Bringing Michigan back from the depths of Rich Rodriguez’s regime hasn’t been easy.
But head coach Brady Hoke has done an admirable job, winning 19 of 26 games since taking over in January, 2011. Michigan traveled to a pair of bowl games, defeating Virginia Tech in last year’s BCS Sugar Bowl, before suffering a disappointing loss to South Carolina in this week’s Outback Bowl.
Over the last two regular seasons, Michigan split with Notre Dame, Michigan State and arch rival Ohio State.
Unfortunately for Hoke, Michigan is perceived as an elite college football program. The Wolverines captured 11 national titles and a league-best 42 Big Ten championships, while being the first major football program to surpass 900 victories.
Patience, however, is beginning to wear thin. Michigan hasn't won a Big Ten title since 2004 and its last national title came in 1997.
So to say Hoke’s honeymoon is over just might be a huge understatement.
With the graduation of read-option quarterback Denard Robinson, Hoke will finally unveil his power-I, ball-control offense in 2013. Devin Gardner, who subbed for the injured Robinson late this season, has all the tools to run the new offense.
On defense, Michigan has come a long way under coordinator Greg Mattison, but there’s certainly room for improvement. Michigan is a ways away from the shut-down defensive units exhibited under former coaches Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr.
The Wolverines return with seven starters from the squad that finished 16th nationally in scoring defense (18.75 points per game), but occasionally lost leads late in games.
Michigan will continue to run its base 4-3 under defense, while occasionally switching to the 3-4.
Let’s take a look at how the 2013 defensive depth chart should appear when spring practice begins in March.