The "tossup" games??? Michigan will not lose fergodsakes.
Breaking Down Michigan football 2013
Funchess looked good against MAC level competition but he really seemed to struggle later in the season.
We also have Jake Butt coming in as an early enrolee. There are question marks with each guy (will Funchess bulk up and improve his blocking? Will Williams improve? Can Butt contribute as a freshman?) but overall I think the OP is correct to be optimistic about that position group.
I guess I don't really remember Funchess being targeted after the first few games.
The only way we lose any game is if BIG TEN basketball refs are officiating our football games. They'd call us for passer interference on a goaline run play.
I think we run the table. I think nw on the road will be tougher than Ohio at home. I really don't want to play them in Indy one week later though
It will be interesting to see how the interior OL does against ND (all of them making their 2nd career start). That will be the key to the game.
As good as it gets, so get ready for it!
Even if all the "if's" turn out bad I still am only concerned about two games on this schedule' and I think we have the edge in both. I have a feeling we will be seeing osu in back to back games to end the season.
Why did I think we were playing App State this year?
2014. Definitely a brand strengthening game. /Brandon'd
Alright! One more full year of anticipation!!
One of the best tackle combinations in the Big 10???? Considering we have the best tackle in the country and another top flight returning guy, I'd say we absolutely have the best tackles in the B1G and "one of the best" in the country.
I think you are a little optimistic about the TE's; they could be a strength this year but that is asking a lot. I think they will be a strength in the 2014 season, but we will still have some growing pains this year. I am also worried about the interior OL.
As for the schedule, I think you are underestimating how tough the games at PSU and NW will be. Even when laying NW at home this season, it took a hail mary pass to beat them. Also, Ohio and ND are going to be good teams again. I think the season could be a 4 loss season, but I think there is also a decent chance that we have only 1 loss or run the table. I think the difference will be how Gardner progresses because although he played well against SC, he missed a lot of open throws that were clearly on him. He was about 50% completion in that game. Given another off-season, I think he can make the steps to make him a good Big Ten QB, especially with his ability to scramble.
Sidenote, Martinez was the best passing QB in the Big Ten last season (granted, not saying much), so forcing him to throw it doesn't seem like it would guarantee the odds of winning, especially considering he had some good tosses against us last season.
about the interior OL, WR, safeties and schedule.
1. Interior - none of the 3 new starters were clearly better than Mealer, Omameh, and Barnum in August. Hoke says the best play and Miller, Burzynski, Bryant (even before the injury), Braden or Kalis didn't start ahead of those 3.
2. WR - so we lose sr Roundtree and replace with 2nd yr Darboh or Chesson - who again couldn't beat out Roy - and we're better? Maybe just a wash.
3. Safeties - Gordon was marginal this year and Wilson replacing Kovacs isn't an upgrade in the short term.
4. Schedule - Road games at MSU, NU and PSU are all dicey given our slim victories at home in 2012. ND has been a pick 'em with 1 min left the last 4 years. OSU is better than us on paper.
We are moving upward but our overall talent level is not yet elite based on Mathlete's data. Net, 10-2 is very plausible but 8-4 is as likely as 11-1.
So some freshmen didn't beat out seniors to start. That doesn't have me worried about the abilities of the returning players, since so many do make a huge leap from their first to second year of playing Div. 1 football.
I completely agree about the schedule. Even though last year was one of the most mediocre in recent memory, I really think the B1G is going to be competing with the SEC for toughest conference honors over the next five years. Bill O'Brien should have won coach of the year last year, and the normal "bottom tier" schools like NWU and IU show promise. Who knows what could come with Purdue and Wisconsin.
Not saying we won't win those games--we will--but the tougher those teams get, the more they wear you down for the top-tier teams (i.e. OSU and Nebraska).
Especially on the O line, there's a lot of complexity to grasp and implement at nearly the level of instinct. Those young guys might have a lot more talent but weren't overall better because they were still learning.
You may also be putting a little too much into those statement from the coaching staff. These are also the guys who call staph infections "boo boos" and pay a lot of lip service to the seniors. I don't doubt that they'd play a young guy ahead of an upperclassman if the former was signficantly better than the latter. I also wouldn't be surprised to find out that one of the major reasons for that statement being used so often was simply to foster competition in practice.
