Depth Chart |
Lloyd Carr has won a national title and several Big Ten
championships in his 11 years in Ann Arbor, but that's not enough
for a program that wants to be the leader and the best.
Michigan has been knocked
out of the national title race by early October in every season
since the 1997 campaign, and most of the
time it's out by the second game of the season. Making matters
worse, the Maize and Blue have lost six straight road openers
creating the perception that Carr can't coach on the road. (This
year's first road game is at Notre Dame.)
Since that big 1997 season, Michigan has gone 10-14 on the road against
teams that finished with a winning record. Obviously, everyone gets
up to play the Wolverines, but to be that average away from the Big
House hasn't gone unnoticed. (To be fair, Ohio State is 8-10 on the
road against teams that finished with a winning record over the same
span.) To be the national superpower that Michigan wants to be, it
needs to start winning more and more of the really big games or else
Carr will be one of the nation's most successful unemployed head
Head coach: Lloyd Carr
12th year: 102-34
Off. 21, Def. 24, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 17
Best UM Players
CB Leon Hall, Sr.
RB Mike Hart, Jr.
3. DE LaMarr Woodley, Sr.
4. OT Jake Long, Jr.
5. QB Chad Henne, Jr.
KR/WR Steve Breaston, Sr.
WR Mario Manningham, Soph.
Alan Branch, Jr.
9. RB Kevin Grady, Soph.
LB Prescott Burgess,
at Notre Dame
at Penn State
at Ohio State
2005 Record: 7-5
2005 predicted wins
Northern Illinois W
at Mich St W 34-31 OT
at Iowa W 23-20 OT
Nebraska L 32-28
While Carr will bear the
brunt of the criticism if the team isn't out of this world, the spotlight will be on the coordinators. Following the beleaguered head
coaching handbook, the first step was to shake up the assistants. Mike DeBord was the offensive coordinator in the late 1990s
a head coaching stint at Central Michigan. Ron English was the
somewhat controversial hire to take over the defense after manning the
secondary over the last few seasons; he'll be the most heavily
scrutinized of the coaches. These two aren't going to change
things up too much, if at all, but they will be a big part of getting
the program in better shape.
No longer just the big, beefy,
slow, pounding team you've grown to know, the call went out this off-season to be much better
conditioned all the way around. The line is leaner and meaner, the
defense should be faster with the pounds shed off, and the backs are
expected to be quicker and stronger. Michigan has always gotten the
talented athletes, and now most of them are in the best condition
they've ever been in.
Will all the changes translate into more wins? They might.
There appears to be more of a mean attitude this year in the
IBM-like corporate program. The goal is to be more aggressive, make more
big plays, and break out of the maddening vanilla mold. The defensive
line should be among the best Carr has ever had. There's enough speed in
the back seven to run with anyone, and the offense has the firepower to
hang punch-for-punch with anyone on its slate. In other words, there's
no acceptable reason for another down year.
Michigan has three nasty road tests that'll make or break the
season. It's asking too much to go 3-0 at Notre Dame, at Penn State,
and at Ohio State, but it had better go 2-1 with one of those wins
coming in Columbus. There isn't much of a break after the home date
with Central Michigan playing the Irish, Wisconsin, at Minnesota,
Michigan State, at Penn State, and Iowa. If the Wolverines get to
Novembers with only one loss, it'll finish no worse than 10-2.
Junior RB Mike Hart. When 100%, there are
few better. Michigan is 11-2 when Hart gets 20 or more carries. One
of those two losses was to Texas in the 2005 Rose Bowl, the other
was in the heartbreaker to Minnesota last year. He has never gotten
20 carries against Ohio State, has only carries it eight times
against Notre Dame, and only ran 19 times against Nebraska in the
bowl loss. You don't think the coaching staff is going to do
everything possible to keep its workhorse healthy?
Defensive Player: Senior DE LaMarr Woodley. A good all-around
end/outside linebacker over the last two years, but he's in
tremendous shape and should be unstoppable getting into the
backfield. With his size, experience and skills, a double-digit sack
season is likely.
player to a successful season: Junior QB Chad Henne. He has been
better than he has gotten credit for over the last few seasons. He certainly hasn't been scrutinized and vilified like John Navarre,
but he will be if Michigan struggles this year. His durability is
the key to the season with no one remotely ready to step in if
season will be a success if ... Michigan wins 11 games and beats
Ohio State. The schedule has too many problems to go unbeaten but
this team is good enough to be in the hunt for the Big Ten title,
beat Ohio State, and win a bowl game. Anything less will be seen as
a major disappointment for a program with some of the highest
expectations of anyone.
game: Nov. 18 at Ohio State. Coaches who can't win in this series
have a short shelf life. Carr likely has to reverse the current
trend to avoid another rough off-season. Michigan hasn't lost three
straight to the Buckeyes since 1961-1963.
- Michigan second quarter scoring: 123 - Michigan third quarter
- Penalties: Opponents 75 for 628 yards - Michigan 48 for 382 yards
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 97 - Michigan 81
The Last Time
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Alamo Bowl vs. Nebraska)
…missed a bowl game…1974
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Eastern Michigan)
…was shutout…1984 (Iowa)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Eastern Michigan)
…won a conference title…2004 (share, Big Ten)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2003 (John Navarre)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Michael Hart)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Jason Avant)