Is Michigan's Offensive methodology that different?

Submitted by JFW on January 22nd, 2019 at 11:05 AM

I listen to a fair amount of podcasts, and read a decent amount about Michigan. 

For the longest time, listening to Baumgardner and reading other blogs, I got the impression that other teams had one Offensive coordinator who did everything, from scouting to prep to playcalling, and that Michigan had a 'unique collaborative method'. It seems many on this blog have had similar ideas. 

But then, I hear more recently from Baumgardner and the most recent WTKA roundtable that *many* teams have a situation where the HC, OC, and pass/run game coordinators often work  together during the game to call plays dynamically as the game evolves. The biggest difference is that UM didn't have a different quick call process to switch into to try to tempo teams. That doesn't make UM Football sound like that much of an outlier at all, and to my mind kind of undercuts the people who lose their mind over UM playcalling. 

I guess I'm asking from coaches and those who know more about college football, is UM's pre-gattis methodology that different from other teams? Was my initial impression wrong? 

And going forward, Will it be, even if they do a rip and re-install?

For my part, I'm happy for the change. It may or may not work. I was hoping for more of an evolution vs. a rip and re-install, but I'm willing to be optimistic. I think we might look like crap in the spring game, and that's okay. We'll evolve. 




January 22nd, 2019 at 11:08 AM ^

The committee thing isn't different, but something we were doing makes plays take way longer to get in than they should. And no ability to go no huddle was astonishing. 


January 22nd, 2019 at 11:46 AM ^

No idea of whether this is correct or not, but maybe has to do with how freaking long the name for each play is. I was amazed when listening to the All Or Nothing documentary when I heard the lengthy names of the plays as they were relayed from Pep/Drevno in to the QB. I feel like just repeating the playcall twice took 10 seconds. 



January 22nd, 2019 at 12:18 PM ^

Disagree. Drev's terminology for the OL was complex, but complicated play naming is a pretty typical characteristic of west coast-style playcalling. It's basically universal in the NFL (anyone watch those closeup shots of Jared Goff making playcalls in the huddle? The names were loooong). It's a separate issue from the OL.

Harbaugh uses NFL-style vocabulary, which means that the play names are lengthy and also quite specific--the name tells the players what they're doing. The advantage is that there are a lot of options to use and you can overwhelm defenses which can't handle the variety. The disadvantage is that there's a lot to retain, particularly for the QB.

I doubt Michigan will pare things down to spread run levels (you know, where they call plays using pictures on the sideline) but some simplification is possible. It's not a Drev thing, though. 


January 22nd, 2019 at 12:15 PM ^

thats part of it - relaying wordy west coast terminology takes time.  personnel groups also take time as michigan uses more than most teams.  there are many factors.  

even if theyre ready to go with 2-3 calls on 1st down for subsequent 2nd down play (which is often the case) they still need to relay the call from sideline to field, alter personnel, huddle and then line up, make calls, shift, etc


January 22nd, 2019 at 2:03 PM ^

I'm not sure the lack of tempo was a play calling thing.  Yeah, deciding which play to run can certainly slow things down.  But I just think they didn't practice tempo, at all.  Even if you get the plays called during a TO, you still need to practice running them quickly.  And there was no indication whatsoever, all year, that Michigan could do anything quickly.  This seems to echo some of the stuff we saw from Pep out of Indy, but I really don't know how applicable all that was.  I just don't think they practiced any tempo...

The long name thing...  What we heard on All or Nothing as play names includes blocking schemes, TE directions, WR routes, blitz pickup schemes, RB routes, QB options...  All that stuff gets thrown in to each play, yet not all players need to know what all of it is.  The WR's don't care what the OL is doing, etc.  The complications are many, though!  I'd think that the RB should know what the OL blocking scheme is so he'd know the most likely place a blitz could get through.  That sort of thing can slow plays down because some shared responsibility gets blown up.  I can see where this would indirectly lead to a lack of tempo - no time left in practice to actually practice it!


January 22nd, 2019 at 12:35 PM ^

Listen, I am not even going to go into my political views, they are insignificant as far as this goes.  But I will say that the "snowflake" thing is the most pointless, non-sensical, and unoriginal term or phrase that has come of the entire political divide in this country.  It is not just that it does not make sense, as a "metaphor" or whatever you want to call it, but also because the people who call other people "snowflakes" are the most sensitive and unable to deal with views inconsistent with their own in the entire lot. 

In fact, the act of labeling somebody else a "snowflake" is so devoid of any real meaning, the only purpose it serves is to devalue the position of a competing view by devaluing the messenger in your own mind.  You can label and dismiss the "perpetrator" of an idea you disagree with so as to dismiss their idea as not worthy of consideration due to some indiscernible flaw.  It is a cop-out.  I know that there is not supposed to be political commentary on this blog, but when there is, we are better than "snowflake."  You are better than "snowflake."  Let's hold any MGo-Pointless Political Banter to a higher standard than that.

Perkis-Size Me

January 22nd, 2019 at 12:29 PM ^

It's not the words themselves. It's the man behind the words. 

Not that I disagree with you. I didn't vote for the guy and I won't be doing so in 2020 either, but its amazing (and sad) to see people get out the torches and pitchforks over every little thing these days. Some people's need for everything to be 100% PC is absolutely nauseating. 

Sure, there are times when situations can go too far, but there are other times when people just need to learn to have a sense of humor, shrug their shoulders, recognize that something is not a big deal and is not worth expending the energy to get upset over, and move on with their lives. 


January 22nd, 2019 at 12:21 PM ^

It's not an issue of being Sensitive Sally's.  It's about maintaining a Michigan focused sports blog the majority of people enjoy engaging with. There has been a long standing rule of no politics. (yes, Brian breaks his own rule sometimes). It's not that hard of a concept or rule to follow. The real question is why someone feels the need to blatantly go against a rule which exists for a reason.


January 22nd, 2019 at 11:22 AM ^

I don’t think we are that different in terms of the set-up, but rather in the execution. For some reason, we are just slow in getting the plays in and we have shown no ability to go tempo. This has cropped up a number of times when we are trailing. 


January 22nd, 2019 at 11:27 AM ^

I'm not sure what's happened, but it seemed to me that our offense was pretty decent by the end of Harbaugh's inaugural year.  We had a great balance of run/pass, Jake Rudock was a super accurate passer (while not too terribly mobile) and we were pretty decent.  We destroyed Florida in the bowl game.  I'm up for better utilizing of our wide receivers and once our OL can give Shea a little bit more time.  Imagine flooding the field with our speedy/tall wide receiving corps with a mobile quarterback that can take advantage of the wide open spaces a spread out defense will create.

This should be a fantastic year as long as the OC brings some creativity and imagination.  As long as we're predictable, we're going to have problems.


January 22nd, 2019 at 12:10 PM ^

Good god, people on this blog really need to get over their love for S&P. In no way was our offense last year better than in 2016. 2015...maybe, because Rudock took a while to get going. But if you'd rather have our offense last year at the end of the year than what we looked like the 2nd half of 2015, continue to cling to your numbers.