Their performance this year will be very telling as to whether Funk is a good coach or just a cool guy. I was disappointed with the OL performance last year given how 4/5 were returning. But who knows, maybe chalk that up to lack of talent and losing Molk who made them look better than they actually were the year before.
Now, with two stud tackles and 2 mountain 4 starts at guard, if he can't get a good push out of the line this year, it's time that he packs his bags. Im still not optimistic given that we couldnt even get good pushes on undersized teams like Northwestern, despite having 3 seniors on the interior and 2 good / great tackles.
Nevertheless, since the coaches are in year 3 with bryant, miller, schofield, lewan, and year 2 with Kalis, the line better be getting it done.
The TEs were pretty good last year. I don't think it's a stretch that they will be a strength next year during the season with all of them being fresmen last year.
Martinez was pretty bad in the big games. He threw the ball right at Wisconsin seemingly every play in the CCG. I don't get the pessism with having such an easy schedule and having the most talent we've had in a long time.
It's not as easy a schedule as it was in 2011. It't not pessimism to say that your prediction of what looks to be 12-0 or 11-1 seems as likely as 8-4. I think we are going to be good, but there are a lot of variables and too many unknowns to believe that we are going to go 12-0. I think 10-2 is the most likely. If Funchess and the interior line make significant steps and Fitz comes back to 2011 form off that terrible injury, then I think you will be right. Our defense is going to be pretty good I think especially if Countess comes back 100%. It's not impossible that we go 12-0 or 11-1, but I am not willing to say that I think it is going to happen.
I think UM has more variability in what the record might be for 2013 than it did in 2012. In the season just finished, UM had four very difficult games in which (in my opinion) they had little chance of winnng: Bama, @ND, @Nebraska, @OSU. The rest of their games were either on the road against bad teams (Minny, Purdue) or home games and I expected UM to win them (with only MSU being in the "tossup" category).
In 2013, UM has a lot of "tossup" games: ND, Nebraska, @PSU, @MSU, @NW, OSU. The unvarnished truth is that UM has not played well away from Ann Arbor in a long time and expecting them to beat PSU and MSU on the road is overly optimistic in my view. None of those games will be easy wins and I would not be shocked if UM lost any of those games. UM could lose all of them and finish 6-6, although I think that is extremely unlikely. I think UM will finish somewhere between 8-4 and 10-2. I'll split the difference and predict 9-3.
I should be more concerned about ND than I am. I know they lose a lot, especially on offense, but Everett Golson does not scare me. And losing their leader in T'eo will hurt them a lot.
Northwestern has trap written all over it. That option will continue to give us issues, and I wish we have a bye before this game. I've said this several times before, but I think Pat Fitzgerald is on the verge of a major breakthrough with his program. And his recruiting has steadily gotten better every year. I think the division title will come down to us and Northwestern.
Don't want to make any OSU predictions until I see them in action next year. All I got to say is thank God we have them at home.
Call me crazy but for some reason I see us struggling at penn st. I think we barely pull out a close one. Tough place to play.
They lost everyone this year... Downward spiral for the lions next year
Everything tells me that our talent will win out, but for some reason I feel they will play us tough. Since they essentially play for pride every game I get the feeling that they will play their best against Michigan. It would be a low scoring affair, and things would have to go right for them, but I have a hunch.
A low scoring game? Maybe for them. They lose their whole defense. We'll slaughter them.
Is a man with nothing to lose. Don't sleep on PSU.
Our talent doesn't need to be elite to win 10 games. We saw this two years ago when we went 11-2. I never said our WRs would be better. I think you are overestimating MSU and PSU. MSU would have won 2/3 games last year without Bell and PSU loses a lot this year. Kalis will be an upgrade over Mealer. Bryant was out with an injury last year and is supposedly our best run blocker.
Nice post Thad, however although I believe our TE position group will be very talented I need to see Borges utilize them more than he did last year to think it will really benefit us. There were a lot of redzone and goaline packages were Funchess wasn't even on the field
will be better. It was pretty bad overall in 2012.. Kalis and Braden/Bryant will be better than Barnum and Omameh were last year. It is obvious those two did not fit the scheme because they got worse each year since Hoke arrived. I dont have an answer for who will play center..I would like to think whoever will be better then Mealer, our options are Jack Miller and a true freshman so I don't know. 2 stud tackles return and one of the most important things..talented big backs with some speed behind them...
