Michigan Spring Game: Five Areas of Concern Heading into the Game
This Saturday the Michigan Wolverines will scrimmage in front of 50,000 plus at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
New faces, a new defensive scheme, and plenty of questions await the throngs of fans and media members who will be in attendance to watch this glorified scrimmage.
I will be live blogging from Michigan Stadium tomorrow right here on Bleacher Report updating those interested in following what is going on inside the Big House. I will post as much information as I can to give you the best insight possible.
Here are five areas of concern and some questions that I would like to have answered when the Spring Game is over:
First, I would like know how the offensive line is coming along. More importantly, how does the 2009 class look? Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, and Michael Schofield are three from that class that should be able to help out as well as Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury from the 2008 class.
Second, I would like to see where the kicking game stands. Do they have a legitimate replacement for Zoltan Mesko? How is Brendan Gibbons progressing?
Third, who is the leading candidate to start at running back? Depth is not a problem at the position, but a lack of experience is. With Vincent Smith out with an injury, reports out of Ann Arbor have Michael Cox performing well this spring. Will he be the guy or will it be Vincent Smith when he returns from injury?
What about Fitzgerald Touissant, Michael Shaw, and Stephen Hopkins, will they see any playing time on this Saturday and could they see playing time on Saturdays this Fall?
Fourth, I would like to know how the defensive line is coming along. With Mike Martin out with injury, who has come in and shown they belong?
Is Craig Roh continuing to improve his game? From the reports, it sounds like he got bigger but didn't lose his speed, which sounds great. How is William Campbell coming along? Is he making improvements with each practice?
Fifth, what is going on with the linebackers and defensive backs? With Vladimir Emilien sidelined due to injury, how are the young guys doing? Is Cam Gordon adjusting well to the change of scenery?
Are Mike Williams and Troy Woolfork progressing the way they need to to be successful? Will JT Turner see any action at the Spring Game or in the Fall?
What are they looking to get out of the 3-3-5? Will it really benefit the players they have?
Many may wonder why I didn't mention the quarterback battle. It's not that it's not important, it's just not an area of concern.
I just know that when the scrimmage is over and they prepare for summer workouts and August training, fans will have more questions than answers.
Tate Forcier looked good at last year's Spring Game and he looked great through six games of the season, however, he regressed over the end of the season and we'll need to see if he can win the spot again this year.
Denard Robinson is said to be learning more this offseason and that will push Forcier and incoming phenom Devin Gardner to be better, too. Competition breeds excellence, right?
As big as the QB story is, they have bigger concerns: the lines (both defensive and offensive lines), the secondary, and the rest of the defense.
A few things I'm intrigued by is the depth on this team and if has it improved? Are they being coached well? Can you see improvement? Was the cupboard really bare or did Rich Rodriguez fail to recruit the players Michigan needs to succeed?
Spring Games can be a barometer for what the future holds and not just the near future.
A few things I'm looking forward to seeing on Saturday is the play of Jeremy Gallon, Devin Gardner, Michael Cox, Brandin Hawthorne, Taylor Lewan, JT Turner, and Austin White. That is if they get on the field!
Although many questions need to be answered over the next eight months, these are some of the concerns that I see that needed to be addressed and hopefully were addressed this spring and that they continue to improve over the course of the season.
What are you, the readers, looking to see from Michigan at the Spring Game? Let me know.
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