Michigan's Ideal OC Candidate is at Alabama

Doug Nussmeier

There are a number of worthy names being bandied about for Michigan's vacant offensive coordinator post, but one stands out as the ideal fit.

Michigan is changing offensive coordinators, but it should be abundantly clear that it is not changing offensive philosophy. None of the struggles this year should convince anyone otherwise.  That being the case, where should the Wolverines go from here? To find the best answer to that question it’s prudent to start with an already established model of what Michigan wants to be. 

The more traditional pro-style offense featuring a downhill rushing attack may be seen as a dinosaur in many fan circles, but it is still extremely effective for a number of teams.  Some of the more notable examples in recent years are USC before its recent decline and Stanford since Jim Harbaugh put his imprint on the program.  None, though, have done it better than Alabama.  The Crimson Tide are the standard when it comes to the power scheme.  Theirs is the attack that all pro-style schemes in college try to emulate or aspire to.

A number of great names are being discussed on messageboards:

  • Don Treadwell – a terrific offensive coordinator that did an outstanding job at Michigan State and was fired prematurely at Miami.  He was Hoke’s first OC at Ball State.

  • Harold Goodwin – a Michigan alum and former graduate assistant with extensive pro experience.  He is credited with in piloting the offensive turnaround in Phoenix as the offensive coordinator. 

  • Cam Cameron and Scot Loeffler - former Michigan guys that have had successful runs as QB coaches and coordinators.

While all of those guys are worthy candidates, the ideal guy seems to be the guy Scout.com’s John Garcia reports will be the next coordinator in Ann Arbor here and here.  The one that runs the attack that all pro-style schemes in college ranks emulate or aspire to.  The guy that runs Alabama’s offense.  A guy named Doug Nussmeier.

If you’re Brady Hoke, why not go for the gusto? The worst Nussmeier could say is no.  That’s clearly what most observers think he would say, but what if he says yes?

The Wolverines would be gaining a coordinator that was himself a quarterback. The 1993 Division I-AA player of the year was a standout at Idaho before embarking upon a five year NFL career.  He went on to be the quarterbacks coach in the CFL for two seasons before taking on that same title at Michigan State from 2003-2005 and the St. Louis Rams from 2006-2007.  After taking his first coordinator gig at Fresno State in 2008 he went on to combine coordinator and quarterback coaching duties at Washington from 2009-2011.  While in Seattle he helped orchestrate a three-year rise in offensive performance that culminated in an explosive showing in 2011 campaign.  During that season the Huskies offense amassed 3,322 yards through the air, 5,328 yards of total offense, 57 touchdowns, and 434 points.  Each of those totals were good for second all-time in the Washington’s record books.

Just as encouraging was the job he did with first year starter Keith Price. All Price did in his first season at the helm was set new marks for passing touchdowns (33), completion percentage (.669), and passing efficiency (161.9).  That was enough to convince Nick Saban that Nussmeier was the right guy to put in control of the offense for a team coming off of a nation championship.  His Alabama bio illustrates his influence.

In Nussmeier's first year at the helm of the Alabama offense, the 2012 Crimson Tide produced one of the most proficient offensive seasons in school history. UA set records for rushing/passing touchdowns scored (68), total points (542), total offense (6,237) and passing touchdowns (31). His tutelage of quarterback A.J. McCarron resulted in one of the best seasons by a quarterback in school history. McCarron set a record for single-season touchdowns (30) while throwing for 2,933 yards (second in school history), completing 67.2 percent of his passes and throwing just three interceptions. He also led the nation in passing efficiency (175.28). Nussmeier built a balanced and explosive offense. The Tide rushed for 3,185 yards while throwing for 3,052, becoming the first Alabama team to rush and pass for 3,000 yards in a single season while accounting for 134 plays of 15-yards or more (76 passing and 58 rushing).

Then there is Nussmeier’s recruiting acumen, which John Garcia highlights on our messageboard here.

Hoke is looking for a guy that runs a pro style attack: check

Hoke is looking for offensive balance: check

Hoke is looking for a guy that can tutor QBs: check

Hoke is looking for a guy that recruit: check

So again… there are a lot of good candidates, but one stands out as the best.

We expect official word on Hoke's choice to come down Thursday.

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