After months of previewing Michigan in-depth and in nauseating detail, it's tough to rally yourself to write another "OMG PREVIEWZ!" of the 2010 Michigan Football Team. We've already offered 2010 previews of Michigan's quarterbacks (Tate and Denard), running backs, the offensive line, the wide receivers, the defensive line, linebackers, defensive secondary, and even the coaches. With the season just days away, unless there are more surprises like Carvin Johnson taking over at Spur (Stevie Brown's old slot), we're pretty much set. There aren't a lot of questions about who will start at these positions. But that doesn't mean there aren't big questions heading into the season. So, with a little time on our hands (and another post we're trying to finalize), we thought it'd be a good time to throw some of these questions out to you guys and see what your responses are.
10. Will any Michigan quarterback be able to actually operate the Zone Read?
This is the million dollar question. Or at least the 35 points per game question. The biggest hitch in the running game last year was that by week five the zone read was completely ineffective. Tate Forcier wasn't making the right reads. Denard Robinson wasn't even trying to make the right read and was keeping it exclusively. Rumors out of camp seem to indicate that Devin Gardner might actually be the best of the three at executing it! But rumors are rumors and no one will know whether the Zone Read will be effect this season until all three quarterbacks have chance to try their hand at it.
9. Along those lines, who in God's name is going to be our running back?
With everyone focused on the quarterback battle there seems to be very little discussion of who will be on the field with the quarterback in the backfield. Vincent Smith is coming off surgery. Michael Shaw was in the academic dog house for so long his Fall practice was totally under the radar. Michael Cox had a great fall then tapered off. What about Stephen Hopkins? Fitzgerald Toussaintis banged up again. All these names and all their practice seem to indicate everyone is going to play, and play alot. But who will get the bulk of the carries? And for that matter, does it matter?
8. Is Kelvin Grady the real deal?
Man I hope so. He's got so much speed and shiftiness, I'm just dying to see him on the field for extended periods of time. But he's got to prove it.
7. Will William Campbell ever crack the starting lineup?
I've seen this question thrown around a lot lately. People asserting Campbell's some kind of bust. I totally disagree. He's a sophomore. A sophomore who is still learning how to play football at the major college level. People need to be patient. Sometimes it take a few years for a DT to get his feet under him. West Texas Blue's diary to this effect should clear up any questions. Will he start this season? Probably. but it's going to be further on down the line as he gets more playing time.
6. So... Linebackers... yeah...
Hell if I know. This group could be either average or downright awful. While Brian's already picking out a ledge to jump from, I honestly might not be too far behind him. We're going to be stating a walk-on, former fullback at middle linebacker. No matter how much progress Mark Moundros has made, that's never a good thing to hang the hopes of your defense on. I think the group might be decent but I'm paranoid that they won't be.
5. Which Freshman, if any, will step up and play corner?
Personally, my money's on Cullen Christian to supplant James Rogers or J.T. Floydwithin a game. I wouldn't be surprised to see Courtney Avery see plenty of time too. Even so, I'm praying they don't have to. Because if they do, we're in even worse trouble at corner than we thought.
4. How does Michigan become Bowl Eligible this season?
This isn't a particularly friendly schedule for a team that is desperate to make a Bowl Game. UConn is a top 25 team. Notre Dame will be tough. Tough road games against Indiana (that offense will be really, really good), Penn State, Purdue, and Ohio State won't make it easy on Michigan this season. I think Michigan has to go a minimum 3-1 in their non-conference schedule, then pick off the low lying fruit like Indiana and Illinois. After that, they have to take one (prefferably two) of the true toss-up games between Michigan State and Purdue. Finally, they need a stunner over Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin or Ohio State. In this scenario, even if they go 0-4 against the conference's top four, it's a 6-6 season and a bowl game. God it sucks thinking this way.
3. Are we going to get any sacks this season?
I think so. As a matter of fact, we may actually roll up more sacks this season than last. No. I'm not crazy. Brandon Graham posted 10.5 sacks last year despite having no one else on the line who could consistently get pressure. This season the line isn't just freshmen and sophomores. Today, the line is all juniors and seniors (with Craig Roh as a linebacker). There is depth and health on the line for the first time since 2007. I think Michigan increases it's sack totals by 8 or 9 sacks this year and gets to around 32-33 sacks. Up from a minuscule 22 last season.
2. What's going to happen with the NCAA Investigation?
Probably not much. Michigan fell on its sword for Rodriguez at the NCAA hearing, and rightfully so. The screw ups with regard to record keeping were not his fault. My guess is that the NCAA will pile on additional probation and may even strip a couple fo scholarships. But Michigan's operating under the number of scholarships anyway and a few more years of probation aren't going to affect the on field product. This sucks, but I don't think the end result will be like the end of Braveheart.
1. What about 2011?
Big Ten Champions. Mark it down.
So what do you guys think? What did I miss?