Russell Bellomy was originally ranked 5th on our countdown. After Tamani Carter left the team and Chris Bryant suffered a season-ending injury he has moved up to 3rd. This can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad. No team wants to put in a young QB if they don’t have to but the growth of Bellomy in his second year, with the program, has allowed Devin Gardner to put in time at receiver. After the spring game Al Borges said, “Russ has been steady and solid. When the guy is open, he hits him. He makes very few mistakes. He’s just one of those kinds of guys. He’s very athletic. He can get himself out of some messes. He’s a solid guy.”
Michigan’s 2012 season officially gets under way on August 4th with the beginning of fall camp. Last year at this time there were a host of questions going into camp. What would the offense look like, how would Al Borges adapt to Denard Robinson, how much would the defense improve, etc. Michigan has reduced the number of question marks entering the 2012 campaign but key issues remain.
Here are 5 key questions for Michigan entering fall camp.
A 4 year starter, Molk was not only the best linemen on the team, but also the heart, soul, and mind of the offensive line. Barnum now steps in as the brains of the operation and while he has starting experience, the majority of that time was spent at guard. In the offense that Michigan runs, the success of the offensive line, and the offense as a whole, depends on the play of the he center. A large drop off in play at the center position could be devastating. Getting good snaps and making sure that the correct calls are made up front can’t be overvalued. Michigan has played without Molk in the past and the results were unspectacular to say the least. Barnum cemented himself as the starter during spring practice but how well he plays with live bullets is unanswered at the present.
Koger’s impact on Michigan’s offense has largely been underrated. While Koger never put up monster numbers in the passing game, his play was critical. Michigan’s success in the running game over the last 2 years, especially from the shotgun, was due in large part to the play of the TE. Without a strong blocking presence at TE, Michigan’s running game will suffer. Brandon Moore goes into his 5th year as a Wolverine, but has seen limited action during that time. Like Barnum, Moore won the starting TE job in the spring but how good he will play has yet to be determined.
4. What kind of production will Michigan get from the WR core?
Sean O’Connell, UMGoBlog.com: “Michigan landed yet another nasty, nasty offensive lineman in Patrick Kugler. He has a ridiculous motor, fantastic feet and is a very smart football player. If you like your offensive linemen to have a mean streak and play all the way until the whistle blows, Kugler is definitely your type of player.
Name: Patrick Kugler
Height & Weight: 6’4” 270 lbs.
High School: North Allegheny Tigers (PA)
|Scoring Offense||28.5 PPG||55th Nat.|
|Passing Offense||227.1 YPG||63rd Nat.|
|Rushing Offense||188.7 YPG||30th Nat.|
|Scoring Defense||17.2 PPG||7th Nat.|
|Pass Defense||206.2 YPG||39th Nat.|
|Rush Defense||107.8 YPG||16th Nat.|
Virginia Tech’s offense has gone through variety of changes over the years. The one constant since the late 90s has been the presence of a difference maker at QB. This year’s version of the Virginia Tech offense is not as explosive as in years past but effective nonetheless under the direction of 6’6 245lb QB Logan Thomas. Any discussion of Virginia Tech’s offense begins and ends with the running game. Tech has a run heavy offense using both RB David Wilson and Thomas primary ball carriers. For much of the season, the Hokie offense revolved around getting David Wilson the ball in as many ways as possible. Dumping off to Wilson and letting him make something happen is a standard offensive play for the Hokies. Stopping the Hokie run game and tackling Logan Thomas will be a major test for the Michigan defense and likely determine the outcome of the game. Thomas frequently bounces off of tackles and is a load to bring down or disrupt even when the defense gets into the backfield. Hitting and wrapping up will not be enough as Thomas is often still able to complete passes with defenders draped over him.
|#3 Logan Thomas||59.2 %||2799||19||9||215.3|
|#6 Mark Leal||69.2%||153||2||0||76.5|
Virginia Tech’s uses a very basic passing game and tries to limit Logan Thomas to easy throws. The Hokies rely on the run so when they do drop back to pass they normally face one on one coverage. The Hokies run a ton of WR screens, both bubble screens and quick hitting plays if opposing corners play off. If Michigan comes out in the same off coverage look it has for much of the season, expect the Hokies to throw quick screens until there is a change in coverage. One advantage the Hokies have over most teams in the passing game is size. The Hokies have some of the biggest receivers in college football. The Hokies use three major downfield targets when teams play press coverage, Marcus Davis (6’4 231lbs), Jarrett Boykin (6’2 219lbs), and D.J. Coles (6’3 225lbs ). As a change of pace the Hokies also employ slot receiver Danny Coale and TE Chris Drager underneath and on screens. As mentioned, screens and dump offs to David Wilson are also a big part of the Hokie passing.