Michigan looking to shore up run game with Buckeyes target

  • Sherrone Moore wants his Michigan Wolverines offense to remain ground-centric.
  • Yes, he did cross enemy lines by hiring Tony Alford to replace Mike Hart on his staff.
  • Does poaching Ohio State's longtime running backs coach keep Michigan on top?

Sherrone Moore, Michigan Wolverines
Sherrone Moore, Michigan Wolverines / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

Give Sherrone Moore a ton of credit for making a strong, calculated hire by prying Tony Alford away from arch rival Ohio State. Alford had been an institution as the Buckeyes' long-time running backs coach. With Michigan legend Mike Hart not coming back to coach the tailbacks under the new Wolverines regime, Moore stuck it to the Buckeyes where it hurts with this very late offseason hire.

With so many players and coaches going to the NFL this offseason, Moore had to act swiftly in being able to formulate a great Michigan staff. Being able to land former Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale was simply outstanding. However, it still does not make up for the mass exodus of talent that left Ann Arbor in droves only a few months ago...

Alford helped develop the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, JK Dobbins, Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson while in Columbus. Being able to run the football effectively is so beyond paramount in the Big Ten, especially once the weather starts to change. There is a lot to unpack here, including how Chip Kelly fits into the equation on Ryan Day's staff in Columbus. For now, Michigan got a good one.

The best thing about this hire for Michigan is it gives the Wolverines a strong offensive identity.

The bad news about this hire is they might only be able to win one way now: Low-scoring games.

CFB rumors: Tony Alford expected to be the next Michigan RB coach

As long as the Wolverines have Donovan Edwards, they will have one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Despite losing Blake Corum to the 2024 NFL Draft, I expect for Michigan to be a force on the ground in what will probably be Edwards's final season of college football before he inevitably turns pro. The big concern I have for Michigan is how good will Alex Orji be as a starting quarterback.

We know that he can run, but can he throw? Frankly, it may not matter in most of the games that Michigan plays. However, inexperience under center could come back to haunt the Wolverines down the line. Then again, Michigan not being painfully desperate to acquire a quarterback in the transfer portal may indicate that they are very high on Orji. Better yet, the offense may run through Edwards.

To me, I think adding a coach of Alford's caliber helps keep Michigan in its bitter rivalry series with Ohio State. While the Buckeyes should win this year's installment of The Game, can you even imagine what will happen to Day and the rest of the Ohio State staff if they were to lose to Michigan for a third year in a row? Perhaps adding a coach of Alford's ilk can keep this Michigan offense one step ahead?

For now, you have to applaud Moore for having the stones to make a hire few other coaches would.

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