What are your "KEYS To This Year?"

Submitted by Mr. Yost on August 8th, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Obviously we have to block, or avoid injuries, or not turn the ball over, or have good special teams...but all teams need to do those things to win.

What is a particular "key" or "factor" that YOU think we'll have to see in order to be successful this year?

For example, here are my 3 that I don't know if everyone would agree or have so high up on the priority list...

  1. Get instant impact from freshman WRs Darboh and Chesson on offense and Pipkins and Bolden on defense --- IMO, we need these 4 to fill the roles of '11 Odoms & Roundtree...'11 Campbell and Beyer/Hawthorne in terms of impact.
  2. Get more out of return game --- we were TERRIBLE last year in the return game, hopefully guys like Gallon, Norfleet, D. Johnson, etc. can make an impact.
  3. Denard's leadership --- Denard has to become more steady in his approach, last year we lost two terrible games, but bounced right back due to the steady leadership of Molk, Martin, RVB, etc., Denard has to be that this year during games. Hopefully we win them all.

The freshman WR one is so key IMO, I do see Jerald Robinson stepping up, but we still need more help at WR. If the freshman can't do it...I think Devin Gardner is going to have to be dominant on the outside. You ask why? Because I don't see us getting much from the TE position, in fact, I think 3WR, 2RB will be our primary set. People keep talking about replacing Hemingway, we also have to replace Koger.


His Dudeness

August 8th, 2012 at 9:54 AM ^

Well, we've got to go out there and work hard every snap. We have to be physical at the point of attack and aggressive to the ball. We have to play to the whistle and work hard. Hit, work, point of attack, work, accountable, aggressive, hit, every snap, every play, work hard, low pad level, knee bend, play to the whistle, for eachother, point of attack, hit, have fun out there, aggressive, hit, play to the whistle. If we do those things we should have a successful year.


August 8th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

Changes/new guys on both lines:
-Barnum to C, Schofield to RT, Mealer as new starter
-Roh and Black position changes Campbell and Beyer as new starters

Games played by the Offensive backfield:
-Denard and Fitz staying healthy
-How quickly Fitz can resolve his legal troubles

WR/TE production
-Can Moore be an average B1G TE
-Can Williams and Funchess contribute right away
-Can DG produce at WR
-Can Darboh and Chesson contribute right away

Those are my three biggest areas of concern


August 8th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

1. DL and OL need to perform....more specifically the DL.

2. Denard keeps his completion percentage at or above 62% with no more than 8 picks and averages no more than 15 carries a game with Rawls/Fitz successfully picking up the remaining carries.

3. Order new keys for my car since the remote doesn't work and I feel like I'm really slumming it having to physically unlock my car door with the actual key!!

4. Denard

5. Denard

6. Denard

Ok, I lied, I have 6 keys. Denard!!! Ok 7.


August 8th, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

1. We need a credible threat other than Denard's legs to keep defenses honest. Last year, the formula was pretty simple. Stack the box and force Denard to chuck it up. Whether it's Denard getting better at passing, or (gasp) bubble screens, end arounds, we have to be able to keep defenders honest.

2. We have to hold up on the Dline particularly at the nose tackle. BWC will be make or break for how we hold up against the run.


August 8th, 2012 at 10:26 AM ^

I agree with your assessment about needing another facet of the offense. Since our running game didn't emerge until later into the year last year. Hopefully we can get the ground game established earlier this year and that will allow Denard to be a qb that runs rather than a quarterback who is also the teams number one running back. Which will keep defences honest.


August 8th, 2012 at 10:01 AM ^

I'd rather see Robinson and Jackson step up so we don't have to rely on the freshman but it's hard not to get excited about the Darboh talk.

Same on the DL - I'd like to see Q Wash, Ash and or Wilkens do something. Big Will's comments on Pip are encouraging though.

I agree with Denard, he hasn't worked alot with some of these new skill position guys so hopefully he gets them ready.

My number one concern is the Black/Big Will interior combo. They could be very good or bad. Will is bigger and can take up some more space than Martin. Black put on a little weight and could be one of the most athletic DT's Michigan has ever had from that spot.

Atleast I'm hoping.

Hard to pick things out, there are so many questions really and so many different combinations of players that can or will be out there.


August 8th, 2012 at 10:16 AM ^

My KEYS to this year:  Encourage people around me in the big house to yell and cheer loudly on key 3rd down defensive plays rather than dangling their keys in their hands.


August 8th, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

not only told us what it was last year, he placed the blame for the failure squarely on his own shoulders. Denard and Lewan have to perform a good lift before every game. Note; I will allow for the possibility that a more important key exists this year, but that was a very telling stat last year


August 8th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

1. Turnovers.  We need less interceptions from Denard because odds are the defense won't recover fumbles at a 70% rate this year


2. Defensive line needs to step up.  For the first time in a long time I'm confident in our back 7.  But our front 4 needs to step up and play to the expectations.


