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Film Review: Josh Gattis is the new ‘Canes O.C.

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The Broyles award winning play-caller comes to Coral Gables from a playoff program in Michigan.

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Gattis has been hired by the Miami Hurricanes as their next offensive coordinator. Gattis, the most recent recipient of the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach in football, comes to Coral Gables from the Michigan Wolverines. Gattis will more than likely serve as the OC and wide receivers coach- a position left vacant by Bryan McClendon who returned to UGA before coaching a game for the ‘Canes.

A Durham, NC native, Gattis played safety at Wake Forest University before before short stints in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. After retiring from playing football, Gattis joined the UNC staff under Butch Davis as a graduate assistant in 2010. Josh Gattis was then on the move heading to Western Michigan to coach WR’s in 2011.

Gattis then linked up with James Franklin at Vanderbilt where Gattis served as wide receivers coach and offensive recruiting coordinator for two seasons. Gattis followed Franklin to Penn State in the same role, while also taking on the title of passing game coordinator for three seasons.

In 2018, Gattis headed south to Tuscaloosa, AL to serve as Nick Saban’s co-OC with Mike Locksley while also coaching receivers. In 2019, Gattis joined Harbaugh in Michigan to serve as the OC of the Wolverines the past three seasons.

The 38 yard old Gattis joins Kevin Steele as the two coordinators for Mario Cristobal’s first coaching staff at Miami. These are two heavy hitters in the college football world that bring experience in working with head coaches like Butch Davis, James Franklin, Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles.


The Doppler

While in Ann Arbor, Gattis’ offenses ranked 21st, 42nd, and 19th per Bill Connelly’s SP+ metrics. There had been many rumors that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh meddled in the ‘20 offense and part of the Harbaugh contract re-negotiations included giving Gattis more control of the offense.

In ‘21, the Wolverines offense scored 35.8 points per game, good for 16th in the country. While QB Cade McNamara had pedestrian numbers with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions, the running game was on fire for the other UM. Michigan nearly had two 1,000 yard backs in Hassan Haskins (1327 yards) and Blake Corum (952 yards) while combining for 31 TD’s on the ground.

What about explosive plays? Ronnie Bell’s one catch this season went for 76-yards and a TD. Andrel Anthony averaged 20.7 yards per catch with three scores, and Roman Wilson averaged 16.8 yards per catch with three more TD’s through the air. The two backs averaged 4.9 and 6.6 yards per carry on the ground.

Gattis run in Ann Arbor saw a variety of QB’s in Shea Patterson, Joe Milton, McNamara, Dylan McCaffrey, and JJ McCarthy. While Patterson had a fine season at Michigan, none of those QB’s have the upside of Tyler Van Dyke.


Recruiting

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 Michigan at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coach Cristobal doesn’t just want X’s and O’s guys, he wants recruiters too. Cristobal knows that acquisition is the most important factor of the ‘three elements’ (development and deployment being the other two). Without a roster loaded with Blue Chips, you’re typically not making the College Football Playoff. Even when you do (Cincinnati) you aren’t making a dent towards the title game.

Gattis’ top five signees per 247 Sports come from three different programs, which is a good sign. Two are from Michigan, two from Alabama, and one from Penn State. Three are wide receivers, while two are defensive ends. That shows that Gattis doesn’t just recruit his position, but also nationally and all over the depth chart.

The players also span multiple state such as: Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey; and he’s signed top players from Oregon, Delaware, California, Maryland and Florida.


Michigan 42 - Ohio State 27

Harbaugh’s Wolverines finally got over the hump and beat the Buckeyes, in a snow game in the Big House no less. McNamara averaged 8.4 yards per pass attempt but threw a bad interception in the end zone. Haskins rushed for 169 yards and five (yes, five) TD’s on 6-yards per carry. Corum averaged 14.5 (yes, 14.5) yards per carry against OSU that afternoon. The Wolverines actually scored six times on the ground in the ‘21 edition of The Game.

The other UM had three double-digit receivers, and those three averaged 27.5, 24 and 34 yards per catch. All of these data points sound fabricated but I promise you they’re all as real as the ESPN box score.

Above- Remember my piece on Joe Brady’s bunch sets? Gattis is using a condensed twins set in the clip above.

Above- two pullers AND a back side RPO to the bunch. Gattis is going to have fun with Jaylan Knighton and the new and improved Will Mallory.

Above- another condensed bunch set, this time from trips.

Above- Inside zone with the TE picking up the DE.

Above- Remember the OODA Loop? A lot of eye candy for OSU’s defense with the high motion into a swing and the slot coming back on the end around for the give with the TE lead blocking in space. Eyes are going everywhere causing the OSU loop to stop and the Michigan loop to keep on loopin’

Above- Uncharacteristically risky throw from McNamara. He’s typically safer with the football. Van Dyke made a few of these throws in ‘21, too. Think Pitt, UNC, and FSU. Just have to go over his pre-snap looks and post-snap rotations again.

Above- We’ve been talking hard decks on the SOTU Twitter when I start breaking down a game from some All-22 film. The hard deck is at 7-yards so this CB is well inside by playing press. This means if your WR can beat him, go for it on the fade. The only help is middle of the field (closed) so he’s far away for help pre-snap.

Above- Here’s the GIF of the fade explosive reception. Once the WR passes the CB’s hips it’s over.

Above- Outside zone. It’s a great play here and maybe even better if the RB cuts back inside but that’s easy to say from here.

Above- Wide sweep with the back side guard and the H pulling for the RB. So many variations, the OSU defense constantly looks slow adjusting.

Above- As some guy we used to know would say, (what was his name again?) “I’d steal that.” So would Rhett Lashlee. Condensed bunch, motion, flea flicker on a wheel to the motion guy. Visual - cognitive nightmare for the OSU defense.

Above- GH Counter. Simple stuff. Guard kicks out the DE and the H wraps to the LB. The back has to show patience to let the wrap block happen and follow the leader.


The wrap

Ladies and gents, Miami has hit a new echelon compared to past hires. I liked the Rhett Lashlee hire, don’t get me wrong, but an SMU OC isn’t a CFB Playoff caliber OC. Gattis is a fast-riser, a big name, and he brings recruiting chops with his X&O skills. Gattis may not stay long, but again, who really will in this modern era? If he’s a head coaching candidate by ‘23 that means something has gone very right in Coral Gables.

Enjoy this one.