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Penn State Football: Gattis Set For Beaver Stadium Return

by on October 15, 2019 3:55 PM

Penn State fans will notice a familiar face on the Michigan sideline this weekend as former wide receivers coach Josh Gattis continues his stint as the Wolverines' offensive coordinator.

Gattis, who returns to Beaver Stadium for the first time since leaving the program in early 2018 for Alabama, has called plays for Michigan this season following a year spent at Alabama under coach Nick Saban. Gattis was briefly linked to a similar position at Maryland before a late pitch by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh swayed him to a different Big Ten East school.

"When you kind of look at them on tape and on film, starting with their offense, obviously we've got a lot of history with Josh Gattis," Penn State coach James Franklin said on Tuesday. "Very happy for him professionally, very happy for him personally. Obviously a great opportunity to go be the offensive coordinator at the University of Michigan.

"Everybody knows that we were together for a long time. Josh was with me at Vanderbilt for two years and then here at Penn State and did a fantastic job. I want to thank Josh for the job that he did when we were together, and again, very, very happy for him and his family."

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Playing against a Big Ten foe always breeds a sense of familiarity, and the depth at which video is edited and broken down in the modern era of college football has done little to mask tendencies on both sides of the ball.

Even so, Gattis brings some insight to the Michigan sideline as far as the Nittany Lions' general philosophies and schemes, but the same could be said for Penn State as well.

Michigan might have a slight edge in this department, but it's one that doesn't seem to bother Franklin, perhaps because of the changes already made under second-year offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne and the fact so much about football comes down to execution rather than surprise.

"Obviously they have familiarity with us. We have familiarity with them," Franklin added. "But again, there's some Penn State in there, there's some Alabama in there, there's some Michigan in there. So there's familiarity in both directions. I would say in some ways they're probably more familiar with us than we are with them because Josh ... didn't leave right from Penn State and go there. He's had other experiences. He's had other influences."

Whatever the case might be Michigan's offense is still looking to find a consistency to match the elite level of its defense. Under Gattis and Harbaugh the Wolverines have struggled at times, although all while still averaging 29.5 points a game in Big Ten play, fifth best in the conference.

While anything is possible, Saturday's contest doesn't seem destined to be the third-straight blowout between the two teams. And if it is, the presence of a former Penn State assistant on the Wolverine sideline likely won't be the reason why.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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