|Could Shane Morris be the next A.J. McCarron?|
Fifth year senior quarterback Devin Gardner. Gardner has one final chance to show his stuff at quarterback, and I think Nussmeier will bring a more cohesive offense to Ann Arbor. Gardner can run out of the shotgun and pistol, and he's not bad throwing from under center. I expect Nussmeier to simplify Michigan's blocking schemes, which should help out the young linemen and the quarterback. The new offensive coordinator also likes to push the ball down the field (as did Al Borges), which suits Gardner well because he has a strong arm and throws a nice deep ball.
The offensive line. Michigan's young offensive line was terrible this past season, and it appears that Nussmeier may bring in a new offensive line coach to help him out. Whether coach Darrell Funk remains or not, I expect that Nussmeier will want a little more beef up front, and his coaching pedigree at Alabama suggests that he can help those guys achieve a new level of success.
Sophomore running backs Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith. Nussmeier utilized the inside zone game and zone sweeps to great effect at Alabama, which recruited Green out of high school. Both Green and Smith fit the role of good inside zone runners, because both of them are north-south runners capable of running through tackles. Green has the better speed of the two and would likely be more effective on the zone sweeps.
Sophomore quarterback Shane Morris and freshman quarterback Wilton Speight. Nussmeier has tutored numerous successful college quarterbacks (A.J. McCarron, Jake Locker, Drew Stanton, Jeff Smoker) and spent time with the St. Louis Rams under passing game guru Mike Martz. I can see Morris as a McCarron-like Game Manager Plus, a guy who can not only take care of the football and keep his team in the game, but make some downfield throws to really stress defenses.
Redshirt freshman H-backs Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman. Nussmeier likes to use his H-backs as lead blockers, wings, slot receivers, etc. Hill and Shallman appear to be good fits for this role, more so than the fullbacks who have been playing the past couple seasons.
THIS HIRE IS BAD FOR . . .
Redshirt junior running back Justice Hayes. Nussmeier does not appear to be a fan of scatback types, at least not for featured roles. Hayes was reported to be moving to slot receiver, although he started Michigan's bowl game at running back. His chances of winning the running back job next year likely took a hit with this hire.
Junior fullback Sione Houma and redshirt junior fullback Joe Kerridge. Nussmeier is a proponent of a one-back offense and doesn't have a whole lot of use for true fullback types. The hire will almost certainly diminish their role in the offense, which was already more significant than it should have been based on Michigan's personnel and abilities.