Connect with us


Is The Michigan Football Offense Holding Something Back?

What has been going on with Sherrone Moore, JJ McCarthy, and the Michigan football offense ahead of the Ohio State game?



Michigan football, JJ McCarthy, Sherrone Moore, Ohio State
Nov 18, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) attempts a pass against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few weeks, leading up to its game against the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan football offense has been pretty bland. With offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore calling the shots, just as he has all season long, JJ McCarthy has been given fewer chances to throw the ball, with the rushing attack being emphasized against teams like Penn State and Maryland, regardless of its effectiveness. This has led many, myself included, to wonder if the Wolverines are holding back with “The Game” right around the corner.

Michigan football offense has felt limited over the past few weeks

Two weeks ago, Michigan football ran the ball over 30 straight times against the No. 1 rushing defense in the country: the Penn State Nittany Lions. All said and done, Sherrone Moore picked up his second victory as acting head coach this year via a 24-15 win in Happy Valley; the following weekend (yesterday), Moore grabbed another win, this time beating Maryland 31-24 in SECU Stadium.

In six days, Sherrone Moore will coach his fourth game of the year as head coach when No. 2 Ohio State comes to town. After two straight bland offensive performances, it feels as if the Michigan football offense has been limited — why is this?

Sherrone Moore could be keeping everything off the film

One possibility is that Michigan football doesn’t want to show Ohio State its offensive cards, so to speak. This would make a lot of sense too; after all, Michigan’s offense was more dynamic against Penn State and Maryland while the Wolverines were searching for the edge, though once the game(s) felt more in-hand, Michigan settled into its run-only scheme.

Is JJ McCarthy battling an injury?

A few weeks ago, JJ McCarthy came up limping after taking a notable hit — this is something that has not been talked about a lot, though there is a chance that he is battling an ankle sprain. If that is the case, Michigan football is likely trying to hide that as much as possible right now, especially since Ohio State’s pass rush is up there with the nation’s elite, such as Penn State.

Offensive line woes

The offensive line has been solid when it comes to run blocking; however, Michigan football has seen a lot of subpar offensive tackle play over the past few weeks. Against Penn State, the Wolverines seemed to change their offensive scheme due to Chop Robinson and Dani Dannis-Sutton — the Nittany Lions’ two elite pass rushers — terrorizing Karsen Barnhart and LaDarius Henderson.

Against Maryland, the tackle play was nothing short of disappointing for the second weekend in a row; in fact, it has been an area of concern all year long in Ann Arbor. With that said, if the tackles can’t give JJ McCarthy more than a few seconds of time to throw, the playbook is severely limited, and it essentially forces Sherrone Moore to call running play after running play.

Regardless, we’ll see how the Michigan football offense, Sherrone Moore, and JJ McCarthy handle Ohio State and its elite defense next weekend.

Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics and Big Ten content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Publisher at Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball as a member of the credentialed media at both schools. Right now, CJ writes for Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. He also does some credentialed basketball coverage. Previously, CJ has made stops with sites like GBMWolverine, Saturday Blitz, Steeler Nation, and more.