A New Era Brings New Stars to the Field at Michigan
Rich Rodriguez is bringing in a new offense, a new coaching staff and Michigan fans better get use to a fresh set of players on the field too.
Long gone are the days of Chad Henne, John Navarre, Tom Brady, Drew Henson, and Brian Griese behind the center, throwing the ball 30 times a game, and taking off on the run five times a season.
Long gone are the days of zone defense that enabled safeties (Cough, Jamar Adams, Ernest Shazor) to look better than they really were.
This new batch of Michigan starters are going to be showcasing their individual talents on both sides of the ball.
On offense, with the spectacular quad-group of Long, Henne, Hart, and Manningham gone, Michigan will be leaning on a quarterback who has never taken a collegiate snap. Message boards across the net are burning up with "Michigan is done! They don't have a QB!" and "We can play our third string defensive backs against the Wolverines, now."
These are the same people who don't grasp the concept of the spread option. Many people are assuming Steven Threet will be the signal-caller for the Wolverines this season, and he very well may be.
However, even if he is, people need to realize that to run the spread option, all it takes is some innovative play-calling and, more importantly, 10-15 passes a game at most. I'd be more worried as a Michigan fan if the old offense was still in place. But with the spread option, the quarterback for this season, if it's Threet, will be nothing more than the guy who catches the snap.
To go with that, one of the dark horses to watch out for this season will be true freshman Justin Feagin from Florida. Most teams were looking at him as a safety at the collegiate level, but his athleticism at QB is incredible. Michigan fans should get use to the name, because I have a feeling it may be a household name around the Big House by the end of the season.
On defense, look no further than sophomore Donovan Warren, coming off a great freshman campaign. In the new modified 3-3-5 defense that will be ran, DB's are sometimes going to have to be good on an island, and it doesn't get much better than Warren...Morgan Trent, however, that's another story.
Warren is a bonafide physical specimen with the tools to be a First Team All-Big 10 player this season next to Malcolm Jenkins.
So while the Wolverines may not have a top five overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft on the roster, the new offense is going to cater to the strengths of the players (see: not throwing the ball 30 times a game with a new QB, or running the ball with a QB that has a 5.2 40), and not the weaknesses.
However, advocates against Wolverine football will come up with any excuse to downplay Michigan this upcoming season. They'll have another thing coming.
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