Michigan Football 2008 Preview

Richie LovellCorrespondent IJune 28, 2008

Michigan Stadium isn't the only thing being reconstructed up in Ann Arbor these days. The football team and coaching staff is being reconstructed also.

Gone are Chad Henne and Mike Hart, who had started for the Wolverines since their freshman year, in which they led the Wolverines to a Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. 

Michigan fans are hoping that their 0-4 record against the Buckeyes goes with them.

This season will be about new faces for the Wolverines, starting at the top with new coach Rich Rodriguez, who will bring along his vaunted spread offense to Ann Arbor.

Rodriguez went 60-26 as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, winning the Big East crown in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007.

But Rich Rodriguez has left behind quarterback Pat White and the Mountaineers and is going to start anew at Michigan. His first season at West Virginia he went 3-8. He's hoping for better success in his first year with the Wolverines, and his success could come down to the quarterback play.

Redshirt freshman Steven Threet is the projected starter at quarterback for the Wolverines. Threet does not seem equipped to run the offense, but the Wolverines really have no better option, to well…run the option.

But what will help Threet is the relative strength at the running back position, lead by junior running back Brandon Minor. The former four-star prospect should do a nice job filling in at running back. While he lacks breakaway speed he makes up for it with his toughness, vision, and ability to break away from tackles.

Minor finished last season with 385 yards rushing but only one touchdown to show for it.

At wide receiver, Greg Matthews needs to step up his play as for he is the only proven player in the bunch. Matthews finished the 2007 season with 366 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

The Wolverines lost a combined total of 2,056 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns between Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington.

The only bright spot for the Wolverines coming into next year is their defense, which projects to have six senior starters, led by senior cornerback Morgan Trent, along with defensive end Tim Jamison and strong safety Brandon Harrison.

The defense may have to lead this team in the early going as the offense tries to find its way, and they should do just that as they should be one of the stronger defensive units in the conference.

The first game of the year for the Maize and Blue could set the tone for the early part of the season. The Wolverines don’t want to start out the season 0-1 as they did a year ago, but it seems likely to happen.

The Wolverines will have to open the season against one of the stronger non-BCS teams in football, Utah, which led by senior quarterback Brian Johnson will give Michigan the kind of test they need early in the season.

Fans should get a glimpse right away as to whether or not this will be another successful year in Michigan football, or quite possibly, the first losing season in quite a long, long time…