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Why 2019 could be “The Year” for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan

The Harbaugh Era

The Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan has been up and down.  In 2015 Harbaugh and Michigan surpassed expectations and won 10 games, which were five more then they won the previous season.  In 2016 and 2018 Michigan had ten win seasons but fell apart down the stretch.  2019 is a crucial year for Michigan.

Jim Harbaugh has brought Michigan back to being relevant in the College Football world, but that is not enough.  Michigan hasn’t won a Big Ten title since 2004 and hasn’t beaten their arch rival, Ohio State, since 2011.  This year that has to change.

Michigan had all the pieces last season, and many expected them to go into Columbus on Thanksgiving weekend and win.  That didn’t happen as the Wolverines got demolished 62-39 and then fell to Florida in the Peach Bowl.  The talent was there, but they just couldn’t put it all together at the end of the season.  Michigan did lose a lot from that 2018 team, especially defensively, but there are some reasons to think 2019 could be the special season Wolverine fans have been dreaming of.

Offensive Changes

One of those reasons is the addition of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.  Michigan’s offense was a huge reason for their struggles at the end of last season.  The offense was plodding and predictable and didn’t utilize Michigan’s best athletes such as Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, and Nico Collins.

Josh Gattis was brought in to fix that problem.  In a recent interview, he said the offense is going to go fast and rarely huddle.  Gattis wants to turn the Wolverine offense into an aggressive and explosive unit.  By doing that, Michigan’s best athletes will most likely be more involved than last season.

Championship teams have great quarterbacks and Michigan has that with Shea Patterson.  Patterson did struggle down the stretch in 2018, but he was one of the reasons Michigan was able to win ten games.  Michigan assistant coach Ed Warinner said that Gattis’s offense is “tailor-made” for Patterson.  With the weapons he has around him, 2019 could be a monster year for Shea.

The Line

Another promising sign for Michigan heading into 2019 is the offensive line.  Offensive Line coach Ed Warinner turned around Michigan’s offensive line in 2018 and will have 4 of 5 starters returning.  The offensive line could turn from average to excellent in 2019.

Michigan played their worst game of the season in Columbus last season, but people need to take into account that the horseshoe is one of the toughest places to play in the country.  Ohio State played out of their minds, and Michigan just didn’t have a response.  This year the game is in the Big House where Michigan was undefeated last season and Urban Meyer, who was undefeated against Michigan, is not at the helm for the Buckeyes anymore.  If Michigan is going to end the losing streak against Ohio State anytime soon, 2019 might be their best shot.

Michigan has the talent and the coaching staff to take down Ohio State and win the Big Ten, but they also did in 2016 and 2018 and couldn’t get the job done.  Will they have the breakthrough everyone has been waiting for in 2019?  We shall see.

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