Hello: Josh Gattis, Apparent Offensive Coordinator Comment Count

Brian January 10th, 2019 at 3:39 PM

Per Chris Vannini, Michigan's filled a hole they don't appear to have:

Michigan: Alabama co-offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach Josh Gattis will be named offensive coordinator at Michigan, people with direct knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic’s Chris Vannini and Bruce Feldman. Gattis spent one year at Alabama and previously worked at Penn State. At Alabama, Gattis directed one of the top wide receiver groups in college football.

Compounding the oddity here is that Maryland hired him three hours ago.

Gattis is a 34-year-old who played safety at Wake Forest and had a cup of coffee in the NFL after being drafted in the fifth round. Before Alabama hired him away to be the WR coach and co-offensive coordinator—whatever that means—he'd been James Franklin's WR coach at both Vandy and PSU. Mike Locksley, the other co-OC, took the Maryland job and was apparently set to bring Gattis along before this abrupt about-face.

[After THE JUMP: I'm just warning you there is a picture of Allen Robinson but now we can feel good about it!]

Saban on Gattis, FWIW:

“Josh is a very, very good coach,” Nick Saban said in October “He’s a very bright guy. He has been in some good systems. He has a good understanding of the big picture offensively. He’s very technical in terms of how he coaches and teaches his players and he’s got a really good personality.

“He can confront guys when they are not doing things the way they are supposed to do them, and I think that has created a lot of consistency in our receivers and improved their toughness. We have some good players and he has got them playing well.”

Pros: Gattis is highly sought, having bounced from PSU to Alabama and then getting intercepted beforehand. PSU's WR corps was excellent for the duration of his tenure…


[Bryan Fuller]

…and dropped off significantly after he left. The Alabama WRs were part of the most explosive passing offense in college football this side of Kyler Murray, and to whatever extent he co-OC'd said offense that's good. Given Locksley's track record and Gattis getting to asborb some of Joe Moorhead, chances are good that he had a major say.

Also, Gattis has the requisite recruiting rep:

On top of his coaching efforts, Gattis was also viewed as one of Alabama’s top recruiters. He helped the Crimson Tide land five-star defensive lineman Antonio Alfano as well as four-star receiver John Metchie and four-star defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe in this year’s class.

And he's definitely played Madden and can only hope with the whole "maybe play fast sometimes" thing.

Cons: last year's Alabama offense was his only year with any kind of coordinator title. There are probably dozens of coaches who could have lit up college football with Tua Tagovailoa and friends. Also… if you're Alabama why not just bump him up to OC and keep him? Going to Michigan is one thing. Maryland?

This is kind of a swing in the dark but Gattis is the hot name and sure why the hell not. There is now another shoe to drop: unless Michigan plans on dropping a defensive assistant—highly unlikely—this presages an exit or reassignment from the offensive staff. Pep Hamilton has been interviewing and spotted at some NFL games and seems like the most likely departure.



January 10th, 2019 at 11:01 PM ^

Yeah my point is still valid, Pep hasn't proven himself. He has never been at a place long and doesn't put up great offensive numbers. Yeah he did well at Stanford and with the Colts but he also had Andrew Luck, arguably a top 8 QB in the NFL right now, and the best Stanford has had in 25 years.


January 10th, 2019 at 9:36 PM ^

Yeh it does feel a bit like Nuss, who was rumoured to be seeing writing on the wall at Alabama when Saban brought in Kiffin to watch practices. I hope not, but given Josh chose to leave for Maryland to be OC rather than staying with the hope of being promoted to Alabama's OC (and Alabama's subsequent promotion of Enos from QB coach to OC) seems to suggest that Saban passed over Josh for Enos as Alabama's OC. With all that said, I still think Josh brings a lot of good experience and strong credentials with him to the table. I just hope it doesn't push Ed Warriner out the door by passing over him for OC. It's a delicate world! 

Hail to the Vi…

January 10th, 2019 at 10:02 PM ^

No, this is a fantastic hire. He is not only a demonstratably excellent developer of WR talent  - which is a great fit for the makeup of this roster for obvious reasons - he is also an excellent recruiter of talent as well.

24/7 Sports has his ranked as the 23rd overall recruiter in the country. Anything in the top 50 is fantastic (Partridge is 7th, he is a must keep for this staff).

He will be a great influencer for Jim in the passing game. And make no mistake, that is what is so significant of this hire.

Yes, for the millionth time, this is Jim Harbaugh's offense. It is concurrently true the coaching staff around him influence the way he designs his plays, his game plans, and how he deploys them on Saturday.

I thought Pep's influence was outdated for the way offense is played these days. Gattis and Locksley designed and implemented an excellent modern offense at Alabama.

