hire young up and comers all the time and they get fresh blood and new ideas. Just cause he hasn’t proven to be a championship caliber OC at 10 other schools already doesn’t mean he isn’t a great offensive mind and hire. Until proven otherwise (which would be a Nussmire type of result), I’m excited about the move and believe it can bring some much needed contemporary thinking into the Offensive coaches room.