Michigan needs to use Alabama's offense as a blueprint

Submitted by njvictor on December 30th, 2018 at 12:54 AM

After watching the Orange Bowl this evening, I've begun asking myself why Michigan can't be like Alabama offensively. While not on their same level, we have similar personnel. Shea is not Tua, but is a pretty accurate QB who is also decently mobile. Both teams are loaded at the WR position. Both teams have a solid run game with good RBs. The only main difference is that Alabama's OL is better, but our OL is improving.

Overall, we have relatively similar offensive personnel to work with but Alabama is utilizing their personnel much more effectively. A balanced attack that isn't predictable. A steady dose of RPOs and giving the ball to weapons in space. Using the run to set up the pass. 

Harbaugh needs to take a good look at the best team in the country and see that we aren't so different. Maybe learn a thing or two from Saban about adapting to modern times and updating your offense



December 30th, 2018 at 10:07 AM ^

I know it's coming. You know it's coming. My eight year old knows it's coming. You think the defense doesn't know it's coming? Oh wait, they f-ing TELL you to your FACE in pressers after the game that they knew out was coming, yet you continue to waste at least a down on every set to put in your "bOdy BlOwzZ", FFS. 

More like body blows against an offense that can't get a fucking rhythm to save their lives, now you're behind the sticks and they can tee up on Shea all day. Some dumbassery if I've ever seen it.

Ger Sauden

December 30th, 2018 at 9:29 AM ^

I don't know if he fired Tim Drevno. I think Tim Drevno felt demoted, and left. But before hiring Ed Warinner Jim Harbaugh had to have known something of what was going to happen to his friendship, and working relationship, with Tim Drevno. So yeah, there had to be some tough moments for Jim Harbaugh in making that move.

The same may have been going now with Pep Hamilton. It is unimaginable to think Pep Hamilton will be on the sidelines at  Michigan next year. But reality can be stranger than fiction.


December 30th, 2018 at 11:07 AM ^

When you are paid $7M, it's business.  You don't get to run it like it's your personal hunting lodge.

Saban is good at this.  Bill Belichick is good at this.  Joe Gibbs is good at this.  Roger Penske is good at this.

They all understand it's a business.  They make constant personnel decisions and changes based on what is good for the business. 

It's not about keeping old friends hanging around.  Join a bowling league for that.


December 30th, 2018 at 5:08 PM ^

For sure! Gary might be in Bama’s DL rotation, but he would not be special. Maybe Bush is the starter and a star there... but no one else. Winovich probably wouldn’t crack the Buckeye rotation, much less Bama’s. To become more like Bama, you need to recruit like Bama... and a bunch of 4/3-stars doesn’t do it.

rob f

December 30th, 2018 at 8:10 AM ^

That goes back to the end of last decade and a) empty cupboard;  b) poor OL recruiting by RR;  c) poor OL coaching and development by RR's staff;  d) any or all of the above

Clappy inherited a mess but unfortunately didn't do nearly enough to clean it up and improve it.

True Blue Grit

December 30th, 2018 at 9:04 AM ^

BS.  Stop blaming past coaches for the OL failures or shortcomings of today.  Harbaugh will be starting his 5th year here, entirely with players he's recruited.  This year in particular, there are no more of these fictional excuses to hide behind.  Yesterday, that OL did not get good push or open holes pretty much all day.  Again, all Harbaugh recruited O-linemen.  


December 30th, 2018 at 1:04 AM ^

We need to get to around a 60 percent pass to 40 percent run ratio. We need to improve the most in designing 10-20 yard pass plays. There's no reason why we can't run these plays consistently with our receivers and the OL doesn't have to hold up for very long.

TD Billy Taylor

December 30th, 2018 at 3:22 AM ^


So infuriating to watch us run routes that take 3-5 seconds before receivers are open, when pass protection (read: OL) is not our strength and hasn't been for years. I just don't know what the staff really expects, and, to make it worse, they keep doing it throughout games. It's like they're content to continue smashing their head against the wall.

Before this year, the Giants had one of the consistently worst OLs in the NFL for probably 2-3 years. Their staff did one thing ours hasn't done with this problem: they thought about it.

