What had been speculated for days became official with Michigan State announcing the hiring of former Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach.
The move announced today was part of a wide-sweeping staff alteration by Mark Dantonio, who has a deep background and common offensive mind-set as Bollman.
The other key move was the promotion of quarterbacks coach Dave Warner as co-offensive coordinator. Warner will call plays and also now will coach running backs; former running backs coach Brad Salem will take over quarterbacks.
Don’t expect the Spartan offense to change radically—if at all—from a philosophical standpoint. Some feel fresh ideas are needed. Again, expect more of the same ground-oriented/play-action pass style that has become the norm under Dantonio, who has taken MSU to six bowls in a row.
Will basically “more of the same” be enough to pull the Spartan offense out of a malaise? If tweaks are made, will they be significant? Stay tuned, but it doesn’t seem likely.
This is a Michigan State attack that struggled mightily last season under coordinator Dan Roushar, who left to be running backs coach of the New Orleans Saints after a 2012 season that saw the Spartan offense flounder, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (20.0 ppg) and ninth overall (359.3 ypg). The passing game was a major issue, as the quarterbacks and receivers never developed any consistency during a disappointing 7-6 season that included five home losses.
Making the new coordinator’s job more complex is the loss of stud running back Le’Veon Bell a year early to the NFL. He led the Big Ten with a per-game rushing average of 137.9 yards and ran for 1,793 yards. He also caught 32 passes. The bottom line: Bell literally and figuratively was the Spartan offense in 2012, as quarterback Andrew Maxwell and the wideouts struggled for consistency. Speaking of quarterbacks, will Connor Cook get a shot to unseat Maxwell?
Bollman, 58, had been hired to coach the offensive line under new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell. But he never really got unpacked in West Lafayette, as he is headed to East Lansing to work with Dantonio.
Bollman and Dantonio know each other from their days at Ohio State, when Bollman was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach (2001-11) and Dantonio was the defensive coordinator (2001-03) under Jim Tressel. The duo helped the Buckeyes win the 2002 national championship. But Bollman didn’t call plays in Columbus; Tressel did.
Bollman coached the offensive line at Boston College last season. He coached at Michigan State from 1995-97 under Nick Saban.