The Wolverine

April 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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32 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2019 BY JOHN BORTON J osh Gattis must feel like a snow shovel manufacturer located in Buffalo, N.Y. He definitely doesn't lack the ingredients for success. Michigan's new offensive coordina- tor sees a returning starting quarter- back who connected on 64.6 percent of his throws a year ago. That QB can op- erate behind four returning offensive line starters, all of whom earned some level of All-Big Ten notice. Three junior wide receivers feature the length, speed and savvy to disrupt secondaries across the Big Ten and be- yond. While the running back talent is largely unproven, it's there. "This is as talented and experienced an offense as you're going to find around the country," former U-M All- American Jon Jansen insisted. Jansen, now a communications spe- cialist within the Michigan athletic de- partment, calls them like he sees them when it comes to football. A captain on the 1997 national championship team, he knows the standard. He's heard the not-so-fast caution, following the wave of positive reac- tion toward head coach Jim Harbaugh bringing in one of Alabama's top of- fensive assistants to run his offense. He's never called plays. Jansen dismisses that protest quicker than he buried potential quarterback attackers back in '97. In short, he sees Gattis benefiting from unbelievable input. "Josh Gattis is a very smart football coach," Jansen said. "He's had the benefit of being at Penn State [2014- 17] when they had very good players and a very good offensive coordina- tor. He was in all those meetings, and learned how to best utilize the talents you have. "He was on the headset with Joe Moorhead, who was calling the plays at that time. He had a chance to learn from a very good play-caller and be a part of a successful offense. Then he goes to Alabama, and he's there with Mike Locksley, Dan Enos, guys that have called plays, guys that have been head coaches, guys that have the expe- rience of putting together game plans." Moorhead, whose offense gave Michigan fits in 2017, is now head coach at Mississippi State. Locksley and Enos both bolted from Alabama along with Gattis; Locksley is now the head coach at Maryland and Enos the offensive coordinator and quarter- backs coach of Miami's Hurricanes. "Josh Gattis was a major part of put- ting together those game plans," Jan- sen continued. "Even if he's not calling the plays, I guarantee you, there are times where the coach will say, 'Give me your best play.' He's ready at any moment. He's calling plays in his mind: 'If I was the head guy, this is what I would call.' "He may not have been the guy di- rectly calling the plays, but he helped put together the game plan. He put to- gether the script. Every team has a 10- or 15-play script they start the game off with. When you have that as your background, whether it's Joe Moor- head, Mike Locksley, Nick Saban, Dan Enos, whoever you want to lean on … I'm not concerned about him having called plays or not." Jansen envisions no lack of plays dialed up for what he calls "The Big Three" — junior wideouts Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, along with redshirt sophomore receiver Tarik Black. That trio, rangy and talented, holds the key to opening up an offense di- rected by senior quarterback Shea Pat- terson, Jansen insisted. "They have the speed, they have the size, they have the strength, they have all the components you would want to have in a dynamic receiving corps," Jansen said. "We're going to see a lot of that this year, in the way they can get them the ball, the way they go get it, and how they're able to run their routes, set up defenders and work to- gether." Mix in a slot receiver such as speedy sophomore Ronnie Bell, and Michigan could have the capability of prying the lid off defenses, Jansen noted. "We saw him have a couple of big catches last year," Jansen said of Bell. "He's going to grow up. I'm really ex- NEW BLUE DEAL Josh Gattis Won't Lack Chess Pieces At Michigan New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis inherits several promising weapons, chiefly in the passing game with the starting quarterback and two leading receivers returning. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 2019 SPRING FOOTBALL PREVIEW

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