2011 Big Ten Football Preview, Week 2: University of Michigan Wolverines

Posted on June 10, 2011

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Hail to the Victors!

Photo Courtesy of: Bigten-online.com

By: Chris Frank

Ohio State’s biggest rival, The University of Michigan Wolverines, are headed the opposite way the Buckeyes are this season.  After the very popular firing of Coach Rich Rodriguez, who had the worst Big Ten record of all previous Michigan coaches, and the equally popular hiring of “Michigan Man” Brady Hoke, the Maize and Blue are looking to become respectable again.

A big part of the  rebirth of Michigan football is going to depend on star quarterback Denard “Shoelaces” Robinson and his ability to adapt to Hoke’s pro-style offense.  There are going to be a lot less running plays for Denard this year and a lot more snaps from under center, which he has not done much of since middle school.  Unfortunately for Robinson, he is not going to have one of his favorite targets, Darryl Stonum, who is indefinitely suspended after getting a DUI earlier this year.  Even with the loss of Stonum, the offense should have no problems creating points this year; on the other hand the defense could struggle again keeping opponents from doing the same thing.  Last season the defense ranked 108th out of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formally Division 1).   They were mediocre against the passing game but if the opposing team could generate any sort of a running game it would be a long day for the wolverine defense.  In Michigan’s game against the Wisconsin Badgers  last season they allowed 357 yards rushing, the most they have given up since the invention of the forward pass.  Hoke is trying to mend this holey defense by switching up the system like he did on offense, put more people closer to the line of scrimmage.  For the last three years the Wolverines ran a 3-3-5 defense, meaning 3 lineman, 3 linebackers and 5 defensive backs.  Hoke has moved back to more traditional 4-3 defense, 4 lineman, 3 linebackers and 4 defensive backs.  This will give up and coming nose tackle, Mike Martin, less double teams and more of a chance to stop the run or get at the quarter back.  One must always expect at least a small dip in performance with a new coach, but Brady Hoke has the Maize and Blue headed in the right direction.

Prediction: Final Record: 7-5


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Posted in: College Football