Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/16/12
Last season in the NCAA was a turning point for a lot of programs. One, in particular, made a wave of change that rippled through the very core of collegiate athletics.

There was a shift in a program that made impact on a university, a conference, and on a nation. Yes, you already know who this refers to: The Michigan Wolverines.

What this college football program turned around in one year is one of the greatest success stories you will find. And for those of you across the U.S. who forgot, here is a recap. And, here is why the Wolverines are poised for another monumental season this year.

The start of any great team in any sport is the head coach. And what more can one say about a quality coach other than Brady Hoke. This is simple. Let the raw numbers talk for him.

In the 2010 season, under coach Rich Rodriguez, Michigan didn't have an exceptional year. (7-6 overall, 3-5 Big-10.) Last season, with Michigan-man Hoke at the helm, the Wolverines accomplished numbers they had not seen since the days of Chad Henne or Tyrone Wheatley.

The boys of Ann Arbor went on a tear for an epic season. (11-2 overall, Sugar Bowl win.) Hoke is regarded as one of the top college recruiters in the NCAA mainstream. Also, a lot of sources have said that Hoke had that type of success because of his use of star quarterback Denard Robinson. With Hoke allowing Robinson to run-and-gun, as well as using the option and his raw speed, the results were incredible.

On the offensive side of the ball, it starts with Robinson and goes right down the line. Robinson (6-0, 195 lbs) is a flagship product for stats: 2,173 yards passing, 1176 yards rushing, and a 139.7 quarterback rating make it known that he is on the preseason Heisman ballot.

The list of records he has broken and is scheduled to break this season is remarkable. But keeping this as a broad overview, there are many other weapons on this team.

In the backfield, Fitz Toussaint (5-10, 195 lbs) will take the bulk of the carries. He had some great outings last year against Illinois, Purdue, and Nebraska, finishing up with 1,041 yards on the ground. Many people didn't know how the Wolverines would handle the absence of Junior Hemingway, but that is not a huge issue. Jeremy Gallon (5-8, 185 lbs) and fifth year senior Roy Roundtree (6-0, 177 lbs) will be catching the majority of the passes from Robinson. That is a colossal pair of wide-outs to utilize.

Switching to the defensive side of the football, there have been questions about the line. With Hoke shifting some players, and ensuring the correct skilled players are in their proper positions, the Michigan defense could be a lot to handle this year.

Do not underestimate names like defensive end Craig Roh (6-5, 269 lbs) and returning linebacker Kenny Demens (6-1, 248 lbs). The biggest story on defense is the fact that the Wolverines return all four defensive backs from the Sugar Bowl winning roster. Blake Countess (5-10, 176 lbs) Thomas Gordon (5-11, 208 lbs) Jordan Kovas (6-0, 197 lbs) and J.T. Floyd (6-0, 185 lbs) all return to a top notch defensive system.

Special teams continued to improve and look to follow that same pattern this year. It is going to be a race to see who will return kicks this season. But, the extra points and field goals will be taken care of by Brendan Gibbons (6-1, 241 lbs). Gibbons had a very commendable season last year knocking down 13-of-17 from various spots on the field.

Lastly, the schedule really allots the Wolverines a good shot for success. With the schedule as it seems, Michigan should be bringing even more pride back to Ann Arbor.

Their season opener is against powerhouse and defending national champion Alabama. The key here to remember is that the BCS is still in effect. An early season loss to a top ten team is not nearly as potent as it is toward the end of the year.

Other games to note will be against Nebraska, Michigan State, and Notre Dame. (We all remember the barn burner against the Irish last year.) With that strength of schedule, as well as winnable games, this really puts the Michigan Wolverines in a solid position.

Autumn is upon us and sooner rather than later we will see what this year has in store for the Wolverines. But with Brady Hoke and the staff ready to do battle, I think great things are in store for this fast-paced Michigan program.


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