Alabama's Doug Nussmeier Becomes New Michigan Offensive Coordinator

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2014

USA Today

Just hours after the University of Michigan announced the dismissal of Al Borges, it snagged Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier for the same position.

Michigan confirmed the hire on Thursday, Jan. 9 in a release on the team website.

CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman first reported the move, which is seen as nothing short of a surprise. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke and athletics director Dave Brandon spearheaded the move with a robust contract offer that will make Nussmeier one of the five highest-paid assistant coaches in college football.

Updates from Tuesday, Feb. 25

Nick Baumgardner of provides contract details for Nussmeier:

Updates From Thursday, Jan. 9:

According to Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports, Lane Kiffin is interviewing for the vacant offensive coordinator job at Alabama:

Former USC head coach Lane Kiffin is interviewing for the Alabama offensive coordinator job as early as today, according to a source.

Kiffin will visit Tuscaloosa for the interview but won't be alone for the job. A long list of NFL suitors should be involved for a coveted job to replace Doug Nussmeier, who is now Michigan's offensive coordinator.

Kiffin, who went a combined 35-21 as coach of Tennessee and USC, visited Alabama during bowl prep as a consultant/observer.

Although Alabama has typically been known as a grind-it-out offense carried by an elite defense, Nussmeier has quietly built one of the most efficient attacks in the nation. Alabama finished in the top 10 in Football Outsiders' S&P offensive metric in each of Nussmeier's two seasons under Nick Saban, and was in the top five in 2012.

Nussmeier was integral in the development of AJ McCarron, with the Tide quarterback openly rooting for his coordinator to land the University of Washington head coaching job.

"I'm excited for him," McCarron said, per Michael Casagrande of "I can't wait for him to have his option. I was rooting for him with the Washington job, but he didn't get it. But I think he'll be an unbelievable head coach."

That job eventually went to Chris Petersen, but it seems the promise of a huge pay raise and the task of rejuvenating the Michigan offensive attack was enough for Nussmeier to leave Tuscaloosa anyway.

The Wolverines were a nightmare offensively this past season, finishing 86th in average yards per game. Although Football Outsiders ranked Michigan a more favorable 44th, Borges' unit floundered down the stretch. Michigan lost five of its last six games, scoring 21 points or fewer in four of those contests. 

Dec 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive coordinator Al Borges against the Kansas State Wildcats during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 58-year-old Borges was let go earlier Wednesday after a three-year run at Ann Arbor. He had been on Hoke's staff since 2009, dating back to their days at San Diego State. 

As for Alabama, speculation has already run rampant about a high-profile name that could land in Tuscaloosa. Feldman notes that former USC head coach Lane Kiffin could be an early favorite considering his close relationship with Saban:

Kiffin already has some familiarity with how things were working under Nussmeier. The 38-year-old coach visited Tuscaloosa to "evaluate" the Crimson Tide's attack last month. USC fired Kiffin in September after a disappointing 3-2 start, ending a three-plus-year reign in Los Angeles that saw him become one of the most embattled coaches in the nation.

Sep 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin reacts after losing to the Arizona State Sun Devils 62-41 at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Kiffin previously served one season as the head coach at Tennessee and parts of two with the NFL's Oakland Raiders. He holds a 40-36 record as a head coach across all levels, but Kiffin arguably found his most success as an offensive assistant with the Trojans in the early 2000s. 

Whether Kiffin's future involvement with Alabama is mere speculation or an impending hire, Saban now has a gaping hole on his staff. After winning three national championships in four seasons, Alabama lost just its second bowl game under Saban when Oklahoma pulled off a 45-31 upset at the Sugar Bowl. With high-octane offenses running rampant across the SEC, perhaps it is time for a revamping of the Tide blueprint.

ESPN's Joe Schad noted that Saban is "intrigued" by uptempo offenses. Losing Nussmeier may hurt, but his departure may wind up helping both Michigan and Alabama rejuvenate their offenses. 


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