Michigan Wolverines: Rebuilding An Interesting Challenge -- Offense

GBMWolverine Coach's Corner2Posted ay 7:00am — 7/4/2014

Michigan Wolverines: Rebuilding An Interesting Challenge — Offense

Rebuilding Michigan Football — The Offensive Structure and Success — Part I

Part one of this series, the foundation, was presented a couple of weeks past. Part two will discuss the offense in two primary sections: the offensive system and a look at each position group. Before the continuation, please keep in mind that the foundation previously discussed is critical. Also keep in mind that the general term rebuilding was used in previous segments, as was retooling, repaving, and other descriptors. This article is not intended to bring forth further consternation about which term is the most correct.

Doug Nussmeier 1

The Offensive Background

Coach Doug Nussmeier comes to Michigan with applause and hurrah. He has had success both coordinating an offense and developing quarterbacks. Nuss, by all appearances, is a guy who loves upward movement and intensity, both for himself and his players. He runs a “pro-style” offense that has featured the inside zone series, tight end routes, h-back play, and forcing opponents into situations where play action passes yield easy 5-20 yard gains. He uses multiple receivers, paired with a tight end and h-back, to stress one side of the defense. If a defense counters, an easy backside throw and catch scenario frequently results. Expect tight ends to sprint to open reads and expect a flow of drag routes and outs from inside receivers.

But more than anything tight ends and receivers must block better than in the past. Know this, Coach Nuss has possessed what every offensive coordinator must have: either talent across the board, or big time skill players. He had both at Alabama, but will start off at Michigan with a talent base best described as adequate and new to the game.

There is little doubt that Michigan will rely on a foundation of inside zone blocking starting off the Nussmeier era. This approach has gained strength as a preferred method of line blocking at all levels. The scheme allows for simplicity, but make no mistake, assignments and technique are both still paramount. Precision is at least the equal of power.

Apr 5, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive linesman Kyle Kalis (67) walks on the filed during the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Linemen are somewhat relieved of constantly understanding the changing defensive fronts and sometimes guessing what is coming at the last second. In theory, assignment confusion using the inside zone blocking scheme is diminished. If the defensive front changes, or blitzes occur, the zone rules remain in place. That is why the scheme is called zone and not man. Rules or no rules, blitzers must be picked up and accounted for if any blocking scheme is to work. If teams have a roadrunner, say like Percy Harvin, then the Jet Sweep adds more woes to a defense trying to cover the offensive options. Add in the quarterback taking off now and then; well, if the personnel group is in place, and the scheme is executed, inside zone is a pain. Harvin and Tebow while at Florida provide the perfect example of the danger of an inside zone offense when the talent is exceptional.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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