August 8th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^


I agree. I’d say those are absolutely the two biggest keys; the good thing is that I’m reasonably confident that both will happen. First, Borges’ QBs tend to take off in year two and Denard had already looked sharper even by the end of last season. Secondly, I think BWC realizes the pressure that’s on him this season. He doesn’t want to be viewed as a bust for the rest of his life. 


August 8th, 2012 at 10:26 AM ^

  • OL health, especially at tackle
  • DL production, especially at tackle
  • The Feng Shui of Borges and Denard


August 8th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

The development of the sophomores that played prominent roles last season. I'm thinking about Countess, Beyer, Ryan (I know, I know.. Redshirt or whatever.. But for the purposes of this discussion), Clark (punishment pending), Morgan, Rawls, Wile, etc. All of these guys look to be major players again this season. If they take a step forward, so does the entire team.

Also, Will Campbell but that is a sky=blue, water=wet situation.


August 8th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

Staying healthy and a decent running game outside of Denard are obvious choices. 

But Denard really has to stop throwing so many interceptions.  Many of those long bomb prayers he threw last year somehow came into the hands of our own receivers, thankfully.  But it still does a number on your heart.  He seemed to be better about that towards the end of last season.  I hope that continues. 


August 8th, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

1.  O/D line health/performance.

2.  Having a somewhat effective passing game (Denard improving/receivers step up)

3.  Replacing the leadership from last year's senior class.

Blue since 82

August 8th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

I know that was bad...

I believe this year's success starts and ends with health.  Team 133 has a lot of really good things going for them, but if those starters can't stay healthy we are in trouble.  Starters are starters for a reason, and to take that leadership, experience, and talent off the field because of injury really hurts.


August 8th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

Make sure as many freshmen as possible redshirt. There are really almost none that strike me as totally college ready. Getting them for an extra year will be absolutely necessary.


August 8th, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^


We also recovered 80% of fumbles, which is an absolutely ridiculous number. I don't think that it's likely that we'll achieve the same figure, but I also think we'll be closer to that figure than what certain media members might predict. There's a reason that we recovered those fumbles. Our coaches preach aggression. Mattison was making all his defensive players go after every loose ball. I think just practicing and getting that nose for the ball were pivotal to this success.


August 8th, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

1. Denard stays healthy!!!

2. Denard doesn't throw a shitload of INT's

3. D Line gets pressure (Roh & Campbell )

4. O Line protects Denard!!!!

5. Secondary must step up and get mean!

This happens we will be in the Rose Bowl.


August 8th, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

Denard winning the Heisman and breaking the NCAA rushing record are what I really want for this year.  A win against Alabama Ohio and Lil Bro would be nice as well.

Don't know what the keys are... maybe making sure our WR's come down with arm punts consistently


August 8th, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

There are too many unknowns, and thus more than 3 keys. I'll start with one I haven't seen mentioned a lot above, and then chime in mostly with the rest:

  • Adjustment to having continuity for two years with both Borges and Mattison. This was mentioned in the front page discussion on Demens, but it applies to all of the offense and defense. We already saw a huge improvement from RR to Hoke, Mattison, and Borges. If there is a similar improvement going to year 2, Michigan could be a lot better than many people anticipate.
  • Denard's passing, and staying in the pocket. Has to stop putting up jump balls off his back foot.
  • Health of OL. We have no depth. I'm hoping that we stay healthy long enough (half the season? Two thirds?) for Kalis to come up to speed.
  • BWC & rest of DL.
  • Continued special teams improvement, esp. return teams. Don't know how rules change will affect this.
  • Receiving corps. While I am hopeful that Darboh will step up, I actually think that Devin Gardner is key. This is one area where I think Hoke needs to roll the dice and go "all in." If we really commit to playing Gardner at WR, rather than just for a few trick plays, I think he could be huge.


August 8th, 2012 at 2:32 PM ^

1. retooled DL must hold up against the run and generate at least some pass rush from front 4.

2. OL stay healthy

3. D Robinson stay healthy

3a. D Robinson stop throwing off his back foot

I think the back 7 will be fine in any case, we have proven starters at every position and experienced backups at every position but MLB.


August 8th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

1. Breakthrough season for BWC

2. Black and Roh have a smooth transition to their new positions.

3. Either Ash, Pipkins. Washington. or Wilkins becomes a solid contributor.

4. Oline needs to stay healthy.

5. We need a solid year out of whoever is the LG

6. Denard needs to limit TOs.

7. Need one of the following to become a contributor: Jeremy Jackson. Jerald Robinson, Chesson, or Darboh.


August 8th, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

Somebody said this on a thread a couple months ago and i think it's the biggest KEY to the season: Instead of losing two games, we should try to lose only one game, or zero games.


August 8th, 2012 at 8:38 PM ^

Offense - Ricky Barnum. After the first series offensively for the Wolverines with Rocko snapping the ball, I think we all started having flashbacks. With that said, it has to be the largest unknown, and for me the key to repeating the production of '11.

Edit: regarding the Sugar Bowl game with Rocko at center after an injury to MOLK.