The offensive adjustment at Michigan is happening fast.
After the school announced it wouldn't be retaining offensive coordinator Al Borges for the 2014 campaign, a CBS Sports report indicated Brady Hoke was set to hire Doug Nussmeier away from Alabama to become the new man in charge of the Wolverines' offense. Per the report, he'll become one of the highest-paid coordinators in the country.
Nussmeier, who quarterbacked in the NFL for five seasons, spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Crimson Tide, including a national championship season in 2012. His two seasons also coincided with A.J. McCarron's final two years as the Tide's QB, seasons that saw McCarron set new quarterbacking records for the historic football program. This past season, McCarron threw for 3,063 yards and 28 touchdowns, finishing second in voting for the Heisman Trophy and winning several national awards.
Michigan got to see Nussmeier's work first-hand last season, when they opened the campaign against Alabama, and the Crimson Tide dropped 41 points on the Wolverines.
Alabama ranked 17th in the country this season in scoring offense with 38.2 points per game and 33rd in the country with 454.1 total yards per game. Michigan, meanwhile, ranked 46th in scoring offense (32.2 points per game) and 86th in total offense (373.5 yards per game).
This wouldn't be Nussmeier's first Big Ten job or even his first Big Ten job in the Great Lakes State. He served as the Michigan State quarterbacks coach from 2003 to 2005. Prior to joining Nick Saban's staff at Alabama, Nussmeier was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Washington for three seasons. Those first two seasons featured illustrious quarterback Jake Locker under center for the Huskies.
Nussmeier's hiring — and track record with NFL-prospect quarterbacks — could signal a shift to the more pro-style offense that Hoke has wanted to install at Michigan. Current starting quarterback Devin Gardner and his predecessor, Denard Robinson, were both recruited to run the spread offense brought over by former head coach Rich Rodriguez. Hoke inherited those two, both talented playmakers, but he's expressed a desire to switch to a pro style. Nussmeier would certainly help with that.
“I think everyone believes in a philosophy, obviously,” Hoke said back during Big Ten media days, before the 2013 season started. “We all have our own quirks and beliefs. But I think the physicalness that the game of football needs to be played with, I'm of the feeling that playing physical football, some pro style, and then there will be multiple enough personnel groups that I think that will be big."
Shane Morris, a true freshman this season who stepped in for an injured Gardner during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, fits that pro-style mold much better than Gardner. Morris is also a Hoke recruit.
For all of Nussmeier's quarterbacking credentials, however, a big part of his job will be developing some consistency in a Michigan running game that had none this year. The Wolverines finished second-to-last in the conference (ahead of only Purdue) in rushing, even experiencing a game in which they posted negative rushing yards.