I am excited to see the return of a power run game. I am sick of teams blitzing the A gap anticipating a QB draw or something only to kill Vinny Smith up the middle.
I am not a Borges hater in the least. I too am thrilled to see the return of the power run game. However, for some reason Borges loves the little guy up the middle. I just pray I see plenty of fitz and green up the middle. I don't want justice Hayes to become the new Vincent smith
I don't really think Borges likes running the little guy that much, or he wouldn't have recruited Green, Smith and Shallman.
Its far to early to judge, but assuming your gonna look to these young guys and fitz to run the ball do you try to get a guy like justice hayes to possibly play the slot. I had the opportunity to watch him in hs and he had solid hands. He is a guy that I am curious to see where he goes from here.
freshmen will have to contribute at several positions: TE, RB, backup QB, DB.
center postion- no experience, heir apparent seems physically inadequate.
coaching staff will have to regain their luster from 2011.
That's not reality. Freshmen will only contribute at TE and RB if they're good enough to (and we recruited studs at those spots), a freshmen will unlikely be the back up QB (as if that's really a huge deal) and we will certainly not need frosh at DB, again unless someone like Dymonte is just a monster. And why do you think Jack Miller is physically inadequate? He was 288 last fall, and should be close to 300 this fall, which is not a small center at all.
dont worry mod...i did the scoring myself. :)
So...based on what i have seen in the last few years...
its very tough to beat even mediocre teams on the road..so in 2013
we get :
@MSU: Loss (unless MSU implodes before this game)
@NW: this is the trap game
@Iowa: Loss (its unbelievably tough to go there and win)
Ohio is also a tossup
I think the biggest thing I wanna see from Hoke and his team is mental toughness on the road which is really a big task. Go Blue!
I agree with everything except Iowa. Yes, I know Iowa City has been a difficult place fo all teams (and UM in particular) for some time, but it looks like the Hawkeyes are going to be pretty bad again next season and likely will be as long as Greg Davis is the OC. UM should beat Iowa next season regardless of the location.
EDIT: I should clarify my "agreement" with his post as agreeing that UM could lose those games on the road. I am not quite as confident that they will lose as the poster above, but those games are definitely no better than "tossups" in my opinion.
Does anyone know what the plans are for Justice Hayes? Obviously, it doesn't look like RB is in his future, but what about slot reciever, punt/kick returner, or defensive back?
I think he is still seen as the best speed option in the backfield, so if he has learned how to pick up the blitz he will be the heir apparent to V. Smith as third down back. The other option is Drake Johnson who is just as fast but bigger... and had practice buzz at the end of the season. Don't sleep on Johnson as a possibility at regular tailback as well. Norfleet will move back to offense but is too small for the third down blocking so perhaps will be used in the slot and/or jet sweeps.
... opening holes for Fitz/Green against ND. If they can block a "real" D-line, that will set expectations for a big year. If they can't ...
I hope the safety position is better all around especially against the pass. Kovacs was great against the run, but he seemed to be out of position when defending against the pass. He didn't have very good recovery speed either. South Carolina did a good job recognizing that weakness. The Ol' ball coach is still pretty good at what he does.
@MSU, @PSU, ND, OSU.
not to mention @Iowa & @ NW. one loss out of these 2 is very possible.
the schedule is lighter than last year, but we will be a VERY youg team with 3 new FR OLs, an average WR corps and questions at RB.
Defensively, I think we'll miss Kovaks more than most people realize. We still won't have much pass rush w/o blitzing.
8-4 or 9-3
I think another 8-4 season is very likely.
It's year three for Hoke. They need to at least win the legends division. Michigan should have better players than anyone else in that division. If Hoke and his staff are as good as advertised they should be 11-1 at worse. The only two teams on the schedule with equal resources are ND and OSU. We play both at home. If Michigan goes 8-4 like many of you are suggesting it means either the coaching isn't very good or the recruiting services suck at evaluating talent.
or they are really young in key positions, but w/e UNACCEPTABLE
To me if its not a double digit win season(10:2 or 11:1) then i think its time to look somewhere else... We have had waaaaay to many bad seasons, if Hoke cannot do it then we need someone who can come in and WIN NOW...and yes its possible, Meyer did it, Harbough did it and many more..i am sick of excuses, i want results, this is Michigan for cryin out loud
If you can Hoke now you can be sure that you'll be in a rut like ND was after Willingham. Not quite so bad because Hoke has refilled the pantry the last few years. It is hard to get out of that rut.
