Take a deep breath. Let it out. A new Michigan football season is about to begin. Finally. A chance to forget about last year. Because last year, was, in short, a disappointment. I found myself disappointed after our 5th fumble against Notre Dame. Disappointed when K.C Lopata missed a 20 something yard FG wide right and I realized that Michigan was about to lose to a MAC team. A bad MAC team. Disappointed after the 20,000th botched punt return by Martavious Odoms. Or the Ohio State game. Or 3-9. 3-9!!! What are we, Indiana?! But all that's gone now. We've got a new QB, an offensive line heading towards competence, and Brandon Graham. We will be better. But not that much better. After reading about 20 college football magazines and a bunch of MgoBlue blogs, here's my position by position breakdown for the offense.
Tate Forcier. Say the name out loud. Say it again. Say it again. Remember it. Because his performance alone will decide if Michigan's offense was like the RichRod-Pat-White-40+-points-a-game-thing that WV had going on a few years ago, or the sack fest that was last year. He showed some promise in the Spring Game, throwing for 4 touchdowns and running for another. But recent history is against him. Freshman quarterbacks usually don't do so well. Do you know who was the only freshman QB in the past decade to lead his team to a conference championship? You guessed it, Chad Henne. And he had a star studded defense and Braylon Edwards to help him out. Tate has neither of these. What he does have is quick feet and a familiar face at UM in his brother Jason (remember him?) who's attending Michigan Grad School. And then there's Denard Robinson, the speedster from Florida who was DISAPPOINTED when he ran a 10.44 hundred meter (the 2nd fastest high school time in the country). He arrived at UM over the summer, and is competing with Tate for the starting job. The general consensus is that Tate is the better passer while Denard is the better runner. Both could see playing time. And Nick Sheridan, the overwhelmed sometimes starter last year, will also compete for the job. If he's starting in a game, hide, because it means that we're screwed.
The reins have been handed over to Brandon Minor and only Brandon Minor for the 1st time in his career. After the Mcguffie reign ended, Minor broke out against Penn State, running over defenders with a vengeance to lead Michigan to a shocking 17-14 half time lead. Reality set in again in the 2nd half, but Minor had made his mark. He enters his final season a clear #1 back, and ready to annihilate anything and everything that stands in his way. Unless he gets injured again, which has become a regularity. His excessive north-south style and upright running make him an easy target to get blown up by various linebackers. If he can stay healthy, expect him to be one of the top backs in the big ten. If not, he could look a lot like he did in the 1st half of last season. Behind Minor is a variety of backs, most who should see some playing time this season. Most are also injury prone. Carlos Brown, Michael Shaw, and Kevin Grady lead the pack. At fullback, we have Mark Moundros, a redshirted junior out of Farmington Hills, Michigan. His neck crushing style influenced Rich Rod to insert the conventional I formation into the offense more often than planned. If he stays healthy, he could play a big role.
Last year's WR corps was young, inexperienced, and seemingly undisciplined. Everyone of note returns, though, so hypothetically they should be better, right? Right? Please? Fortunately, there were a couple of guys last year who were actually decent. Greg Matthews, the ill fated #1 receiver last year, is more suited to be a #2 kinda guy. He lacks the wicked awesome speed of Braylon Edwards or Mario Manningham, so he has trouble getting separation from the defensive backs. He does have great hands however, which makes up in part for his only semi-spectacular speed. Martavious Odoms was the starting slot receiver by default last year, after a summer injury to contender Terrance Robinson. He showed flashes of competence in the mid season games, but late season games against Northwestern and Ohio State were somewhat of a downfall. Odoms fumbled numerous times and dropped a bunch of passes, and people started knocking on him. Now he's a kind of a question mark. I suppose the late season woes could be blamed on the winter, a form of which Odoms (who is from sunny Florida), had never experienced. If he can learn to catch in the cold, he could be great. Tight End Kevin Koger, an Ohio recruit who chose Michigan over Ohio State, took over for failing predecessors and started 6 games. He Caught a touchdown pass, which is memorable on a team that had only 11 total passing touchdowns. Consider him capable, nothing more, nothing less.
In the 1st couple games last year, the line, like most of the team, was terrible. However, strangely enough, about halfway through the season, the line started to block a little bit. Sometimes. Something must be afoot. The line, which returns all five starters, should be decent. Or, well, at least better than last year. Steve Schilling has moved to guard, and could be all big ten if he plays to his potential, which this team as a whole has found difficult to do. Right guard David Moosman was possibly the best lineman last year, and looks to lead the line as a 5th year senior. Center David Molk, though undersized, has benefited from another summer of crazy psychopathic genius weight trainer Mike Barwis' weight program. Mark Ortmann, the left tackle, had the extremely difficult job of filling the spot that Jake Long left barren with his graduation. Overall, he failed, because no one can be Jake Long. He should be functional at the spot. At right tackle, we've got Patrick Omameh. A redshirted freshman from Ohio, Omameh gained 40 pounds of Barwis since arriving on campus and has scouts bustling with news that he might be great. Apparently he's strong, fast, and smart. So he could either live up to the hype and be the next big thing or flop horribly and be replaced. Only time will tell.
Well, that's it for the offense. Some other time I'll come back and do the defense and special teams. Good day.