With only a handful of bowl games left to finish off the 2013 college football season and so many fans feeling disappointed and panicking about the future of Michigan football. I figured I'd share some of the reasons why I'm optimistic about the 2014 season and beyond.
1. We'll have real competition at the QB position. For the first time since ... God knows when, We'll have alegit competiton at the QB spot. It's Devin spot to loose but we'll have 4 scoloarship QB's gunning for the starting job. 3 of the 4 have college game experience!
2. The Offensive line will play better as a whole. I heard all the doom and gloom about how can they possibly improve with losing two NFL caliber tackles. They are right in a way the tackles position will be downgraded next year. The major point is with so much pressure coming up the middle, we could have had Tony Boselli and Jonathon Ogden as tackles and not done much better. Point is there will be competition on the line as well. These guys want to win championships, they are hungry, young and talented. They'll push eachother this off season because nobody is guarenteed a starting job.
3. The running backs as a whole will improve. Green and Smith both played better later in the season even with the offensive line problem and when they played more pass protection looked ALOT better ( sorry fitz but you cant block very well). Denard was an extremely talented college football player but the guy we missed most after Denard had to be Vincent (bang-bang) Smith. Running touissant as an every down back when he couldn't block to save his life got Devin killed most of the time. De'veon smith seemed like a better over all back as far as blocking/ running goes. I'm also not forgetting Drake Johnson was the number 2 back before he got injured.
4. Key players and possible key players coming off major injuries. Jake Ryan came back mid season after tearing his ACL in the fall. It's hard to imagine he was 100% jake Ryan. Countess had a major injury last year, Wormley too. this Year Pipkins went down, Darboh, Drake Harris, Chris Bryant, Chris Fox and Gardner was beat up all year, I wouldn't believe you if you told me Touissant was 100% all year after that fracture. Hopefully these guys are all healthy enough to play their best football next year.
5. Funchess and Butt are the real deal! Funchess had the dropsies a bit this year but, he was a sophmore and honestly didn't get targeted enough as a freshman. When you drop a 1-2nd down pass yea that sucks but when you drop a 3rd down pass that kills a drive. If Funchess can correct the drops he is a great receiver... Tight end. Jake Butt had an awesome freshman year and physically he and Ian Bunting are very similar. If bunting comes in and plays like Butt as a freshman and Jake improves from his freshman year they are going to be 3 guys who are crazy hard to cover. I'm not even going to mention all th other WR's, someone coming back has got to be good atleast. I mean Darboh was the 2nd coming of Jerry Rice before he messed up his foot... right
6. The defense is what it is. This is the same staff that turned around one of our worst defenses ever and made them servicable. They get a pass from me, so i'm expecting the defense to play a lot better as a whole. We played 3 freshman in the secondary. 2 where true freshman. Part of the season we played a true freshman Linebacker, and our D line had mutiple true freshman and red shirt freshman getting alot of play time. I'm not worried about next year.
Now I admit i'm one of those guys who looks at the schedule and says 10-2,11-1 every year. I've been a fan for a long time and thats usually how it went with one head scratcher (why the hell did we lose that game) a year. So 9-10 wins season are what I am used to. I look at our 2014 Schedule and I see 2 really good teams , 2 good teams and 6 teams we should roll. Ohio state and MSU are really good teams and should be really good next year. They are our best chances for a loss. Everybody else tho, come on you have got to like our chances against. We play well at Notre Dame who loses their 2 best defensive players and even when play like crap they can barely beat us. We had 13 turn overs in our last 2 losses to Notre Dame. Utah plays terrible away from home and everbody else is a home game or mediocre. We usually beat mediocre teams on the road. I'll call us 10-2 and 3rd place in our division. If we finish any worse atleast you guys will see some staff changes, so there is another reason to be optimistic!