2013 Michigan Spring Football Analysis
2013 Michigan Wolverines ... Head Coach: Brady Hoke
Why To Be Excited: The near future. There might be some big holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but the talent is quickly rising under Brady Hoke with the latest class taking things to a whole other level. Expect a more spirited spring ball than normal for some of the veterans considering there are a slew of big-name recruits on the way who might be good enough to play right away. Derrick Green was the nation’s top running back recruit, and he could provide an instant jolt of power and speed to an attack that relied too much on Denard Robinson. Shane Morris might be groomed for next year’s starting quarterback job, but a bad camp by Devin Gardner could start the speculation. It’s going to be an interesting August.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 Central Michigan
9/7 Notre Dame
9/21 at Connecticut
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/12 at Penn State
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 at Michigan State
11/16 at Northwestern
11/23 at Iowa
11/30 Ohio State
Why To Be Grouchy: The offensive line needs to rebuild and reload in a hurry. Taylor Lewan’s stunning decision to return for his senior season gives the line its anchor at left tackle, and Michael Schofield should get the call on the right side, but the interior needs to be replaced. The defensive front has to come up with a steady defensive tackle to replace Will Campbell and a pass rusher to take over for Craig Roh. The secondary needs to replace strong safety Jordan Kovacs and corner J.T. Floyd.
What Needs Working On: The offense has to get a lot tighter with the ball, and it’ll start with Gardner keeping the picks to a minimum after giving up one a game over the last five outings. While Denard Robinson’s four interception day against Notre Dame and the three picks thrown against Nebraska by Russell Bellomy had a lot to do with it, the offense had a big problem with turnovers giving away 19 interceptions and eight fumbles. Putting the ball on the ground wasn’t a huge issue until the three giveaways against Ohio State and the one against South Carolina, but going into the season, ball security needs to be a priority. It would be nice if the defense could come up with a few big plays, too, after failing to pick off a pass in the final five games and taking the ball away just 18 times on the year.
Non-Conference Games: Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Akron, at Connecticut
Games Against The Leaders: Indiana, Ohio State, at Penn State
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 10-2
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Akron, at Connecticut, Minnesota, at Penn State, Indiana, Nebraska, at Iowa, Ohio State
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Michigan State, at Northwestern
Schedule Analysis: It’s as good as could be reasonably asked for. There’s always going to be Ohio State to deal with from the Leaders, but there’s no Wisconsin and getting Indiana at home and a depleted Penn State isn’t bad. There’s no way all the tough games could be at home, but welcoming the Buckeyes, Notre Dame and Nebraska should be a big help. But it’s Michigan; it’s going to get every team’s best shot.
Getting past Central Michigan, Akron and a road trip to Connecticut shouldn’t be a problem, and hosting Minnesota and Indiana to go along with the away date in Happy Valley should mean 7-0, or at worst 6-1 with a loss to the Irish. Going on the road three times in four weeks – at Michigan State, at Northwestern and at Iowa with the Nebraska game thrown into the mix – comes after a needed off week.
Team Concerns For 2013: It might sound crazy, but the Wolverines need a steadier running game. Denard Robinson led the team in rushing and Fitzgerald Toussaint wasn't effective before getting hurt, but there are several backs waiting to get their shot behind starting quarterback Devin Gardner. The defense has to do a bit more to take the ball away for a team that finished 99th in the nation in turnover margin, and with some key losses on the front seven there can't be a slip against the run. The punting game could stand to be stronger after netting a mere 35.7 yards per kick.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... The lines. Playtime is apparently over. After coming up with an incredible class last year. Brady Hoke and his staff outdid themselves with a jaw-dropping array of talents. Quarterback Shane Morris is the type of passer Hoke loved to work with at Ball State and San Diego State, only more talented, while the buzz will be there right away to running back Derrick Green out of Virginia to hit the ground running from the moment he gets off the bus. Name the position and the Wolverines have an elite prospect coming in. Tight end Jake Butt - we're going to have years of fun with that one - has an NFL frame, safety Dymonte Thomas is going to play in The League corner Jourdan Lewis is a nice get out of Detroit. However, the stars of the star-studded class are on the lines.
Patrick Kugler is the nation's best guard recruit, Kyle Bosch is among the top offensive tackle prospects, and defensive tackles Maurice Hurst Jr. and Henry Poggi will eventually shine on the inside. Throw in Dan Samuelson and Logan Tuley-Tillman for the offensive front, and end Taco Charlton for the defensive side, and there are plenty of reasons to be jacked up.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
4. That Class Was Heavy On ... Next level talents. Now this is the class Michigan is used to bringing in. This is a class that’s the base of a special team. It’ll be a total shock if the Wolverines don’t have one of the nation’s top linebacking corps in a few years after this haul, while the speed and athleticism on the defensive front is as good as any class in over a decade. Head coach Brady Hoke has the offensive tackles for the future, while the defensive line is loaded with top-shelf pass rushers.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 29. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. At the very least, Brady Hoke can sell the fan base on the idea that he tried to fix the team’s biggest issue by
throwing bodies at the problem. The young secondary of last year will get its chance to mature, but corner Blake Countess might be too good to not find a spot right away. Delonte Hollowell, Greg Brown and Raymon Taylor might not be safeties, but they’re athletic enough to move around. The linebacking corps got more athletic with this class with Antonio Poole and Kellen Jones both fast and agile. Running back Justice Hayes might be the focal point of the running game soon, at least when Denard Robinson isn’t handling the work.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 9. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defensive backs.
If Rich Rodriguez was in trouble, you wouldn't know
if from this fantastic class. The offense got more
options with Devin Gardner a 6-4 playmaking
quarterback to give Tate Forcier a push, while RB
Austin White is a dangerous running back prospect
with speed and good all-around skills. RichRod also
stepped up the receiving corps with Ricardo Miller
and Jerald Robinson leading the way. But for all the
good things about this class, nothing was bigger
than pulling off a shocker with the signing of Demar
Dorsey out of Florida on Signing Day to join Josh
Furman and Marvin Robinson as some of the team's new
safety stars. Cullen Christian out of Pittsburgh is
one of the nation's best corner prospects with NFL
size and quickness.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 15. That Class Was
Heavy On ... QB Tate Forcier. Last year, head coach Rich Rodriguez put all his eggs in the Terrelle Pryor basket, and the plan backfired. The quarterback situation last year was a liability at best, an utter disaster at worst, and something had to be done. Now it’s all about Forcier, a small, quick athlete from San Diego who fits the mold of the type of quarterback needed to take the program out of the doldrums. He might be asked to start from day one.