Jim Harbaugh is trusting Josh Gattis to run the 'whole offense' at Michigan
Michigan’s struggles on the offensive side of the football have been a hot-button issue during Jim Harbaugh’s four seasons in Ann Arbor. But it looks like change might be finally coming for the Wolverines.
Last week, Harbaugh landed former Alabama co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers Josh Gattis — who also spent six seasons on James Franklin’s staff at Vanderbilt and Penn State. Gattis is regarded as one of the up-and-coming offensive minds in college football and bringing his expertise to Ann Arbor is viewed as a major asset for the Wolverines.
Gattis will own the offensive coordinator title, a role that Harbaugh has been hesitant to distinguish in his four years. He’s relied heavily on a “group effort” and hasn’t been satisfied with having one run the show offensively.
All of that is about to change.
“Josh is well regarded across the country and the world of football, at all levels,” Harbaugh said on his Attack Each Day podcast. “So, that was getting the right person on the bus, really. Someone I felt could really coordinate our offense and run the whole offense.
“I’m excited about that. We got better.”
Gattis signed a three-year contract worth at least $2.9 million. He will receive a base salary of $900,000 per season and a $200,000 signing bonus. Performance-based bonuses are also included in his contract that would result in a pay bump.
Change is likely coming because of Michigan’s poor performances in some of the biggest games of the season. The Wolverines finished the year with a solid 10-3 record, but the season was bookended by some disappointing finishes.
Michigan lost its season opener to Notre Dame in a 24-17 decision. The Wolverines then suffered blowout defeats to Ohio State (62-39) and Florida in the Peach Bowl (41-15) to close out the season.
Considering the up-and-down years offensively under Harbaugh, fans are likely apprehensive to get too excited about bringing Gattis on board, and whether or not the move will actually result in better performance. But considering Gattis’ past success at major programs, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic moving forward.
At the very least, Harbaugh is showing that he’s comfortable loosening his grip on the offense and allowing another mind the opportunity to correct the issue.
That’s a step in the right direction.