In what can only be considered as a power move executed by athletic director Dave Brandon on Wednesday, the Michigan Wolverines parted ways with offensive coordinator Al Borges and signed up Doug Nussmeier for the job, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.
Nussmeier, the former OC at Alabama, inherits an offense that was absolutely dreadful under Borges in 2013. With the exception of a 41-point spurt against Ohio State and a RichRod-esque 63-point eruption against Indiana, Borges’ play calls led to the Land of Ineptitude all the way to the bitter end, a 31-14 shelling by K-State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
The advantage for Nussmeier is simple: He knows how to mold talent, something Borges failed to prove during three years in Ann Arbor.
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With stops at Auburn and Michigan State, among others, Nussmeier has the necessary experience and knowledge to fully utilize what’s waiting for him at Michigan—an offense that has potential but needs a makeover.
While calling plays for Nick Saban this past fall, Nussmeier orchestrated a running game that produced 205.6 yards per game (No. 28 overall). In 2012, Nussmeier’s suggestions and coaching gave the Tide 226 yards per game (No. 12 overall).
Oh, and Alabama won a national championship with A.J. McCarron, a previously underappreciated quarterback who lost just four times during his career in Tuscaloosa. Nussmeier’s guidance likely helped McCarron become a Heisman-caliber arm and household name, not to mention a young man with the confidence and ability to march his team to the championship.
That’s where Michigan wants to be—at the top of the heap when it’s all said and done.
Coaching at rival Michigan State from 2003-2005, Nussmeier helped develop Drew Stanton into an all-time Spartans quarterback.
Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News hit Twitter with a response from Stanton, who highly respects Michigan's newest coach:
Drew Stanton (coached by Nussmeier at MSU) told me Nussmeier is "everthing as advertised and more" said he was "in tears" when DN left MSU— angelique (@chengelis) January 9, 2014
Stanton admires Nussmeier's approach, via Chengelis:
Stanton on Nussmeier: "he has an unbelievable approach to the game that demands a lot ... but also has a way of making every day fun"— angelique (@chengelis) January 9, 2014
And did you hear that? Nussmeier makes the game "fun." Winning the Big Ten is anything but play time, but having a good time while pursuing a conference crown certainly wouldn't hurt Michigan, which was out of the league race by early November after falling 29-6 to Stanton's favorites.
It's clear that Nussmeier, who's a spry 43-year-old, has the energy and determination needed to hold the reins of the country's third-most valuable offense (in terms of dollars, via USA Today).
Nussmeier, Big Picture
For starters, Nussmeier is a lefty. Yup, just like sophomore-to-be Shane Morris, who completed 63 percent of his passes during the bowl loss. Being a former NFL and CFL quarterback, Nussmeier likely has a wealth of information to share with one of Michigan's brightest young stars.
As for the running game, the main deficiency of Team 134's horrid offense, the Wolverines should be in good shape under their new OC.
Nussmeier has worked with backs such as T.J. Yeldon, Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart, so he's aware of the amount of preparation required to produce a top-notch backfield. And for those who say, "Yeah, but he had 'Bama talent," hold on just a minute.
Hart was once bound for Michigan, but he decommitted in 2011 and headed to Tuscaloosa. Derrick Green, the heir apparent to Team 135's No. 1 spot, was offered by Alabama. Incoming freshman Jabrill Peppers, a superior all-around athlete, and Drake Harris, a top wideout, were also offered by the Tide.
It's not like there's a great disparity in talent here. Far from an apples-to-oranges comparison, Nussmeier's pool of players at Michigan will be similar to what he had at Alabama, minus the NFL-ready O-Lines of years past.
But Nussmeier can help combat the inconsistencies that ravaged Taylor Lewan's league of extraordinary gentlemen. The young trio in the middle—Graham Glasgow, Kyle Kalis and Jack Miller—needs attention, and Nussmeier, along with line coach Darrell Funk or whomever, can use the image of Alabama's fearsome fronts to develop the same thing in Ann Arbor.
It'll take time. Nussmeier doesn't make Michigan into 'Bama North by any means. But his success in SEC country can't be denied, and the Wolverines are in desperate need of an accelerated scoring attack, one which effectively produces and holds onto the ball.
Herbie Likes Hire
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, a proud Ohio State Buckeyes alum, approves of Brandon's decision to reload with Nussmeier.
Hoke on Borges
In a send-off released by Michigan via MGoBlue.com, Hoke said he was thankful for Borges' efforts.
Decisions like these [firing a coach] are never easy. I have a great amount of respect for Al as a football coach and, more importantly, as a person. I appreciate everything he has done for Michigan Football for the past three seasons.
Like writing on the wall, Borges' eventual departure seemed all but obvious to most media members and fans. There was no real reason—not even Brandon's staff-will-return declaration—that Borges would step foot in The Big House after being embarrassed by Jake Waters, a former JUCO quarterback, and the Wildcats during a relatively meaningless postseason encounter.
Borges is yesterday's news. It's now time for Nussmeier to make headlines.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81