ESPN Blue Ribbon Preview: Michigan

Submitted by Arsenal Fan on July 3rd, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I didn't see any one post a link to this, but I just kind of stumbled across it on ESPN's website.  Nothing Earth shattering, but worth reading through.  Previews the offense, defense, special teams, as well as a recap of last year.  If already posted please delete, otherwise enjoy!



July 3rd, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^


Is Michigan back? Did it ever really go away? The winningest program in college football history finally suffered the dip that it hadn't seen since before Bo Schembechler was hired in 1969. But a couple bad seasons don't erase the tradition, resources and fans at Michigan's disposal, and now the Wolverines again have a coach who fits and understands how to win in the Big Ten.


July 3rd, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

  • Interior line has graduated
  • Other players now have more experience
  • Hoke is good
  • Denard is good
  • Schedule is tough
  • Recruiting is going well

Can we play some football already?


July 3rd, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

According to the wonderful people who published HTTV, he's 6'-3''. 325 lbs, so I assume it is a typo.

Overall, a pretty good preview. The summary at the end included this tidbit regarding our first game:

"An upset for Michigan would put Hoke's team immediately into the national conversation. A respectable loss still could be a building block."

That's probably true - I would think that this game, in an odd sense, is low-risk, high-reward on the schedule as long as we can stay in it (and of course, it's even better if we take this one). Either way, it could potentially serve as a shot across the bow to the SEC. It isn't unimaginable that we can win if we can take advantage of their secondary (which is pretty young, I think) and slow down their offense.



July 3rd, 2012 at 4:21 PM ^

They didn't mention all the turnovers our special teams forced. They were huge in our wins last year, almost taking the game over, or at least taking momentum away from opponents. Blocking kicks, and punts, pinning opponents deep, and faking kicks for 1st downs. They were a huge part of our time of possession dominance last year. They also don't have up-to-date weight figures on Roh and Black, both should be around 25 pounds heavier than stated by September. Honestly, the main reason for our two losses last year was offense. We only scored 20+ points against State and Iowa, which was well under our season average. Second year in the system will be big, as long as we show well against Alabama. Notre Dame without Floyd attacking our (then) young secondary shouldnt be as close a game as it was last year. State lost just about every playmaker on offense and defense, Nebraska also lost a lot of key players on defense, and Ohio is going to need the spread to improve their (nearly) NCAA last place passing offense without wr threat Posey in 2012. We actually have a very good chance at duplicating last years record, or maybe cutting our losses down to 1 or none. Biggest challenge will be Alabama week 1, at Ohio at seasons end, and if we're fortunate, the B1G championship against Wisconsin, and another BCS bowl.

NOLA Wolverine

July 3rd, 2012 at 6:52 PM ^

You can't just dismiss Notre Dame and Michigan State that easily. Notre Dame returns a lot of players on an offensive line that stuck it to Michigan and Michigan State last year on the ground, and they return a very capable running back. Cierre Wood was extremely dangerous against us last year. Michigan State is in a similair boat. They return nearly the entire offensive line and LaVeon Bell, and have that full linebacker core coming back. Those two games are going to be battles next year. 


July 3rd, 2012 at 7:31 PM ^

I won't totally dismiss them, but Michigan took huge strides forward last year and the coaches act as if it were nowhere near good enough. We're taking dramatic strides forward and would've won both games handily if they were played at seasons end. Since then both of those opponents have taken steps back, state significantly so. They lost their qb, all their entire starting receiving corps. Their top 2 running backs, their defensive line (which was their strength, and some of their secondary. They're gonna take a bigger step back than any other B1G team.

NOLA Wolverine

July 3rd, 2012 at 7:51 PM ^

I'm sure we could go back and fourth with this forever (well, until the season starts anyways), but I'll throw one more in there since this thread is relatively dead. 

