What Sherrone Moore said about the Michigan football offense in spring ball
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — You can’t exactly call him a new sheriff in town because Sherrone Moore was the co-offensive coordinator the past two years. But last year, he wasn’t playing second fiddle to Josh Gattis as he was in 2021. Now, with Matt Weiss gone, he has the sole responsibility of the offense.
Michigan football is fully entrenched in spring ball, with the spring game coming up on April 1. Moore met with the media on Tuesday for the first time since before the Wolverines’ loss to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal, to discuss the state of the offense, the mindset as the maize and blue work to return to the playoff, and more.
Here is everything he had to say.
The M flag planted at Ohio State now being in the team museum
Love it. I love seeing that. Think about that game every day. Think about every moment. When you walk in the building, you see it as soon as you walk in. Obviously, you see all the things about the rivalry and what it is, but you think about that every day. So it’s constantly on my mind. It’s constantly on the players’ minds. And we’re always preparing for it.
How much motivation is there to threepeat against OSU?
I think human nature, you’re gonna remember that moment, you can remember how it was, but at the same time, that was last year, and there’s new year ahead of us. So we have new goals, and we’re just gonna continue to keep working.
How much his play calling is changing this year now that he's the sole OC?
Yeah, I mean, as far as play-calling duties last year, I’m not going to talk about the specifics. So good try. So you know, I was part of the play calling last year, but, this year, I have a great staff.
First of all that I’ve worked with — coach Campbell, coach Newsome, coach Hart, coach Bellamy, all the GAs, all the analysts. I have an incredible group of guys that are all working in the same line, same vision, to help us win championships, to beat Ohio State, to beat Michigan State to beat Penn State, to win the Big Ten their end goal. So we’re all working on the same vision to do that. Is it a little bit more work? A little bit, but this is something I’ve prepared for my whole life. Motivated to do and I’m just gonna continue to work and only keep my head down and do what I know best.
Who's impressed him of the early enrollees?
I mean, I love — first of all, the guys have been great additions from a culture standpoint, just a great fit. Love all the guys, love all the kids. Start with the guys up front; all those guys have been awesome. Just excited to keep them rolling and get ready for fall camp. Spring ball’s come and we’ve got the spring game coming up and excited to see the progress of everybody, especially our young freshmen.
Amir (Herring), just to watch him grow, just to learn the system and see what he’s doing. He’s been really good. Really, really excited about these young receivers, to see what they do. They’ve been — they’re just like little puppies out there, but they’re just full of energy. Full playmaking ability. We’re just excited about that.
What was the process for the spring game draft?
Yeah, I’m not gonna reveal that information.
What's the most important thing he's looking for in the spring game?
Yes, just seeing — you’re in a game day atmosphere, especially guys that haven’t played in a game day atmosphere. Younger guys, or guys that haven’t played, just see how they react, see how they react in The Big House, who they are, how they react with fans. And it’s not the practice atmosphere with the coaches right there behind them. So that’s the biggest thing for us.
I know like, we know what Karsen Barnhart is going to do. We know what Trente is gonna do. We know J.J. And he’s just gotten better and better. So I’m seeing those young guys to see how they react in that atmosphere. And just let them all have fun. The big thing we’re wanting to do is go out there, compete. Enjoy the time, embrace the time, and have a lot of fun.
On his relationship with J.J. McCarthy
Yeah, I mean, me and J.J. have always been close. I was part of his process of while he was coming out of high school, so I’ve known him since he was a freshman in high school. So we’ve always been close knit. And we were super close last year and it’s just grown and grown and grown every day. So there really hasn’t been a crazy-like maturation of a relationship because we’ve all been really close.
But to watch him and his progression, his confidence after being a full-year starter has been something really cool to see. You can just see his confidence. You can see his bravado, you can see how he carries himself, the control, the command of everything he has in the offense. It’s turned up to that next level you would think it would, just excited to see him just keep progressing, keep growing.
On the multiple seniors coming back
Yeah, they love being here, they love everything that that we’re doing. They just love being around. Sometimes you’ve got to kick them out because they always just want to be here. So it just says that this thing is, it’s bigger than really a culture to brotherhood. It’s something that you really, it’s hard to describe unless you’re around it every day.
You guys probably saw videos of Blake lifting in the weight room, and to watch the joy and happiness with everybody around him, to watch him be successful in that moment, it’s just like, that’s what this team is built off. It’s there’s no one individual person that thinks they’re bigger than anybody else. They’re all for each other. And they’re willing to do anything they can and make sure that their teammates are successful so it’s just really cool to be a part of it and see it all come to fruition.
Does Blake lift as much as the offensive line?
He’s a freak. I mean, he benches as much as many dudes that are gonna be in the draft. So I mean, you put up 30 reps for 225 pounds, there’s not many people in the draft that do that. Mostly it’s offensive linemen, defensive linemen, you get a rare running back or a linebacker. But he’s a special dude.
What will this offense look like? Will there be more passing?
Yeah, we want to be balanced, be able to do both. Really, the division is what our players are good at, what J.J. wants to throw. How we’re going to attack the defense every week is going to change. There will probably be a game we’ll run the ball more and people will be mad at us. And if it helps us win, we’ll be OK with it.
So, really, it’s about winning. Whatever we got to do to win, that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re not going to value the opinions of people that don’t understand what we’re doing. We’re gonna do whatever it takes to win. So whatever that is, in that game, if it’s throw, pass, we’re going to do .So that’s the vision and built it around our players.
