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MnB Season Roundtable Returns for Sophomore Harbaugh

Featuring Maize n Brew Staff

Michigan Football Spring Game Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Based on how the opener against Cal went, is there literally anything Hawaii could do to give Michigan some trouble?

Nick Catoni: No.

Alejandro Zuniga: Michigan was always going to be favored by double digits, and Hawaii's brutal travel schedule won't help the Rainbow Warriors. But the Wolverines open with tremendous pressure to be perfect, and Hawaii has gotten those first-game jitters out of its system. I was also impressed by running back Diocemy Saint Juste, who seems slippery enough to pick up tough yards.

Zach Travis: I did not watch the game and have no awareness of what happened, but...no. Just on travel schedule alone the '85 Bears would need a quarter and a half to wake up. Hawaii is not the '85 Bears.

Shash: Nope.

Tanner Wooten: No. Michigan will control the LOS and roll easily. I wish I could give some more in-depth stuff here, but not much will happen on Saturday as far as Hawaii is concerned.

Kevin Bunkley: Hawaii could try an onside kick to begin the game again, and decide to run around in circles killing clock each down to hope for a 0-0 tie. Oh, I'm sorry, we were talking about realistic things weren't we...

Anthony Broome: I believe that the only challenge Hawaii presents to the Wolverines is that they could be easy to overlook and wouldn't be shocked to see the team come out sluggish. Water will find its level though and I don't see the Warriors doing much to slow down Michigan.

On both sides of the ball, the Michigan coaches have some positions to sort out. Will anything become more clear after just one game?

NC: I think the QB situation will as clear as day following Hawaii. Even though Speight is unofficially the official starter, it should be 'clear' why after Game 1. As for any other positions, I don't expect all the dust to settle until around PSU with the way Michigan's schedule opens up.

AZ: The quarterback, for one. Grad transfer Davis Webb threw for more than 400 yards against Hawaii in his first game with Cal. Wilton Speight or John O'Korn will have every opportunity to make simple throws and grow comfortable as the starter. Anything else would be a concern. While Hawaii won't challenge the Wolverines talent-wise, Saturday will give the "15 or more" freshmen Jim Harbaugh says could earn playing time a chance to prove themselves before the schedule gets (marginally) tougher.

ZT: LT is the only cut and dried answer we don't currently have that we will get. But the coaches will probably try a lot of different rotations early to give some of the young guys a chance to gain confidence and prove they can contribute in October and November. I'm not expecting we get much insight into the depth chart come November after one game against Hawaii. This is very much a tryout for a lot of the younger guys, so don't be surprised when some freshman has an intriguing game in the first couple weeks and then disappears when Big Ten play comes.

AS: Probably not. This is just going to be a super fun game to see football again.

TW: I think your depth chart will always begin to be more clear after games are always played, but on the flip-side, depth charts are always evolving. I think these first three games will be to look at guys everywhere and give younger players opportunities to play more than they would, say, against Wisconsin or Iowa.

KB: Doubt it, but the coaches know more than we do. I personally hope they can at least begin to nail down the depth chart at linebacker and their offensive line/blocking rotation in order to get the talent on the edges firing on all cylinders.

AB: I'm not so sure it will be clear after one game, but I do think there are things that you can take from this matchup. One would like to see the offensive line flat out dominate and outclass Hawaii. Defensively, I would like to see how the linebackers look, because I still think that is the team's biggest question mark.

Hawaii's season has begun like so: played a game in Australia; traveling to Ann Arbor this week, and then back to Honolulu for their home opener. Is that fair?

NC: No, but compared to most teams, they should be more experienced. Also, for a team with a bleak outlook in 2016, that's some cool traveling at least.

AZ: Fair competition? Not a chance, and if this game were expected to be remotely close, it would be a big deal. But it'll also be a great experience for the student-athletes, who will have the experience of experiencing the biggest crowd ever in program history a week after a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia.

ZT: LOL. I didn't know we were playing feelingsball.

AS: If you paid me a gazillion dollars to do what Hawaii is doing I would do it. And that's what happened: they got PAID. And they're getting exposure. And they play their home games in Honolulu. I have zero sympathy. Oh, now's a good time for me to bring out my new idea: Hawaii playing their whole season at home. Who says no?

