We're finally over the August hump and starting our downhill descent to NCAA Football.
A lot has happened in Wolverine land this summer, very little of which has boded well for Rich Rodriguez and his young team.
In case you live in a cave or have been hibernating during the offseason, here's a brief recap of what has happened in the Michigan football program since you've been away:
Demar Dorsey, a four-star 2010 safety recruit academically fails to get in to Michigan. Louisville decides they don't care about grades after all.
Denard has a spectacular showing at the spring game. The media would like you to believe there's a question about who is going to be starting for the Maize and Blue this fall, but anyone who isn't paid to speculate on such things knows that it's a foregone conclusion that the Force is not with Tate, for at least the beginning of this season.
The Big Ten, instead of grabbing Mizzou, Rutgers, or Syracuse and the huge TV markets that come with them (i.e. New York or St. Louis), they grab Nebraska, and all the corn you could want, and induct them into the Big Ten.
Allegations surfaced of Rich Rod's compliance staff showing up to voluntary practices, therefore going over the time-limit allowed for offseason workouts, which made the NCAA very disappointed. Michigan self-imposes sanctions on the football program, including firing three arguably unnecessary members of the compliance staff and limiting fall practice time. Tate Forcier celebrates.
AD Bill Martin retires and David Brandon steps in as new AD for Michigan. Michigan considers removing wings from helmets and adding a Domino's logo instead.
Troy Woolfolk calls out Tate Forcier for his lack of work ethic in summer workouts. God responds with the lightning bolts seen in the photo above, rendering Woolfolk's ankle and obviously superior work ethic useless. Gir sings a song about it:
Speaking of work ethic, Justin Turner turned into a big fat fatty during the offseason and, instead of trying to get back in shape, decided to bail from the team and was granted his release.
Tate Forcier was spotted at a practice without wings on his helmet, causing widespread panic in Ann Arbor. qbforce suffers hemorrhage.
All of that being said, I have to ask, "Dear God, is it September 4th yet?"
I can't remember the last time, if ever, there has been this much drama surrounding the program during the offseason, although, for completely unscientific reasons, I do feel like all of the negativity and drama is going to pay-off during the regular season. The gods of Karma should have had their fill for now and it's about time the sun starts shining in Ann Arbor.
I'm hesitant to say, "the worst is behind us" because, well, I'm a glass is half-empty kind of guy, and we haven't even kicked off the season yet.
Michigan has a rough schedule ahead of them; hosting a surprisingly good UConn team and then traveling to South Bend to play a confusing Notre Dame team (I say confusing because they always look good on paper, but the team has undergone some huge changes this year).
The Big Ten looks to be really good this year and I don't see things getting easier for the Wolverines in conference play. The teams at the top of the league are returning a lot of players (see: Ohio State and Wisconsin), while the teams at the middle to bottom of the league are more experienced (see: MSU and Indiana) and have even upgraded at key positions (see: Purdue).
Instead of going into a bunch of hypotheticals and predictions that you've already heard, unless you're a part of the aforementioned cavemen, I'll leave you with a little Clint Eastwood.
It looks like we have plenty of depth at the skill positions on offense. While I doubt Forcier has earned his way back into the good-graces of Rich Rod, and his starting position largely depends on D-Rob's performance against UConn, I think we will see plenty of both of them this season and, if he doesn't red-shirt, maybe even Gardner.
Both of the lines look to have improved from everything I've read. Note that regarding the D-Line, when I say "improved," I mean that the individual players on the line not named Brandon Graham have improved. The loss of Graham is the farthest thing from an improvement you can get.
Michigan has a bye week between Iowa and Penn State.
As I mentioned before, Michigan has a difficult schedule. If any year was prime, as far as the schedule goes, for RR to make a statement regarding his job and his abilities, it was last year. The schedule was about as strong as Micheal Cera, and there wasn't a game they played that wasn't win-able. This year is going to be a lot more interesting.
While the other players on the D-Line might have improved, it's going to be hard to fill Brandon Graham's shoes.
The old saying goes, "If you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one." I'm not too excited about having two. It's great that they have different skill-sets to bring to the table, but they also have different cadences, they place their hands in different spots on the center, and the receivers expect different velocities and arcs from them. Hopefully this doesn't cause too much instability.
If you're a Michigan fan you're probably doing a lot of what I've been doing the past couple days: praying to whatever gods you can that every opponent's first and second string QB's break their throwing hands. The secondary is just plain... disgusting. The depth chart at CB is JT Floyd, random freshmen, and "?". This is the second season in a row where Michigan has its worst secondary ever.
That's all I have right now. I'll be at the season opener vs. UConn. Look me up if you're going to be there and want to pregame.
Credit to http://midnightmaize.blogspot.com/ for the image.