Originally written July 30, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
Michigan Wolverines Head Coach:  Brady Hoke  3rd season  19-7 Wolverine Offense Devin Gardner (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) “In a Word”…proof…Michigan hasn’t had a legit WR threat since before RichRod was in Ann Arbor…and to be honest…they still don’t.  That may only last one more year though.  They now have a passer (and by passer I mean not Denard Robinson) they so desperately need in Devin Gardner…they have a stable, yet unproven group of HB’s and the O line has two bookends at the tackle positions, but the interior needs to prove itself.  If Devin Gardner goes down, the Wolverines could be in big trouble.  Due to an injury to the incumbent backup Russell Bellomy (torn ACL) the backup role goes to true freshman, highly-touted recruit Shane Morris…the HB’s have to prove themselves as well…Fitzgerald Toussaint needs to bounce back, Thomas Rawls needs to hang on to the ball but the real surprise could be true freshman Derrick Green…I have a hunch about this kid…I don’t believe the coaches will be able to give him the ball enough.  The WR’s are nice, Jeremy Gallon is back and Drew Dileo..but after that there is very little game experience to draw on..so the group is very raw…but nothing to strike fear into any DC anywhere…so make Gardner beat you through the air will be most opponents M.O….I think as long as Gardner stays healthy, OC Al Borges will find ways to get Michigan W’s…so Michigan has talent, but it may be as raw and unproven as any team in the conference. Michigan Defense “In a Word”…young…OLB Jake Ryan is (should be) out for 2013…he may be ready to come back in October, but there is no sense in rushing him back…other than the fact that he was the heart and soul and the identity of the Wolverine defense in 2012…he was Michigan’s pass rusher…and now the coaching staff is somewhat scrambling to find a replacement….if there is one thing I could tell you, it would be this…DC Greg Mattison will find a way to get pressure in the backfield this season.  The D line is a bit underrated with Quinton Washington and Jibreel Black and it should be very solid, maybe even better than last year and the buzz with Frank Clark is picking up steam…but the LB’s are where Michigan is very deep, but very young too.  Cam Gordon in the spot where Ryan usually will be, Joe Bolden, Desmond Morgan and James Ross are other names most Big Ten foes will learn quickly. There is a good amount of talent, but it may not be until 2014 or 15 until the presence of this unit is truly game-changing.  The secondary is getting very little recognition by most…but the CB’s are tough with Raymon Taylor and most people are forgetting the return of Blake Countess and the safeties, led by Thomas Gordon could be very good…All in all, this defense, despite losing its best player for the season, should be decent…that is if they can get pressure on the QB. Michigan 2013 Schedule Michigan begins with three straight homers with Central Michigan, another night game vs Notre Dame and Terry Bowden’s Akron Zips..then Hoke closes out the nonconference schedule by traveling out to UConn…following a bye week, Michigan gets the Gophers for homecoming, travels to Penn State, then hosts Indiana…after yet another bye, the Wolverines travel to East Lansing, host Nebraska, venture to Evanston and Iowa City and conclude the season at home vs Ohio State…I like UM’s chances to go 4-0 vs the nonconference, but I think they may have more trouble with the Big Ten schedule than most think…I think Minnesota will be better..same goes for Indiana…and I am not sure any Big Ten team has as a tough a final five games than Brady Hoke does..I see 2013 as a pretty big year for Hoke as another 8-4 or 7-5 season will crank up the pressure…most Michigan slappies won’t acknowledge it because of incoming recruiting classes….but it will be there…AD Dave Brandon will see to that. Michigan Could’s  Should’s and Will’s Michigan could head into November 7-0. The Wolverines should have just their second HB lead the team in rushing with more than 1,000 yards since 2007 (Mike Hart). Michigan will play just one home game (Nebraska) between Halloween and Thanksgiving. To receive an email each time I post a Big Ten Football article, fill out the Email Notification Form You can also follow me on Twitter @isportsChad Related articles Ohio State season preview Penn State season preview
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