The result? An offense featuring a heavy dose of quick slants, leaks, and other short to intermediate passes. Granted, Eli hasn't been a starting caliber QB in years, so the offense wasn't a world-beater, but it at least functioned and made sense, which allowed them to hang in games. We need to look to a similar approach--lots of (relatively) quick developing routes that can consistently beat man coverage (slants, crossing routes, etc.).


December 30th, 2018 at 9:17 AM ^

I'd also add that having shorter dropbacks and quicker developing routes does one of the things you tried to do all season: keep your quarterback healthy. The longer they're back there, the more they are a target. When they have to improvise, they become a bigger target. I'm not just saying Shea. It felt like a lot of the pressures and sacks were a result of a long dropback.

Alabama ran so many slants yesterday, I feel like we barely run any. There aren't quick route options. It's those plodding wait and sees that we kept running all year. You have a capable stable of quarterbacks. You have very good receivers. Get it to your receivers quicker. Unless that's the problem too.

Like I get trying to coach to the pros, but you've got to coach what is effective and going to help you win first. The longer route plays shouldn't be the core of the passing game.


December 30th, 2018 at 1:06 AM ^

If you think the personnel Michigan has is similar to Bama's....  Bama's oline is light years better then what Michigan has right now and UM's running backs aren't even close to Bama's.  Higdon wouldn't even see the field if he was on Bama's roster.


December 30th, 2018 at 2:03 AM ^

Other big issue with personnel ..... and I am sure no one wants to hear this .... and most of us already know this.  Michigan is (far and away) harder academically and many of the recruits on Alabama's roster would not qualify to play at Michigan.  That is an issue when trying to get better talent here as well. It's just a fact.  At Michigan student's don't "play" school, they actually have to buckle down and get to it. 

But I do agree .... take a look and take things that will work.  Never stop learning and evolving, especially on offense. 


December 30th, 2018 at 10:32 AM ^

no excuse whatsoever Brighton B, I agree, and yet we still get a fair share of NFL 'talent' who move on to play at the next level. Sometimes in large numbers. It's definitely the type of kids we recruit, and I'd go so far to say the negative recruiting by others like the NFL rumors year in and year out don't help land the big studs we need to turn the corner. I think given ten years or so to settle down, it will turn. Jim is doing the right things...they are just wandering down a dark tunnel without a light right now. Once they stabilize and just develop the most simple of things...it will click. We are far from where the program was headed the last ten years. Will he get enough time to get there?


December 30th, 2018 at 1:06 AM ^

Bama runs a power spread. Love it and we need to run it. 

As for similar personnel?  LOL.  Not even close. The talent they have across the board on offense blows ours away. 


December 30th, 2018 at 1:15 AM ^

 Not really either. We need more speed at WR and RB, and need a more athletic and accurate QB to have similar type players. 

We have an offense with 2 big possession WRs and a big possession TE. Bama has all DPJ type athletes at WR and an athletic TE. I think we’d need to make some personnel changes to run the power spread. But not wholesale ones. 


December 30th, 2018 at 11:23 AM ^

This is all a moot point.  The options aren't that we have to be Alabama or otherwise we are Rutgers.

The point is that we can can get better than we are by emulating some of what Alabama does, and the fact that even with their superior talent advantage, they adapted their offense approach to keep up with modern college football.

When we used to question the merits of a "pro style" approach, we would look at Alabama and note that it at least worked when you have 4/5 star talent running it.

Now, not even Alabama runs it despite all their 4/5 star talent.  Do you think they know something we don't?



December 30th, 2018 at 11:12 AM ^

You're smoking crack if you seriously believe Michigan is a top ten team.  Go rewatch the last 2 games (and msu and Indiana and ND- with friggin brandon wimbush!).  If you still believe that's a top ten team..... there's no hope for you. You have no ability to look at Michigan with any kind of logic and reason. 


December 30th, 2018 at 11:30 AM ^


There are easily 10 other teams that could do to us what Florida did to us, with or without the players that sat out.

Not a top ten team.

That was a mirage caused by playing some very weak competition in the middle of the season.

We thought we might lose to Wisconsin / MSU / Penn State in the middle of the season.  When we won, everybody thought it was because we were top ten.  Turns out it was because those teams just sucked.



December 30th, 2018 at 1:09 AM ^


Every one of their players look upper 20s - 30 years old. That might have something to do with it.  They are definitely doing something “right”