Spring football is complete and now the Michigan Wolverines prepare for training camp this summer as they prepare for the 2021 season. We did not have access to open practices or a spring game this year, so it is tough to get a read on the status of the roster. With that said, there has been enough buzz out of the building to at least make some educated guesses.
Unlike the defense, the offense is not undergoing a massive scheme change. There was some shuffling with the assistant coaches, but the things they want to do offensively likely remain intact. Mike Hart (running backs) and Sherrone Moore (offensive line/assistant offensive coordinator) should bring a different approach in two critical positions for the Wolverines.
Here is an attempt at how the two-deep depth chart might look heading into camp.
Quarterback: 1. Cade McNamara, 2. J.J. McCarthy
This one is cut and dry at the moment given Matt Weiss’ comments on McNamara as the team’s starter. McCarthy will have chances to play this year, but a season to bulk up, learn the offense and not have pressure on him could lay a foundation for a long and successful career. Alan Bowman will be here in the summer to push both of these guys, but it seems likely he winds up as the No. 3.
Running Back: 1. Hassan Haskins, 2. Blake Corum/Donovan Edwards
Haskins has earned the RB1 designation for his play over the last few seasons, but this does have the potential to be another deep and talented backfield. Corum and Edwards are too talented and versatile to not see the field. It is way too early to speculate if one of them can take over the lion’s share of the carries, but there will almost certainly be a heavy rotation again.
Wide Receivers: Ronnie Bell, Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson
Michigan has a lot of guys at wide receiver that have had moments in bunches, but these three players were the ones that most impressed me in limited action last season. Mike Sainristil, AJ Henning, Christian Dixon and Andrel Anthony will also factor into this rotation.
Tight End: 1. Erick All, 2. Luke Schoonmaker, 3. Matthew Hibner
All has the potential to be one of Michigan’s best pass catchers, except for the part where he struggles to catch passes. That has to be ironed out or else he may fall out of favor in the rotation. Tight ends have not been used as much over the last few seasons in Gattis’ offense.
Left Tackle: 1. Ryan Hayes, 2. Karsen Barnhart
Hayes and Andrew Stueber should fill out two of the five spots available on the offensive line, but it is anyone’s guess from there. Barnhart has a case to crack the lineup and at the very least could be the first tackle off the bench for Michigan.
Left Guard: 1. Trevor Keegan, 2. Chuck Filiaga
Based on the buzz out of spring practices, this is seemingly what the grouping is at the left guard spot as of now. Filiaga started games there last season but was a bit inconsistent. Again, we are throwing darts at the wall with the offensive line as of now.
Center: 1. Andrew Vastardis, 2. Reece Atteberry
Vastardis, who was referred to as a “Mack Truck” last year, decided to run it back for another season in Ann Arbor. He could be the leader for the job, but spring buzz has Zak Zinter and Reece Atteberry factoring in as well. It seems as if Michigan will look for its best five and figure out positions from there.
Right Guard: 1. Zak Zinter, 2. Nolan Rumler
As we stated above, Zinter is an ascending player we would be willing to buy stock on. His position remains unclear, though. Stueber played here last year but apparently spent most of the spring repping at tackle. Rumler came into Michigan with a lot of buzz, but we are still waiting on him to seize an opportunity.
Right Tackle: 1. Andrew Stueber, 2. Willie Allen
Stueber and Jalen Mayfield battled for this job a few seasons ago before the former suffered an ACL tear. Now, it appears he is ready to kick back outside and reportedly had a strong spring there. Allen, a grad transfer from Louisiana Tech, will also be in the mix for a starting job.
It all starts upfront for Michigan. With Cade McNamara at quarterback, the offensive line remains one of the biggest unsettled questions heading into fall camp. They have a good amount of versatility here and the program likes its depth, so it will be incumbent upon Moore to find his best five players and go from there. Chemistry is critical and they never really had a ton of that as a unit last year due to injuries.
The offense as a whole may not do a ton to strike fear in the hearts of the Ohio State Buckeyes on paper, but there is some talent here. Someone in the receiver room has to emerge as a bonafide playmaker for this team to be successful. It feels like they have that at running back with who is on the roster.
It is do-or-die time for third-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. There are a lot of new pieces, but this is the third year in the system for a lot of these players. If it does not click this season, it might not ever click under this current staff configuration.