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Michigan Football: 4 Biggest Challenges for Al Borges

Austin FoxCorrespondent IIOctober 9, 2016

Michigan Football: 4 Biggest Challenges for Al Borges

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    Al Borges has certainly received his fair share of criticism during his tenure at Michigan, with some of it being deserved and some not.

    We've seen this offense look incredibly efficient at times under his leadership, yet look downright awful at others.

    This was most evident in the three games Michigan failed to score a touchdown last season.

    Being efficient and consistent is what this offense needs to do this season, but Borges will certainly face challenges along the way. 

4. Establish a Reliable Receiver Other Than Jeremy Gallon

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    Michigan knows what its getting in Jeremy Gallon: a small, yet productive and reliable offensive weapon.

    Beyond him there are question marks in the receiving corps. Somebody else needs to emerge in the passing game.

    Drew Dileo is a guy that probably won't be a star as a senior, instead projecting as more of a solid role player.

    Devin Funchess is arguably the most popular candidate, and it was actually Borges who took a lot of the heat last year when Funchess had a minimal impact down the stretch.

    Funchess simply needs to be a huge part of the offense this fall.

    Perhaps the safest pick, though, is Amara Darboh. Now a sophomore, he definitely should be ready to emerge and play a big role.

    As long as somebody other than Gallon steps up in the passing game, this group should be in decent shape.

3. Develop a No. 1 Workhorse Running Back

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    Al Borges has said countless times during his time at Michigan that he prefers a one-back system over a running back-by-committee approach.

    Well, Michigan probably isn't ready to have that yet this year. Fitz Toussaint showed he's capable of carrying the load during the second half of 2011, but he has yet to demonstrate that ability over a full season.  

    Plus, it's hard to predict if he will be able to perform at that same level after last year's injury.

    Derrick Green will certainly have an impact as a freshman, but he's probably not ready to carry the load quite yet.

    What this will likely result in is a sharing of the carries between Toussaint and Green.

    I'd love to think that Toussaint would be able to be the primary ball carrier and lead this attack as a fifth-year senior, but I just don't think he'll be able to do it on his own. 

2. Establish an Effective and Efficient Ground Game

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    This one ties in heavily to the previous slide, but many other factors will have a say in this other than who the starting running back is.

    Michigan's ground game last year (minus Denard Robinson) was an embarrassment, as the numbers the running backs put up were some of the worst in school history.

    There simply cannot be a repeat of that in 2013. Much of that responsibility will obviously be put on the shoulders of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green.

    The rest of it will be put on the offensive line. This unit was downright pitiful last season, but there will be many new faces that could spell a much better attack for the Wolverines. However, these new starters will also be young and inexperienced.

    If the line gels and the running backs step up, then this could be a very good ground game.

    If neither happens, it could spell disaster.

1. Improve the Offensive Line Dramatically

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    This is, by far, priority No. 1. Not only for this offense, but the entire team. Heck, I'd even go as far as to say that this could make or break Michigan's entire season.

    If this unit comes together the way some are expecting, then this could wind up being a very, very special season.

    If not, then we could see something similar to last year's disappointment.

    Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield are absolutely fine as the bookends on this line; the key is the interior. Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis are likely to wind up starting at left and right guard, respectively, but both are redshirt freshmen and have never played a snap in college.

    Those two aren't the biggest question marks, though. That lies at center, the most important position on the entire line. Jack Miller is the likely starter, but only by default.

    His biggest competition comes from two walk-ons in Graham Glasgow and Joey Burzynski, and incoming freshman Patrick Kugler.

    Darrell Funk deserves the majority of the blame for last year's mess on the offensive line, not Al Borges, but both men will have a huge opportunity to quiet their critics this season.

    And it all starts on the offensive line.

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