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Published: 1/11/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Nussmeier joins UM staff

New offensive coordinator seeks physical offense

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Doug Nussmeier, left, and Michigan coach Brady Hoke are all smiles Friday after Nussmeier was introduced as the Wolverines’ new offensive coordinator. Doug Nussmeier, left, and Michigan coach Brady Hoke are all smiles Friday after Nussmeier was introduced as the Wolverines’ new offensive coordinator.
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ANN ARBOR — Doug Nussmeier walked into the Junge Family Champions Center with a block M pin on the lapel of his suit and his family a few feet away from him, already clad in Michigan jackets.

Nussmeier was officially a member of the Michigan football coaching staff.

Michigan formally introduced Nussmeier as its new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Friday, two days after it announced the dismissal of Al Borges, the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator for the past three seasons.

As Alabama’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, Nussmeier groomed A.J. McCarron into a Heisman Trophy finalist and oversaw the development of one the Southeastern Conference’s more potent offenses.

Nussmeier’s challenge now will be to replicate that at Michigan, a program whose historical trademark has been the pro-style offense, which Alabama also runs.

While Michigan’s passing game was effective in 2013, its ground game struggled, especially in the second half of the season.

DOUG NUSSMEIER

Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach

Age: 43

Hometown: Lake Oswego, Ore.

Family: Wife, Christi; two sons, Garrett and Colton; one daughter, Ashlynn

Education: B.A., Business, University of Idaho, 1993

Playing career: Idaho, 1990 to 1993 — 1993 Walter Payton Award winner as the top football player in Division I-AA; New Orleans Saints, 1994 to 1997; Indianapolis Colts, 1998; British Columbi Lions, (CFL) 2000

Coaching career: British Columbia Lions (CFL), quarterbacks coach, 2001; Ottawa Renegades (CFL), offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, 2002; Michigan State, quarterbacks coach, 2003-2005; St. Louis Rams, quarterbacks coach, 2006-2007; Fresno State, offensive coordinator, 2008; Washington, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach 2009-2011; Alabama, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, 2012-2013; Michigan, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach

Nussmeier outlined his vision for Michigan’s offense: Tough, physical, and explosive.

“We want to be able to run the football, and we want to be able to put points on the board,” Nussmeier said. “We want to force the defense to defend all different elements of the game.”

To do that, Nussmeier said, it means eliminating quarterback sacks, eliminating plays of lost yardage, cutting down on undisciplined penalties, and shoring up a young, inexperienced offensive line in preparation for this fall.

“There’s young talent on this team, and we’ve got to develop it,” said Nussmeier, who was a record-setting quarterback at Idaho from 1990 to 1993.

Nussmeier said Hoke recently reached out to him in regards to the opening, but would not specify a time frame. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said that he and Hoke considered multiple candidates to replace Borges, but Brandon said, “I can tell you this was the No. 1, 2, and 3 candidate.”

Brandon said a contract is still being formulated for Nussmeier, yet debunked reports that Nussmeier would be among the top-five paid offensive coordinators in the country.

“I don’t know where those reports come from, and I don’t even know if those people know what coordinators are being paid,” Brandon said. “In some cases, that’s real hard information to get out.”

Nussmeier spent three seasons as Washington’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before he joined Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama.

Nussmeier was a finalist for the head coach position at Washington after Steve Sarkisian left for Southern California last month, and Nussmeier said he hasn’t ruled out his aspirations of one day becoming a head coach.

“I’d love to be a head coach in the right situation,” Nussmeier said. “As that relates to being here today? I’m excited about the opportunity to learn from Brady Hoke, to learn the system here and what he has in place, and to be in a room of people who are very good football coaches.”

Nussmeier will also have the task of debugging an offense at a program that’s produced pro-style quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Chad Henne, and Brian Griese, and one quarterback who flourished in Rich Rodriguez’s spread: Denard Robinson.

“I can’t say enough about the opportunity I had at Alabama, and it was a great opportunity,” Nussmeier said. “But Michigan football, [it’s] the opportunity to be here in the Big Ten … and having the opportunity to integrate in a staff and take this program to where we all want to go.

“The ability to be a part of that and to help these guys grow, I’m really, really excited about that opportunity.”

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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