Since Rich Rodriguez became the head football coach at Michigan, there has been concern in Ann Arbor about the personnel required to run his spread offense.
That concern is not without merit. It's true, Michigan doesn't have the necessary personnel, and that isn't likely to change between now and August 30, when the Wolverines kick off the 2008 season against Utah (upset alert).
It seems likely that freshman Steven Threet, a transfer from Georgia Tech, will be at the helm this season, although sophomore Nick Sheridan and incoming freshman Justin Feagin will put up a fight for the QB job.
Threet is a mobile passer, but not exactly the type of quarterback Rodriguez has had success with in the past. Threet is not Pat White. Michigan doesn't have Pat White—or Terrelle Pryor for that matter.
But relax, Michigan fans. Rodriguez is a smart man, and Threet is a quality quarterback (13th-rated quarterback coming out of high school in 2007). Rodriguez isn't going to try to turn him into something he isn't.
He's more likely to mold Threet's strengths to fit the basics of the spread offense.
Don't expect Michigan's offense to look like West Virginia's last year—but don't expect it to look like Michigan's last year either.
Expect somewhat of a mix of the two—short rollout passes for Threet, with some option mixed in here and there, without a lot of designed quarterback runs.
This year is as much about recruiting for Michigan as it is wins and losses. I would be surprised if Threet is a four-year starting quarterback at Michigan (if, in fact, he does get the job this year).
Rodriguez and his staff will be working hard to get the best high school players in the country that fit the spread offense, so that in the future, he can unleash the whole beast.
The current players on the Michigan roster were brought in to run Lloyd Carr's pro-style offense—night and day from the type of players Rodriguez needs.
However, with the emphasis seemingly on the Michigan offense this offseason, it's their defense that will dictate the team’s success on the field. While the offense returns just two starters from last year’s squad, the D brings back eight.
Yes, it was that defense that cost Big Blue a humiliating defeat at the hands of (now three-time defending national champion) Appalachian State.
However, it was also that defense that held opponents under 15 points per game during Michigan's eight-game win streak that saved the season.
Because of the state of the Wolverine offense, it will be up to the defense to win games when this transitioning offense can't quite put it together for 60 minutes.