Urban Meyer is transitioning back into a television role, but he couldn’t help but get a quick shot in at an old rival.
Meyer, now working as a FOX analyst on a crew that also features Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Brady Quinn, was asked if this would finally be the year Michigan wins the Big Ten title. Meyer, who retired (again) after seven remarkably successful seasons at Ohio State, seemed — to put it lightly — skeptical.
This was the initial exchange Meyer had with host Rob Stone.
Stone: “Is this finally Michigan’s year?”
Meyer: “Year for what?”
Meyer said the Wolverines have the talent, especially at wide receiver and offensive line, to compete with the best teams in the country. At the same time, Meyer wonders how well Michigan will be able to transition into a spread offense that is “fast enough not to lose a game.”
“Nowadays, it’s final four football. You cannot lose a game,” Meyer said. “And how do you do that? You gotta get that spread offense going.”
Michigan transitioning to spread offense in 2019
After collapsing down the stretch in 2018 — including getting blown out by Meyer’s Buckeyes — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh hired Josh Gattis as his offensive coordinator. Gattis was the longtime wide receivers coach for James Franklin at Vanderbilt and Penn State before spending 2018 as a co-offensive coordinator at Alabama. Now, for the first time, he will be a play-caller and will run more of a hurry-up spread offense. Harbaugh maintains he will be hands off and give Gattis full rein to run the offense the way he’d like.
“The guy that’s taking over is a 35-year-old coordinator, Gattis, that came from Alabama who has never called a play. He’s got to jump in and get this thing turned around,” Meyer said.
Meyer was more confident that the Michigan defense would bounce back from allowing a combined 103 points against Ohio State and the Peach Bowl loss to Florida.
“Don Brown is one of the best defensive coordinators in America. However, the last two games did not end well,” Meyer said. “He’s going to have to adapt. I think he will because I think he’s that good of a coach.”
Reggie Bush: ‘I think Jim Harbaugh is the issue’
Michigan is 38-14, with three 10-win seasons, under Harbaugh. But the Wolverines have yet to play in a Big Ten title game and have struggled in some big games.
When the conversation turned to Bush, he put the blame squarely on Harbaugh.
“Harbaugh’s record against top-10 teams is 1-9. You can bring in Josh Gattis or anybody else you want, but if that head coach is not right there’s a trickle-down effect. Because the head coach is the natural leader of that team,” Bush said. “I think Harbaugh is the issue.”
Harbaugh’s Wolverines open the season against Middle Tennessee on Aug. 31.
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