Michigan Football: Wolverines' Preseason Expectations Fitting

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 10, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines applauds his teams play against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Brady Hoke proved himself as one of the top head coaches in college football last season. That in itself warrants the lofty expectations for the Michigan Wolverines this season.

But beyond that, the Wolverines still have electric quarterback Denard Robinson, as well as several intriguing players who should prove pivotal down the stretch.

ESPN's College Football Live ranked Michigan No. 10 in the nation in its preseason rankings.

It starts with Brennen Beyer, who has moved from linebacker to weak-side defensive end. He should help the Wolverines' pass rush after they lost several key players on the line this offseason.

Craig Roh will move to strong-side defensive end, and he's likely to have the size at 280 pounds to fill in nicely for last season's starter, Ryan Van Bergen.

Michigan lost a presence at defensive tackle this offseason, but the Wolverines still have Jibreel Black, who has the size and speed to be effective in the interior.

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 19:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines cheers on his team from the sideline while playing Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ricky Barnum does need to make the transition from guard to center to replace David Molk, but Michigan's coaching staff appears to have confidence in him. He already played center in high school, so he just needs to get reacquainted with the position. The coaching staff actually considers him a natural center, and his transition shouldn't be too difficult given he already knows the position.

There is also the prospect of dual-threat Devin Gardner moving from quarterback to wide receiver. Yes, the Wolverines would like him backing up Robinson, but this is the perfect time to test him out at wideout. He stands 6'4" and would give Robinson a deep threat down the field.

Hoke has made adjustments throughout his career, which is why he's helped Michigan, San Diego State and Ball State rise from the depths. He appears to be doing the same thing this offseason, and it figures to make for another exciting season at Michigan Stadium.

Don't think the Wolverines' losses this offseason will keep them from being a legitimate threat.


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