Michigan State will have bodies to put out at wide receiver, which really is the best thing you can say about Michigan if you look at last year's stats. Arnett is going to play, and I think we can expect one of Madaris/Burbridge to come in and do something to contribute their freshman year. (But Roy Roundtree could of course change that by performing like he did two years ago.). I thought Maxwell looked good in limited action, but I can't actually back that up further than saying "he scored high on the eye test!" 

LeVeon Bell is back after finishing the season by pounding away at Wisconsin and Georgia. Outside of the Michigan game he was clearly the feature back for them. Rush, White, and Gholston all return on the defensive line. They only have to replace Worthy, who really gets way more attention than he should solely because he makes himself really visible during the game (i.e. snap jumping). That's not to say losing him isn't an issue for them, because it is, it's just that he's not Ndamakong Suh (while at Nebraska).  

Your last point is their biggest issue going forward into this season: Trenton Robinson leaving. In the Capital One Bowl Georgia attacked the seams on the first two plays (while Robinson was "suspended") and they were killing Michigan State with that, because whoever got put in was just not visible. If they can't get a competant free safety their whole defensive gameplan kind of dissolves. That guy not only needs to be awake, but also a very good tackler if they want to run "the Denard gameplan" as they have the past two years. The bowl game replacement was neither.  

If Dantonio continues his trend at Michigan State, this game will be a dog fight. I'm excited to see these two teams play. I'll probably be the only one to say this, but if Michigan vs. Michigan State turns into a yearly hard-hitting battle I'll be very happy. Good football is hard to come by.


July 3rd, 2012 at 8:43 PM ^

All of the "prognosticators" have apparently decided to follow each other and write the same things about teams they only know superficially, like Michigan.  9-3 seems to be Michigan's "slot" for every "preview" that has come out.  

My question: why can't Michigan win eleven games again?  Even if you count Bama as an auto-loss, which I don't, there isn't a team on the schedule that Michigan can't beat.  Here is why I think Michigan can surprise the pundits again.

Notre Dame: Should be improved, but they haven't proven they are good enough to beat the current Michigan team.  They could be in QB hell, and Kelly's team has, by his standards, been underacheivers so far.  And they have to play Sparty first this year, which could make them a bit "beat-up" for the Michigan game.

Sparty: Puh-leeze.  Sparty has had great breaks, their best personnel in the last thirty years, have intentionally injured Michigan QB's, and still have had to fight like dogs to win.  Most of all, their sense of entitlement has caused them to severely overestimate their place on the foodchain.  This is the year that Sparty gets put back in their place, and it will only be worse for them in the future.

Nebraska: I see this as a possible loss, but not a guaranteed one by any means.  There are too many question marks there, and they also haven't proven that they are better than Michigan.  

Iowa: Even when they were better than Michigan, they have been fortunate to win.  This is another little streak that ends this year.  

Ohio: Michigan could very well lose this game, too.  However, once again, it isn't a given by any means.  Urban Meyer usually doesn't start "cooking" until the second year.  

Bottom line: I would imagine that Michigan will be favored in every game except Bama, Nebraska, and Ohio.  If they simply take care of business in the other games and win one of these three, they will have ten regular season wins, and probably be playing in the BT Championship game.  

If they win the BTC game, that could be win number eleven.  If they lose it, they will draw an easier bowl opponent, and can win their eleventh there.

In other words, the media can sell Michigan at nine wins all they want, but I'm not buying until it's mathematically impossible not to.


July 3rd, 2012 at 10:09 PM ^

I haven't seen anyone say that Michigan CAN'T win 11 games.  That's all well and good if you think Michigan will lose to two of Alabama/Nebraska/Ohio State and go 10-2.  But what about a team like Iowa?  Iowa wasn't that good in 2011, but they beat us and so did MSU.

This isn't a national championship-caliber team, not yet.  So who cares if they predict 9-3?  You're essentially saying that you think we'll go 10-2.  That's a difference of one game, and we have a very tough schedule.  I'm not sure what there is to whine about.