Meyer won with an already stacked roster, which means only DOOM once he gets the kids he wants in. Harbaugh did an amazing job at Stanford, I agree.
All I am saying is, becareful what you wish for. A coach, especially in any non-SEC setting, should get 5 years to implement his system. By the point the players have either bought in 100% or not so much. Take Kiffin for example.
Its all about coaching and how u help these young guys get better...RR era they recruited well too but the development of players was horrible...plus its not like Hoke took over a very bad program, he took over a michigan team who never locks of talent... These coaches need to start making wiser decisions if they gona coach at michigan, last year we saw way too many mistakes and that will lead u to a bad season
By Michigan standards RR emptied the cupboards. I think that one recruting class of his was a total disaster. In Alabama terms in the course of 5 years, you are now down 2 full recruiting classes. Takes forever to recover from. I suggest you take a gander at the recruiting classes levied by Willingham. Most of which led to our Horror of 2007.
We have had waaaaay to many bad seasons, if Hoke cannot do it then we need someone who can come in and WIN NOW...and yes its possible,
In other words, you are blaming Hoke for the fact that before he got here, we had some bad seasons. Yeah, that's rational thinking.
And no, Harbaugh did not win right away at Stanford. He went 4-7, 5-6 and 8-5 in his first three seasons.
Im talking Harbough in nfl which is a lot harder, what about Kelly at ND?? and yes the same roster in osu was in 2011 in which they did bad.... Quit being so delusional and accept all kinds of excuses, we are a big powerhouse and with our recruiting we should be an elite program again..i just want to win and doninate big ten like we use to, i dont want our fate to cone down to 3-4 teams, i want our fate to be decided by the osu game like it always has been...will see what happens this yr
Your OSU and ND comparisons are invalid. Despite their struggles, ND has always recruited well. Ohio struggled in 2011 because Tressel was fired, their QB left, and a bunch of other key players were suspended for huge swaths of the season. But OSU recruiting has always been strong and there was plenty of talent on the roster when Meyer came in.
Michigan had some down years recruiting in the late 2000s and into 2010. When Hoke arrived, we had huge holes on defense and no depth on the OL.
First of all who said anything about recruiting or even did a comparison??? Please find me that part...
Now what i said is strong driven coaches come in an make huge impact on the team and actually WIN with what they have...2011 osu still had Tresels recruits which btw were top notch correct?? And the only guys suspended were a WR and a RB, which were good players..i hate mentioning this because i hate the guy but Meyer went to Utah and they kicked Alabamas ass in a BCD bowl game...again DAMN UTAH did this, he put Utah on the map football wise...
Kelly goes to ND with a freshman as a QB and with Weis's guys takes a team to a NC the second year....i can seat name plenty of ppl like that...all i am saying is i want us to be relevant again and be a powerhouse again and not let OSU beat us every year for a decade... Bo's days and Car's earlier days are over we need to play football and be just as dirty as others..there is no more fair in NCAAF..PERIOD...u want honest football go watch Harvard or Dartmuth
Just for clarity. For Kelly it was year 3, most of the Weis kids were out and it was a Redshirt Freshman. Also, the offense was pretty putrid.
This may depend a lot on our guards play. If we block better and one of the RB emerges as the go to back, I think we will do quite well. I think Greg will continue on his way to building us a stellar defense.
The toss up games will be ND, MSU, NU and OSU. The tough but winnable game will be NE.
If we lose to PSU with their talent downward spiral, then we will have one of those 6-6 or 7-5 seasons. I do not think this will occur.
The worse case scenario will be 8-4 the best case scenario will be 12-0. I'm thinking 10-2. Coach Hoke better beat OSU at home. We can't allow another Tressel type winning streak to occur with Meyer.
Thats what i am talking about, i dont osu to own us another decade, i want this program to be better and move forward... So Hoke better step it up
I foresee a national championship for Michigan!! GO BLUE!!
Michigan State still concerns me for some reason, even after losing Sims and Bell on offense. I have a feelilng it'll be another close game in a hostile environment.
Northwestern is going to be tough on the road. We'll get their best, again.
If we are who we say we are then the MSU game should be easy, we should win it by 2tds at least, all their star players left..
The game with MSU will likely be another close defensive struggle with the winner eking out at 7 point or less victory.