TW: Hawaii agreed to play in Australia in week zero. That is their own doing. I'm sure it has a slight impact, but you still have to play the games. You know that when you sign on to play for Hawaii, too.

KB: Nearly 25,000 air miles over three weeks. But they're still student athletes, don't worry.

AB: It's fair if it's on the schedule, I guess.

Does Jabrill Peppers return a punt?

NC: AT LAST

AZ: Nah.

ZT: AT LAST

AS: Nah.

TW: AT LAST

KB: Nope but Jourdan Lewis returns the opening kick because Hawaii won’t get another kickoff all game long.

AB: Nah.

College football's opening weekend is being billed as the best ever, so pick a game you will not miss once Michigan is finished with Hawaii.

NC: LSU vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau

AZ: USC vs Alabama in JerryWorld

ZT: USC & Alabama - none of them are really "must watch" for me. I think there are a fair number of lopsided games up there. I went with Bama by default, but I'll pay a little attention to all of them until one game gets really good.

TW: Oklahoma vs. Houston - I think that will be the most competitive game on Saturday, as far as the big matchups go. Plus, seeing those two quarterbacks should be fun. Shootout likely. Also: I think I am more excited to watch Notre Dame travel to Texas, but that game is on Sunday by itself so I don't have to miss any other football to watch it. Same with FSU and Ole Miss.

KB: Oklahoma vs. Houston; Houston has only a few chances this year to torpedo the playoff picture, and they get one such chance out of the gate. Greg Ward, Jr. is one to watch as the season gets going. He’s the guy who took John O’ Korn’s job from him, so he’s pretty good.

AB: Notre Dame at Texas. I like Charlie Strong and want to see what his team does against a very good Irish squad.

What's the one thing with Don Brown coming in as DC we should be most excited about?

NC: Dudes. Dudes everywhere.

AZ: Don Brown coached Yale to its last NCAA Tournament win... in baseball. Also, we all know how successful he was at Boston College, and now he has Rashan Gary.

ZT: That he has never had this much talent to work with and has still produced awesome defenses everywhere he has gone. This defense is going to be something special.

AS: You fool! You let me check more than one game! I'm excited for more awkward dadspeak. And the one thing I'd like to see is working with M's depth a little more this year. Last year, post Glasgow, the run D sucked. Brown was really good even with guys worse than M's backups, talent wise, so let's see what he can do.

TW: Being able to deal with spread offenses comes to mind. I also love that it won't be vanilla, but a spread offense that Michigan has had trouble stopping resides in Columbus. Just having a defense that throws out so many looks will be fun. Oh, and blitzing. Don't forget that.

KB: SAM SAM SAM.

AB: He's a spread buster. Michigan has not been able to stop that in awhile. Questions still remain whether or not they have the personnel at linebacker, but Brown will put his guys in the best spot possible to succeed. They just have to execute.

Overtime: Can anyone recall when Michigan last played Hawaii and what was unique about that game? Any of you visited Honolulu?

NC: Have not visited, and while I definitely don't remember the game live (I was six), I know we played the Rainbow Warriors to close out the regular season on Turkey Day weekend.

AZ: In 1986, after Jim Harbaugh and Michigan beat Hawaii in the regular-season finale, The Michigan Daily's story began with the sentence, "Hawaiians know a lot about early December sneak attacks..."

AS: No but I can tell you :Kona Brewing (not really in Hawaii, think they are in the East too) has some pretty good mass market beers now, including a coconut brown ale that's just right.

TW: Well, being 21, I was only 3 in 1998 when they played. But I knew of the game, and always thought it was interesting that they played after the Ohio State game. Growing up, I was always told that The Game was the last regular season game that both teams played, so finding out Michigan played at Hawaii to close the '98 regular season intrigued me.

AB: I do not recall that last game against Hawaii, as I was still spending my weekends watching cartoons back then. Maybe. I don't remember that either. I would LOVE to visit Hawaii, but have not to this point.

KB: Trevor figured out what I was after. That game in 1998, was one of those oddball end-of-season non-conference road games. Tom Brady was Michigan's quarterback, and while it was an easy win, it was the first time since that '86 Harbaugh game that Michigan played the Rainbow Warriors. It was also the final regular season game of Brady's college career, and the game was played almost in the middle of the night Eastern time. I fell asleep while watching. Sorry, Tom.