After last week's drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin, Michigan needed to change something up. Jim Harbaugh and Josh Gattis' offense didn't do much of anything against a top Badgers defense, and there is more pressure on Harbaugh now than there has been so far in his Michigan tenure.
Ahead of today's game against Rutgers, the staff announced one interesting change. Gattis, the first-year offensive coordinator who came over from Alabama in the off-season, moved down from the coaches box to the sideline.
Gattis remains the team's play caller, after Harbaugh made the highly publicized decision to pass the reins over to him. Gattis was co-offensive coordinator with Mike Locksley, but did not call plays at Alabama.
Michigan's offense hung 52 points on Rutgers in a shutout win. Obviously, it was a big drop down in opponent level from Wisconsin, but it is still a relatively good sign. After the game, Harbaugh expounded on what went will with Gattis at field level.
Harbaugh on Gattis coaching from sideline pic.twitter.com/RkmqJoKBF6
— angelique (@chengelis) September 28, 2019
">Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News' clip:
"We've seen a lot of good offensive play in practice. You see it in practice, and you want to see it in games. We have seen it in games at times, at times not. I agree with Shea (Patterson) that it felt more like that. More of the way it runs in practice. It was also really good for substitutions, we've been having substitution errors in the first three games. For Josh to be there while plays are being formulated, he can react to the kind of subs he wants in the game, who he wants running what particular route or play. It flowed much better today. It can still be better, the operation and mechanics of it, but I thought it took a big leap today."
More on the improved communication with Josh Gattis at field level, via UMGoBlue:
"Everything was better face-to-face. Me communicating with him, him communicating with players. Players hearing it from him and not going through the box. It was good, it was a good move. I'm glad we did it."
Shea Patterson was pretty efficient, completing 17-of-23 throws for 273 yards and a touchdown to Nico Collins (two catches, 59 yards). Nine Wolverines combined for 41 carries for 141 yards and five touchdowns.
Michigan outgained Rutgers 476 yards to just 152 on the day. The No. 20 Wolverines have a much tougher test with No. 14 Iowa coming to Ann Arbor next weekend. The Hawkeyes beat MTSU 48-3 this afternoon.