Central Michigan Game Prediction

Finally the incredibly long off season is over, and Team 134 is ready to take the field. While many have been saying the 2014 season will be the one where Brady Hoke has a full compliment of "his" players and will finally be removed from the speed bump known as the Rich Rod era, this team should hardly be discounted. Devin Gardner - 11

There has been a continual building of talent since Brady took over in January 2011. With only 15 seniors, the talent on this team is obviously young but it’s top notch.

While Michigan is replacing 3 OL, with all due respect to Team 133, it will be an upgrade, at least at some point in the season. Jack Miller, Graham Glasglow and Kyle Kalis, look to bolster subpar line play, and bookend tackles Lewan and Schofield might just be the best tandem in the country.

The stable of running backs harken back to the days of Bo stomping the sidelines, with several potential great backs toting the leather this fall. Fitz Touissant will be the first, and if OC AL Borges has his way, will carry the lion share of the load. Drake Johnson, fresh off his redshirt, comes in after impressive bowl practices and spring camp, looking for carries, as do true freshman Derrick Green and Deveon Smith, both among the nations top tailbacks.

Jeremy Gallon has grown into QB Devin Gardner’s favorite target, and with the fall camp injury to likely #2 Amara Darboh, there are some questions as to who will step up. I believe RS Freshman Jehu Chesson will be that guy . He has the talent, but is still somewhat raw. Speed is one of his strengths however, so stretching the field at 6’3 is a good thing.

While QB is a position of strength for Team 134, depth isn’t there. Many close to the program have raved about Devin Gardner’s ability to make plays. He has great talent, but still only has 5 career starts under his belt. Shane Morris coming in as a true freshman has obvious 5* talent, but needs to learn the offense, and hasn’t played much in a year since missing a large part of his senior year of HS with mono.

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2013 Offensive Depth Chart Preview

With the 2012 season wrapping up this weekend, it’s time to take a way too early look at the 2013 projected depth chart for the Wolverines with some analysis. Note: The only iDevin Gardner - UMGoBlue.comncoming freshmen that I will include in the depth chart are Shane Morris and Jake Butt.

QB: 1. Devin Gardner – Senior

2. Shane Morris – Freshman

3. Russell Bellomy – RS Sophomore

Analysis: Gardner returns for his fourth season as a Wolverine after starting the second half of 2012 at the QB spot following Denard Robinson’s injury. Gardner’s skill set opens up a more vertical passing game that the Wolverines became accustomed to with Robinson at the helm. Gardner has also shown the ability to make teams pay with his feet and should be the future of the position if he is granted a fifth season, something Coach Brady Hoke seems optimistic about. Shane Morris will be the second best quarterback on the roster talent wise, but don’t expect to see him in mop-up duty– that role will fall on Bellomy’s shoulders. However, should Gardner get hurt, expect to see Morris step in as the starter, ready or not.

RB: 1. Fitzgerald Toussaint – RS Senior

2. Thomas Rawls – Junior

3. Justice Hayes – RS Sophomore

4. Dennis Norfleet – Sophomore

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Northwestern Game Prediction

We enter the home stretch in the B1G season, as the Wildcats of Northwestern travel to the Big House.

While the status of Denard Robinson is up in the air, my personal opinion is he won’t play unless absolutely necessary. It’s merely an educated guess, but given Devin Gardner’s performance last week in Minneapolis, there’s growing confidence he can get the job done. At Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald during the game against Minnesota on Saturday.the end of the day, the staff has to feel they need him more in Columbus than any other game left on the schedule, and making sure he’s as close to 100% as possible for November 24th has to be the goal. Nobody really knows… 

On to defense. What can be said about the performances, week in, and week out, that the Michigan defense has come up with this season. An expected weakness (at least in the front 4) has actually proven to be a strength, and kept Michigan in many games (see MSU, ND and others). Expect Michigan to stack the box against Northwestern, who runs nearly 2/3 of the time, and force them to throw. Veneric Mark is a heck of a tailback (one of the 3 B1G finalists for the Doak Walker award) but NU hasn’t played a defense as stout as Michigan’s. He’s capable of taking it the distance every time he touches it. Gap integrity is of utmost importance.

When Michigan has the ball, assuming Gardner takes the reigns again, expect to see a gameplan that mirrors last week. With the weather being so good tomorrow, you may even see Michigan attempt to take advantage downfield a bit more, with a very capable passer in Gardner in the lineup. Its imperative that the offensive line makes strides, because frankly, in the vast majority of the season, it may be the teams biggest disappointment. We’re hearing Jack Miller and others have gotten some run with the first team, as the interior of the line continues to struggle. Not sure if they’ll pull the trigger and make a change, but if they continue getting blown up too frequently up the middle, don’t be shocked.

Michigan holds Northwestern to a few field goals in the red zone, performs well enough to pull it out, Michigan 27, Northwestern 16.

Impact Redshirt Freshmen Countdown: 1st – Jack Miller

Jack Miller - Scout

Jack Miller comes in first on our potential impact countdown due to the opportunities he may see during the season. While Miller may not be the most talented redshirt freshman, he is certainly the most vital to the team’s overall success. With the recent release of the depth chart including 3 true freshman, coupled with Chris Bryant’s season ending injury, Miller is the lone backup lineman on scholarship who didn’t attend prom last spring. Miller also will be in line to take over for Ricky Barnum at the center spot next season so the experience he gains this year is essential for future team success. While he still needs to put on a little weight, Miller’s importance to the team is unparalleled in terms of redshirt freshman this season.

Top 5 Questions Entering Spring Practice

Michigan officially kicks off spring practice on March 17th, with the spring game to follow on April 14th. The Wolverines suffered several key losses on both sides of the ball and while a core of veterans return off of last year’s 11-2 squad, there are several key questions heading into spring camp.

Michigan officially kicks off spring practice on March 17th, with the spring game to follow on April 14th. The Wolverines suffered several key losses on both sides of the ball and while a core of veterans return off of last year’s 11-2 squad, there are several key questions heading into spring camp. Cameron Gordon

(Not in order)

1. Who starts at center?

Remington Award winner David Molk graduates leaving behind a gaping hole at center. An underrated position, centers are critical in making calls at the line, changing protections, and snapping the ball. The first series against Virginia Tech demonstrated how valuable David Molk was to the Michigan offense. 3 players will now vie for the starting role as Ricky Barnum moves from guard to center, joining Senior Rocko Khoury and Redshirt Freshman Jack Miller.

2. Who steps up outside at WR?

Big play Junior Hemmingway is gone, as is Odoms and Daryl Stonum. While Roy Roundtree returns he is still better suited at the slot position than outside. Someone has to step up and take over the role of go-to guy on the outside. Denard Robinson probably isn’t going to stop chucking up jump balls so someone will need to make plays on the ball in the air downfield. Juniors Jeremy Jackson and Jerald Robinson are the most likely candidates as they are really the only outside guys on the depth chart. Rumor has it that Cam Gordon asked to move to WR. Cam played WR in HS as well as his first season at Michigan before moving to defense.

3. What kind of production will there be from the DTs?

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