Ann Arbor, Michigan– With most of the spring games wrapping up after this weekend, the focus for players turn to finishing school exams and move toward summer. This first part of the year sure did not disappoint Michigan fans with Jim Harbaugh dominating the spring headlines with his practices starting in Florida and agenda of satellite camps. We look at the three big questions heading into the summe getting ready for the season.
How will the offense perform?
The offense last year with Jake Ruddock was very successful in the air with many options that turned into wins on the road. We will have the same group of talent returning at wide receiver and safety adding a few freshman, but will have a new quarterback and offensive live. Wilton Speight has been impressive this spring so he will surely continue to compete for the job. Many expect John O’Korn to start but we could see plays like the spring game with Shane Morris and the explosive Jabrill Peppers. Mason Cole has been impressive this spring so if this new offensive live can continue to improve it will allow the starting quarterback with time to find their targets.
Those who know the tradition of Michigan football can think of many great players in the backfield over the years. The runnjng back battle is also tight with returning senior De’Veon Smith ready for a huge year. The running game success will come to how this new offensive line plays together by creating holes and protecting the quarterback.
How can they win their two biggest games away from Ann Arbor?
October 29th and November 26th will be the two most important games. Michigan State will be lacking talent compared to Ohio State. Both defenses will not be as talented as Michigan based on what we know now, so it will come down to how the offense does on the road in tough environments. With the crazy ending against Sparty last year, this year will all be about revenge and going into East Lansing. They will need to continue to improve weekly and avoid injuries before going into the end of October. Every Michigan fan knows how difficult it is to win on the road in the conference. This year we will need to win at least one or both in order to compete for the division race to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game.
How will the defense be better than last year?
Last season, Michigan’s defense was ranked 35th in sacks and 42nd in tackles for loss. Don Brown was a great addition to the coaching staff and is taking over a very talented group of players. A few freshman added to the mix, including Rashan Gary, will be an exciting group to watch. Brown is all about attacking the quarterback with an aggressive strategy. The strength of schedule this year is one of the easiest nationally. If they can find ways to attack the quarterback, create interceptions and loss of yards, we may be in for a real treat for this defense.