Michigan Football: 5 Biggest Question Marks of Training Camp
The Michigan Wolverines have begun fall camp, as the college football regular season is about three weeks away from taking place. The is a lot of optimism at the moment in Ann Arbor, as Michigan is coming off its most successful season in recent memory with 11 victories, including a BCS bowl win.
But with the season quickly approaching, fall camp is that last chance for teams to answer any remaining questions they may have. The Wolverines are a very talented team entering the 2012 season, but there are still big question marks that remain.
Here are the biggest questions the Michigan Wolverines still have to answer.
Will the Wolverines Generate Pressure?
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Michigan drastically improved its defense last season. In 2010, this was a team that ranked 110th in the country in yards allowed, but was the 17th-best team in 2011. If this defense expects to take another step forward, it all starts with the defensive line, particularly the guys in the middle.
Will Campbell is the X-factor on this side of the ball. Once a 5-star recruit, he hasn't done anything close throughout his career to deserve such a high ranking. In three years of playing time, Campbell has a combined 19 tackles and two sacks. He will be a full-time starter in 2012 and will be expected to become a force in the middle that everybody has been waiting for.
Jibreel Black will be the one playing next to him at defensive tackle, as he played defensive end last season. At 6'2", 260 pounds, Black is really undersized for the position, which means that both defensive tackles have serious questions heading into the regular season.
The good news is that Black performed well in the spring game, and many believe that Campbell is turning the corner as he heads into his senior season. This question will soon be answered when the Wolverines square off against one of the best offensive lines in the Alabama Crimson Tide.
How Is the Offensive Line Coming Along?
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Getting an offensive line to gel is never easy, especially when trying to replace a Rimington Trophy winner. Michigan has the tall task of replacing David Molk, who is currently trying to make an NFL roster.
Senior, Ricky Barnum will be the one that plays the center position in 2012. He has played in a total of nine games throughout his career and has started majority of his games at the left guard position.
Barnum is a confident young man, and coaches have said that he is quickly coming along with his new position. But we have seen how this offense performs without Molk in the past, and it hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty.
Making sure Denard Robinson and Barnum are on the same page is a must before the season begins.
Has Denard Robinson Really Improved?
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Denard Robinson is one of the more explosive players in college football. He usually makes something out of nothing and has led the Wolverines in both passing and rushing yards the last two seasons.
However, his passing skills aren't exactly up to par, as he enters his senior year. He still makes bad decisions with the football at times, still throws a lollypop that seems to hang in the air forever and he only completed 55 percent of his passes last season.
Robinson says he is in the best playing shape of his career, as he has eliminated junk food from his diet. He has also been working hard this offseason with offensive coordinator Al Borges on his decision-making and mechanics.
The potential Heisman candidate only threw three passes in the spring game, so it will be interesting to see if all of this hard work has paid off. If he can become more of a passing quarterback while still being an aggressive runner, the Wolverines may have an unstoppable offense this year.
Where Are the Receivers?
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While many criticize Robinson for not being a complete quarterback, the Wolverines still have to find weapons to surround him with. Michigan lost a physical receiver in Junior Hemingway and a reliable tight end in Kevin Koger.
That leaves fifth-year senior Roy Roundtree as the go-to guy in this offense. He caught 72 passes in the 2010 season, but that production dropped off last season, as he only hauled in 19 passes and only two touchdowns.
Jeremy Gallon is also returning for his third season, and he brings explosive ability to the table. But other than those two receivers, there is not much experience left at this position.
Many young receivers will have to step up for this team if Michigan expects to have another successful season.
What Is Up with the Suspensions?
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Michigan has two question marks with suspensions as fall camp begins. Defensive end Frank Clark has been suspended after being arrested for home invasion, while 1,000-yard rusher Fitzgerald Toussaint was also suspended from the team for a recent DUI arrest. Both are obviously big parts of the football team, and it would be huge if either one isn't reinstated sooner than later.
The Wolverines have the biggest game of their schedule Week 1 against the Alabama Crimson Tide. At the very least, Toussaint needs to be available, or it could be a very long day for this Michigan football team.