How Michigan football's new OL coach Sherrone Moore brings the 'juice'

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Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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A couple weeks ago, Michigan football's offensive line had a rough practice period.

When it was over, offensive line coach Sherrone Moore gathered all the players for a talk.

Moore could have used the moment to critique the players on what they did incorrectly. But he chose a different path.

“The moment was pretty intense,” said left tackle Ryan Hayes Friday. “He’s just talking about how he’s going to give us his all this season, he always gives his all for us. Everybody was listening while he was talking to us. It was a powerful moment. You just knew this guy cares about us, loves us and will do anything for us.”

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Sherrone Moore during a 2019 game.
Sherrone Moore during a 2019 game.

It was an illustration of Moore's coaching style — and why he has been a big hit with Michigan's offensive linemen this spring. Earlier this offseason, Moore — previously the tight ends coach — replaced Ed Warinner as the offensive line coach while also adding the title of co-offensive coordinator.

It was a big move for Moore, who was an offensive lineman at Oklahoma but had never been the primary offensive line coach before.

“He’s definitely brought a new energy to the offensive line,” said right guard Zak Zinter on April 1. “The emotion and the passion that he has for the game, he wants us to get better every single day. He puts everything he’s got into it. It really shows to us, as players, the passion and emotion that he brings to practice. And it’s been awesome.”

Hayes also mentioned the energy Moore, 35, brings.

“He’s just brought such a juice to the room,” Hayes said. “People are playing with confidence. They’re not really scared to make mistakes and stuff.”

That aspect of Moore's coaching seems to have been needed in the aftermath of the Wolverines' 2-4 season. After the season, Hayes described the atmosphere as "pretty low." Then Michigan shook up the coaching staff, adding six new assistant coaches, and moving Moore over from the tight ends.

“It’s just a new life with coach Moore and some of the coaches around here,” Hayes said. “It’s just energy. You feel it when you walk into the building. It’s hard to explain. It’s just a different vibe when you come in here. It’s brighter, almost. Everybody wants to work. Everyone wants to get better. It’s just good. A good deal.”

Of course, that rejuvenation doesn't guarantee better play from the offensive line. But the position group's overall struggles in 2020 might have had a silver lining, according to Hayes. Because so many of the original starters missed time due to injury (including Hayes, who missed the final four games), younger players like Zinter, Trevor Keegan and Karsen Barnhart all gained valuable experience.

Now, those players are parlaying last season's playing time into more solidified roles. With the caveats that “there's been some stuff with COVID,” “everything shifts” and that “nothing's locked in, ever,” Hayes named the first-string offensive line as him at left tackle, Keegan at left guard, Andrew Vastardis at center, Zinter at right guard and Andrew Stueber at right tackle.

The unit's objectives are simple and remain unchanged: “We want to be able to run the ball and protect the quarterback,” Hayes said. “Just do all that stuff, and do it to the highest level possible.”

And it seems Hayes and his teammates believe their new position coach can help them achieve those goals.

“You really just want to go to war for the guy, honestly," Hayes said. "When he talks, people listen. He just brings a different sort of energy, I guess.”

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: How Michigan football's new OL coach Sherrone Moore brings the 'juice'