Michigan Football 2012: Breaking Down the Rising Wolverines Special Teams

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Michigan Football 2012: Breaking Down the Rising Wolverines Special Teams
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Brendan Gibbons celebrates with his team as he hit the game winning field goal in the 2012 Sugar Bowl

As I've given a detailed analysis about Michigan's offense and defense going into the 2012 season, it's time to turn our attention to the one facet on every football team that's completely underrated in its importance: special teams.

Before Brady Hoke became the head coach of the maize and blue, the special teams part of the squad was in disarray. Coverage on kickoffs and punts was less than inspiring, but what the entire country took notice of from the Wolverines was their putrid kicking abilities. 

Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen combined for just four field goals the entire 2010 season. They missed 10 field goals between them. 

As a result of the incompetence between the two placekickers, Rich Rodriguez would go for it on fourth down frequently and turn the ball over to the opposing team as a result of his lack of confidence in his kickers.

Place kickers and punters aren't noticed until they're exceptionally good or bad at what they do. Unfortunately for Michigan, the kind of attention they received on special teams was very, very bad.

Brady Hoke was able to turn around the defense in 2011. Would he be able to do the same with his kickers? Yes, he did.

Projected in this article are the starters for place kicker, punter, kick returner and punt returner.

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