The Michigan Wolverines 2008 offense lacked one key ingredient to being successful— consistency. Consistency is normally driven by a leader who makes a big play when needed or helps the players around him improve. The 2008 offense lacked a leader as each position group was rotated multiple times in one game.
For the Michigan Wolverines 2009 team to be successful, their offense must be consistent and sustain multiple drives from one quarter in each game. No more three and outs.
Michigan will need a leader, but who can do this on a still young and inexperienced team?
1. QB Tate Forcier
Primarily the quarterback is considered the leader of the offense, and Forcier will try to assume the role this year. Forcier is a prototypical dual-threat QB and looks to be the front-runner for the starting position with the departure of Steven Threet. Since Forcier enrolled at UofM in January, he has been raved over by the upperclassmen for his strong and accurate throws. Whether this will transfer over to success on the field and a leadership role will be seen come September remains unknown.
2. RB Brandon Minor
It is hard to look at a RB taking the leadership role again after four years with Mike Hart in the backfield, but Minor may be the leading candidate for it. Minor had an injury plagued 2008 season, playing only two full games. However, in those games Minor averaged 136 yards on the ground and 5.8 yards per carry.
3. WR Greg Matthews
Matthews was a highly touted receiver coming out of high school and has the ability to become a great college receiver. Matthews had to take a backseat to Manningham and Breaston early on in his career but could emerge as the Wolverines leader in 2009 with a good season. Matthews will be one of the few seniors on the team and could use his experience to take a leadership role.
4. OL Stephen Schilling
It is not normal for an offensive lineman to take the role as the leader of an offense, but under certain circumstances it can happen. In 2007, when Mike Hart and Chad Henne both went down Jake Long helped lead the Wolverines to eight straight wins. Schilling will be the most experienced linemen on the offensive side and will be moving from tackle to guard. If Schilling get comfortable he could assert himself as the leader of this inexperienced offense.
The Wolverines need a leader to emerge next season if they want to have any success on offense. It will be difficult to follow in the footsteps of Long, Hart, Henne, and Edwards, but someone must assert themselves this spring. If Steven Threet had stayed on board he would've been the most likely candidate. With him gone, I believe Minor, barring any injury, will become the leader of this team.