What have Benjamin Hall and CJ Stokes looked like this spring?
Yeah, they’ve been awesome. Ben Hall — we knew he was a good back. He showed some things that obviously Mike knew. Mike does a great job recruiting and evaluating guys. And he’s a guy that wasn’t very highly ranked, but he walks the building, his legs are giant — they’re huge. He’s built. He’s always in here. You’ve gotta kick him out. He’s always walking around with a water bottle with his headphones on just always locked in, focused. And he goes on the field, he runs like a train. So excited to see him and progress.
And CJ has been great. He’s just continued to build on the progress that he’s had. To watch him really evolve has been really cool. So, excited about that back, we’re as deep as we’ve been back there. And you don’t even have two and seven rolling out there. So excited to watch them get back to it.
Will Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards be on the field at the same time?
Yeah, I can’t tell you that.
The center competition to replace Olu Oluwatimi
Yeah, it’s a competition. I mean, even when Olu came in here, he didn’t come in and he was first on the depth chart. He had to earn it. So at every position, it’s earned. There’s guys that have started games that just won’t let you take their spot. And that’s just how they work. That’s how they go about their business. So if you think you’re gonna go take Trevor Keegan’s spot, you can go try, but he’s probably not gonna let you. Same thing with Zak Zinter. And Karsen, he’s the same way.
So, it’s a competition everywhere. So everybody knows that any given day that you have off-day, you have an off-week, your spot’s up for grabs. So everybody, not just the centers. It’s just competing, and we have the depth with guys that they understand and know that you can’t just go about your business in a way that’s nonchalant, you got to be ready to attack because we’re striving for big things.
How his role has changed
I mean, just a little bit. I mean, there’s a little bit more work involved because you’re looking at every single piece of it. I did the same thing last year. So there’s not too much difference, just be on game days the play-calling will be a little different.
To me, I see it all the same, just because I always have a watchful eye of everything that’s going on. So just try to delegate a little bit more, which has helped but I have a great staff to do that. So it’s been awesome, especially with Kirk and the guys have been phenomenal. So I don’t come in here and work at all. It’s fun for me. This is just too fun for me. I live a dream right now. So I’m just gonna continue to grind as hard as I can and live out this dream that we’re living in.
Building chemistry on the OL while players are waiting to get involved
Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of that chemistry people talk about, when you jell, you don’t really know until you get to like halfway through training camp and really hit that first game. So the chemistry is going to be built, it’s starting to be built now. It’ll be built in the summertime when they’re working together, working out together, and then really, we’ll figure it out in the fall. That’s when you really figure out who those guys are going to be, who’s going to help you. And then that’s when you build the chemistry because you can’t build it off.
They hang out together. They’re all like best friends. You can’t see one without the other. They’re a crazy group. I try to stay away from them, because they’re nuts. I love them to death. It’s an amazing group to be around. The spirit, the joy, the fun that they have together is really awesome. And you can just see the chemistry getting built, but you’re really going to feel the full chemistry happen in the fall.
Did he endorse elevating Kirk Campbell to QB coach?
Yeah, I was a big fan, big fan of Kirk. Kirk actually worked hand-in-hand with me a lot last year. So it was easy for me to know. And he has already gained the trust of everybody in the building. For coach it was pretty easy. Coach saw it and understood what his value was to the program. So it was very easy for us to make that change for us, to be successful.
Does he see him correcting J.J. McCarthy in real time?
A lot. It feels like he’s like me on the field coaching the quarterbacks. He’s ripping them, it’s great. I love it!
No, it’s awesome. He does a really good job. He’s extremely detailed. He works extremely hard. He’s on top of them. He corrects them. He coaches them extremely hard. But just like I do with the linemen, he loves them hard. And they know, they understand that it’s not the tone. It’s the message and they’re responding. They’re responding well, and they’ve just taken off and he’s done an incredible job with them.
Having incoming transfers who were previously team captains
Yeah, the first thing, if they walk in the building, they don’t act like they were captains anywhere, from a standpoint of they’re not trying to boss people around. Because if you do this, I mean, they’re all just bought-in team guys trying to just do their part to win. That’s all they’re trying to do, every single one of them. And on the field, they’ve all been awesome. Drake’s been a little limited, but he’ll be ready for fall. And then AJ, he’s a stud, Jack’s a stud. And it’s just been fun to be around them. They’ve been they’ve been awesome. So it’s cool to have guys like that, that — and LaDarius — that were all captains. It speaks volumes to the program that we’re attracting dudes like that, that have been leaders in programs that want to come here.
How much does he look at the offensive attack vs. TCU as a success?
It’s motivation, because we lost. So there’s no — we know we threw the ball more and all that, but we lost the game. So we’re like that’s in the back of the mind every single second when we walk in the building along with that game. What could have been, what the motivation is. So we understand, we already knew what J.J.’s capabilities were, but it’s just motivation for the future and what we’re gonna do,
But was it encouraging to see the passing game work like that?
No, not really. Yeah, not really, just because there were just situations where we had to do it. So again, we did whatever we needed to do to win at that time. And that’s what we felt like was best. So going through the air was the process. there was no like, that’s part of the offense, whether we need to do that or not. So for us, it’s just again, motivation because, at the end of the day, we lost the game. So doesn’t really matter how good it looked at the end. You looked at the scoreboard, we didn’t win. That’s what we want, we just want to win.