Michigan football duo find rhythm on easy start

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — If there was ever a year for Michigan football to debut with the callers for the first time, this was it.

Sherrone Moore and Matt Weiss have had two weeks to work through the issues of their new operation without much resistance, with the Wolverines running away with wins over Colorado State and Hawaii, and will likely have a similar experience on Saturday against Connecticut in understaffed (noon, ABC).

Head coach Jim Harbaugh tapped Moore, Michigan’s offensive line, and Weiss, the team’s quarterbacks coach, to serve as co-coordinators this year, giving them the keys to the offensive.

“The call play has been good, the call play has been smooth, the call play has been great,” Moore told reporters Wednesday. “We felt like there had been a rhythm. And when we have accumulated the points we have, we have the impression that it went rather well.

Michigan totaled 107 points in the first two games, combining for over 1,000 yards and 8.4 yards per play against inferior competition, making it hard to gauge just how good this offense really is. The playing duo also had to deal with quarterback competition that extended into the regular season (this has since been decided) and frequent substitutions, making it difficult to find a rhythm with different groups of personnel. in the game.

Nevertheless, the operation has gone smoothly so far. Michigan’s offense accounted for no penalty before the break in two games, an impressive feat considering the offensive line’s juggling in Week 1.

“We still think there are things to improve on, but the (lack of) pre-snap penalties are really on the players,” Moore said. “They came out in that game (against Hawaii) after an hour of rain and they could have been without excitement, without focus, and they came out with juice and energy and the same focus that they would have had. it had started at 8 o’clock. .”

After: Michigan new callers seek to execute Jim Harbaugh’s ‘vision’

The lack of fundamental issues up front comes at a perfect time for Moore, 36, who has quickly risen through the coaching ranks in Ann Arbor. Originally hired to coach tight ends, he was promoted to offensive line coach and co-coordinator in 2021, helping to be one of the architects behind the Wolverines’ Big Ten championship run. But he never had call-to-play duties, which went only to Josh Gattis, who left for Miami in February.

“When you’re not a play caller, you’re suggesting plays, you have a process of thinking about which plays you’d like to be called,” Moore said. “But you don’t say it during the series and we focus more on your position.”

This year, says Moore, “there’s less of me watching the offensive line when I’m calling plays. It’s more about looking at everything.

While the two have been reluctant to explain how, exactly, they operate during a game, Moore says they both help in the planning stage in the days leading up to Saturday, and each has a role in calling specific downs.

“We have a method that we can’t really explain,” Moore said. “We have a great method, and it’s been really good for us and we’re delighted with the progression we’re heading towards.”

Last month, in the weeks leading up to Game 1, Weiss — who came to Michigan in 2021 after a long tenure with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, where he was an assistant coach — praised Harbaugh for his “collaborative” plan. , stroke of genius” for having two play callers instead of one, suggesting that the two bring something different to the table.

“He lets us handle it,” Moore said. “He was awesome. Again, so blessed to have him as a head coach here and to learn from him and all that he has done. Sometimes you sit and listen to stories he’s had — whether it’s here or at the USD, or what he’s done at the 49ers and all that — and the details and the things he’s done.

“I don’t think people understand how good he is as a coach.”

Part of the appeal of adding Weiss, 39, to the staff was his experience working with quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ running game and his knowledge of integrating advanced analytics into an offense. He helped bring it all to Michigan, while Moore remains focused on a balanced approach to Saturdays.

They will have to do this with the level of competition ready to increase. Big Ten play begins next Saturday, Sept. 24, against Maryland, followed by the offense’s biggest test this season, a game at Iowa on Oct. 1.

“It’s all a player-driven game, and we’re trying to put players in the best position and put our best players in a position to win,” Moore said. “It’s really about both. We will use analytics during a game, we will use them during game planning, and we will use them during a game in certain situations.

“But really, the most important thing when you call plays is the feel, the pace of the game and making sure the best players get the ball.”

Learn more about Michigan football:

Michigan DT goes from ‘underrated’ rookie to standout first rookie

UConn coach says UM has no weaknesses and envies roster size

Amid boos, demotion, QB Cade McNamara remains in good spirits

Michigan’s youngest coach Grant Newsome is a rising star

News+notes: Injury updates, position change, more

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