Jim's finger prints will still be all over this offense, but Gattis will a perspective that has not influenced this offense in the past. Excited to have him!


January 10th, 2019 at 3:47 PM ^

It has been a long time since the words 'offensive coordinator' have been seen around these parts.  Also love that JH seems to be emphasizing recruiting with his past few hires.  Hope that trend continues.  It seemed to pay off with this year's class. 


January 10th, 2019 at 4:22 PM ^

It will be interesting to see what UM announces him as.  I just found it intriguing the tweets used the term OC.  Also, he turned down an OC gig.  Seems like some assurances were likely made. There is a possibility JH realized he needed to streamline things between plays.  



Baumgardner tweeted that according to the athletic Gattis would be the playcaller.  https://twitter.com/nickbaumgardner/status/1083476461456158720


January 10th, 2019 at 5:19 PM ^

I am seeing the same thing as you.  I don't know how it is going to play out and we still haven't heard anything from JH or UM on roles.  And we likely won't from JH, at least not too specific.  Right now we are all making assumptions based on anecdotal evidence.

I choose to believe JH made some assurances.  Or it would make little sense to turn down a full OC role at MD. Also, if he wanted to be co-oc he could have just remained in the same role at Alabama. 

He has never called plays but no one has until they have. 


January 10th, 2019 at 4:00 PM ^

We replaced McElwqain with Ben McDaniels as WR coach.  He is the brother of Josh McDaniels and had been an Offensive Analyst at Michigan.   I would think they would promote Roundtree to an analyst.  If they like McDaniels, I would expect he stays.  Otherwise Gattis could be in charge of the WRs


January 10th, 2019 at 4:08 PM ^

One of the things that I have perceived about position coaching is that it's something that needs a person to do it, but that the things taught to the position groups can be taught to the coaches. That is, Gattis appears to be a proven WR coach. If he sees stuff on film that our WRs are weak on, he can communicate to McDaniels what needs to be put in AND teach him how to coach it. A guy who is naturally good at coaching the position, like Zordich or (sniff) Mattison, doesn't really need that kind of attention, but some positions can have overlap. 

So I think Gattis coming is a plus for our receivers even if he doesn't focus on them during actual practices, because he can communicate stuff to them. BTW, this is why I think Jay is fine as a RB coach--there's not a lot of secret knowledge to the position. He can run the same drills and rep the same techniques as the other guys.*

*My opinion only, I'm not a coach. Obviously a lot of people question Jay's competence as an RB coach and it's difficult to discern if there's anything to that. The RBs did grow significantly in their pass protection this year, which seems to be something Jay had an influence on, but it's hard to tell what's Jay and what's, say, Ed Warinner teaching Jay to teach them.


January 10th, 2019 at 10:21 PM ^

My assumption is that at the college level, position coaches are given a certain level of autonomy on teaching technique, since that is like one of the main things they should be contributing. What to focus on technique wise might be a different story (cleaning up dumb penalities due to bad technique.)

Gattis might want to be more hands on during positional work w/wide receivers and I would have to imagine Harbaugh would want that since they're really going to need to lean on that group more next year.

on a side note...

I find analyzing who is really holding their weight as a position coach to be kind of tricky since we don't see practice.  You never know what guys aren't putting in the effort or just aren't understanding the playbook or have bad habits that can't be undone. I'd be very curious to know what kind of metrics Harbaugh has to hold guys accountable upon review.

You Only Live Twice

January 10th, 2019 at 11:10 PM ^

For the most part, I enjoy reading your takes, but I don't see how they are 20 million times better than other users.  Please stop saying it's a glitch and will be fixed next month.  The buildup you created prior to the OSU game is now shown to be less than credible although you got other users with large points totals to cosign.


January 10th, 2019 at 3:49 PM ^

Meh. Presumably Harbaugh would like to glean some ideas--adapting some of Moorhead's willingness to just throw deep to receivers when the numbers tell you to is good--but this doesn't seem like someone with the track record or gravitas to change Harbaugh's committee style of offensive design, or to tip the balance toward the passing game from the gravity well that is Ed Warinner.

His receiver coaching record is actually the biggest sell to me. I think Michigan's receivers have improved, and having a guy who has proven to produce quality receiving play should continue the trend, perhaps helping to stanch any transfers from the position.

I wonder if the reason this is a surprise is because Harbaugh had to act quickly after a good recruiter in Washington left, and this was the name that looked attractive.

One worry: There are a lot of attractive open slots around college football that Ed Warinner could fill. I think our OL needs another year with him. I don't think Pep is much of a positive or a negative, but Warinner is a big net plus and I'd hate for him to leave and Pep to be the one that stuck around because there was nowhere else to go.