Fixing the offense an objective at spring practice for Jim Harbaugh, Michigan football
The team at TheMichiganInsider.com have an exclusive look at Michigan's spring practice
Ever since the curtain fell on Michigan's disappointing 8-5 football season, coach Jim Harbaugh has been intensely focused on getting the team back on track. And since the Wolverines fielded the nation's third best defense last year, it's clear that most of the issues that need to be righted exist on offense. That is a truth Harbaugh is attacking head-on, leading to five major storylines heading into spring football:
Quarterback Development - "It starts with what I felt like I could've done better," Harbaugh told TheMichiganInsider.com in an exclusive interview. "I didn't have a great year training quarterbacks. I feel like that has to be better. And then identifying what we do offensively."
The Ed Warinner Effect - Former Ohio State and Notre Dame offensive line coach Ed Warinner was hired by Harbaugh to fill that same role at Michigan. 247Sports Ohio analyst Bill Greene called Warriner "the best, or one of the best (line coaches) in the country." He inherits a unit in Ann Arbor that struggled mightily last year, but whose outlook should be boosted by an influx of young talent.
"I think one of the biggest jobs I have is trying to get these guys in the right position so they can play and get most of their reps at that spot," Warinner told The Michigan Insider. "If we can get guys by midway through the spring where they will most likely play with the most reps in the fall, (that would be ideal)."
The Jim McElwain Effect - The former University of Florida headman steps into a position group that is chock-full of talent, but didn't live up to expectations last year.
"Going back to checking off where I could've done better is developing the wide receivers ... really developing those young players who are so talented," Harbaugh told The Michigan Insider. "Now we've got a lot more attention ... (pass game coordinator) Pep (Hamilton), myself, and, Jim (McElwain) ... Jim is going to be carrying most of the water there. We need a great coach there coaching those guys."
More Run-Pass Option Coming to Ann Arbor - McElwain will also be instrumental in helping Michigan install more run-pass option in the offensive package. Harbaugh believes his quarterback stable is ideally suited to execute more "RPO" plays, especially with the addition of former Ole Miss signal caller Shea Patterson.
The Shea Patterson Effect - Patterson was the nation's top-rated signal caller coming out of high school in 2016, and his improvisational skill was a big reason why. Michigan is still awaiting a decision on his appeal for immediate eligibility after transferring from Ole Miss, but that won't preclude him from practicing this spring. Even without a verdict on his playing status, Patterson's effect on the quarterback competition will be palpable.
Multiple coaches agree that one of Michigan's reserve defenders is "ready to take the next step" in 2018. And on the recruiting front, Michigan is expecting several top prospects on campus for the first junior day of 2019. Find out who by visiting TheMichiganInsider now.
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