Big Ten Preview: Michigan Wolverines

Joe Pasquali, our resident Michigan football fanatic, is back for another Big Ten Preview post. He is going to breakdown his favorite team and one thing jumps out and surprises us, he shows no bias in this post. This is a guy who stuck by Ryan Mallett and Lloyd Carr! The Wolverines really have nowhere to go but up, so where does Joe have them finishing this year in the Big Ten? Check it out.

Finishing #8 in the Big Ten
Michigan Wolverines (Predicted finish 6-6)

Summary– Only place to go is up for the Michigan Wolverines. Having their worst season EVER in 2008 has to make the Maize and Blue pessimistic for 2009, but fear not, it will be a better season. Last year was the first year of Rich Rodriguez’s new system, a system players do not learn overnight. Also, having their easiest schedule in ten years can’t do anything but help.

Offense (C+)– Michigan’s offense was dreadful last season, peaking with six lost fumbles at Notre Dame. Steven Threet was the starting QB most of last season but transferred away this past off-season along with RB Sam McGuffie. Freshmen Tate Forcier with share time with a couple other QB’s that will lead an offense that returns nine starters. At the RB and WR positions Michigan may have the most speed and depth in the Big Ten. It will just be a matter of the freshman QB can get the ball to them.

Defense (B+)– Five starters’ return to a defense that really wasn’t as bad as their numbers showed last season. The thing that hurt the Wolverines more than anything was being on the field most the game due to a impotent offense that turned the ball over a lot. Brandon Graham is a freak at DE/OLB and Donovan Warren is one of the better corners in the Big Ten. Look for the group as a whole to be better as long as the offense stays on the field.

Special Teams (A-)– Zoltan Mesko not only has one of the best names in the nation, but one of the best legs as well. The All American returns to boot the ball around the Big House for the Maize and Blue. If UM’s offense starts out slow, he could be one of the most important players on the team.

Coaching (B)– Rich Rodriguez will be judged heavily on what he does this year for UM. A program as big as Michigan should never have a rebuilding season that only produces 3 wins. If Michigan does not get to six wins this year, he will be on the hot seat.
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