Michigan Football: 5 Toughest QBs Wolverines Will Face in 2013
Quarterbacks had a hard time against Michigan last season due to a pass defense that finished second in the Big Ten. If the Wolverines are going to compete with Ohio State for a conference title this year, a similar defensive performance will be needed, since there are a number of solid quarterbacks on the schedule.
Last season, Michigan didn't allow a single 200-yard passer until the 33-28 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. Impressive may be the word you're looking for.
The Big Ten isn't known for wonderful quarterback play, but there are a few flashy players who can keep any defense on its toes. Michigan better be prepared for a two-headed monster in Northwestern and two other quarterbacks who rushed for 1,000 yards.
5. Tommy Rees, Notre Dame
Date: Sept. 7
Notre Dame will have the privilege of facing Tommy Rees instead of Everett Golson this season. While not facing a dual-threat quarterback makes it easier on the defense, Rees shouldn't be taken lightly when the Irish come to the Big House for the annual rivalry.
Rees played a key role in Notre Dame's 13-6 victory last season, as he completed 72.7 percent of his passes for 115 yards and rushed for a touchdown. His numbers weren't incredible, but he did manage the game well and found a way to snap Notre Dame's three-game losing streak to Michigan.
Rees is an experienced quarterback who seemed to find his groove by doing more with less. He isn't going to throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns, but he can do just enough to win the game for his team. In the end, that's really all that matters.
4. Cameron Coffman, Indiana
Date: Oct. 19
Michigan has won the last 17 meetings against Indiana dating back to 1988.
Will Cameron Coffman be the difference in snapping that losing streak? It's highly unlikely, but he could give Michigan a few problems if he comes prepared when the Hoosiers travel to Michigan Stadium.
Coffman isn't the most accurate quarterback in the country, as he completed 60.7 percent of his passes last season and threw 11 interceptions. However, he is a gunslinger who isn't afraid to take chances in hopes of breaking the big one. He was one of three Big Ten quarterbacks with more than 400 pass attempts, and he did have 21 passes that produced 25 or more yards.
The Indiana quarterback really caught fire late in the year, finishing the final two games with a combined 802 passing yards and three touchdowns.
If that momentum can carry over, watch out.
3. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, Northwestern
Date: Nov. 16
Northwestern took Michigan down to the wire in a 38-31 loss last year and appears to be closing the gap with the rest of the Big Ten. The Wildcats will remain a tough team to play. A lot of that has to do with a two-quarterback system.
A combination of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian helped produce an offense that averaged 394.6 yards a game. While most teams struggle to rotate quarterbacks, Northwestern gets away with it because both players are unselfish and have different playing styles. Colter is a dual-threat who ran for 894 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Siemian is more of a drop-back pocket passer.
Preparing for one quarterback is hard enough, but two is nearly impossible, especially when they are unique. Northwestern produced 431 yards against Michigan, while the two quarterbacks passed for three touchdowns. Seeing this duo again can't exactly make the Wolverines' defense too comfortable.
2. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
Date: Nov. 9
One game that Michigan players, coaches and fans are looking forward to is the rematch against Nebraska. Michigan lost last year's meeting 23-9 in the same game where Denard Robinson got hurt and missed the following two games.
One thing Michigan won't look forward to is facing Taylor Martinez again. While his 166 passing yards and 58 rushing yards against the Wolverines wasn't a great indication of what he's capable of, Martinez had a year for the ages. He improved his completion percentage to 62.0 percent, passed for 2,871 yards, rushed for 1,019 yards and scored 33 touchdowns.
Martinez has been an impressive dual-threat quarterback during the last three years and seems to be getting better each season. He's a big play waiting to happen and should have everybody's attention when Nebraska sets foot in Ann Arbor.
1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Date: Nov. 30
It would be difficult to top Braxton Miller as the toughest quarterback on any team's schedule. Unless Michigan has a date scheduled to play against Johnny Manziel that nobody is aware of, Miller is the obvious choice.
Miller is a Heisman candidate, a 2012 All-Big Ten first-team selection and one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the nation. Last season, he passed for 2,039 yards, rushed for 1,271 yards and scored 28 touchdowns. He can make a defender look absolutely foolish in the open field, and he's put considerable time in during the offseason to work on throwing the football.
Even with pedestrian numbers in Ohio State's 26-21 victory over Michigan, Miller still completed 77.8 of his passes, which was a season high. Due to his playmaking ability and spending another season in the spread offense under head coach Urban Meyer, Miller is going to be a nightmare to defend.
Michigan will once again have its hands full in the annual heated rivalry.