2008 Michigan Football Preview

BContributor IAugust 24, 2008

2008 Michigan Football Position Previews

Head Coach:  Rich Rodriguez

Offensive Coordinator:  Calvin Magee

Defensive Coordinator:  Scott Shafer

Strength Coach:  Mike Barwis

Returning Starters:  Offense: 3.  Defense: 7.  Special Teams: 4.

Key Offensive Losses:

  • QB Chad Henne : Miami Dolphins
  • RB Mike Hart : Indianapolis Colts
  • WR Mario Manningham : New York Giants
  • WR Adrian Arrington : New Orleans Saints
  • LT Jake Long : Miami Dolphins
  • LG Adam Kraus : Baltimore Ravens
  • C Justin Boren : Transferred to Ohio State
  • RG Alex Mitchell : Graduation

Key Defensive Losses:

  • OLB Shawn Crable : New England Patriots
  • OLB Chris Graham : Cincinnati Bengals
  • S Jamar Adams : Seattle Seahawks
  • S Brandent Englemon : Green Bay Packers

Offensive Outlook

Scheme:  Spread-Option Offense

Returning Starters:  WR Greg Mathews, TE Carson Butler, RT Steve Schilling

Impact Freshman:  HB Michael Shaw, HB Sam McGuffie, WR Martavious Odoms

Projected Starters:

  • QB Nick Sheridan : R-So.
  • HB Brandon Minor : Jr.
  • WR Greg Mathews : Jr.
  • WR Junior Hemingway : So.
  • WR Martavious Odoms : Fr.
  • TE Carson Butler : R-Jr.
  • LT Mark Ortmann : R-Jr.
  • LG Tim McAvoy : R-Jr.
  • C David Molk : R-Fr.
  • RG David Mooseman : R-Jr.
  • RT Steve Schilling : R-So.

Quarterback Situation:  Nick Sheridan will start week one because he has proven to the coaching staff that he has the best grasp on the offense, the best arm, makes the best decisions, and gives them the best chance of winning.  Steve Threet and David Cone will be reliable backups while freshman Justin Feagin redshirts.

Running Back Situation:  Brandon Minor is the starter, but Carlos Brown, Sam McGuffie, and Michael Shaw should all see adequate playing time and carries in Rich Rodriguez's multiple back system.  Mark Moundros is the returning fullback but will be limited in the new spread-option offense.

Wide Receiver Situation:  Greg Mathews is the lone returning starter from this core and should look to excel his game to the next level and become one of Michigan's next great recievers.  Sophomores Junior Hemingway and Toney Clemons look to be prominent players in Rich Rodriguez's offense along with freshman standout Martavious Odoms.  All four should see significant playing time while LaTerryal Savoy and Zion Babb fight for the 5th wide receiver position.

Tight End Situation:  Carson Butler looks to be one of the most important pieces of Rich Rodriguez's new offense.  Butler is not only strong, fast, and athletic, but also has a great set of hands which is why he could become one of the more surprising and dominant players in the conference.  Mike Massey is the lone offensive player who will not be back next year and looks as a solid backup to Butler.

Offensive Line Situation:  Steve Schilling returns as the lone starter on the offensive line that lost two players to the NFL and two players for personal reasons.  Mark Ortmann looks to solidify the other tackle spot while Tim McAvoy, David Molk, and David Mooseman look to complete the interior part of the line.  Perry Dorrestein, Mark Huyge, and freshman Ricky Barnum look to add depth to an inexperienced offensive line.

Defensive Outlook

Scheme:  4-3 Defense

Returning Starters:  LE Brandon Graham, DT Will Johnson, DT Terrance Taylor, RE Tim Jamison, MLB Obi Ezeh, CB Morgan Trent, CB Donovan Warren

Impact Freshman:  DT Mike Martin

Projected Starters:

  • LE Brandon Graham : Jr.
  • DT Will Johnson : R-Sr.
  • DT Terrance Taylor : Sr.
  • RE Tim Jamison : R-Sr.
  • OLB Austin Panter : Sr.
  • MLB Obi Ezeh : R-So.
  • OLB Marell Evans : So.
  • CB Morgan Trent : R-Sr.
  • FS Brandon Harrison : Sr.
  • SS Steve Brown : Jr.
  • CB Donovan Warren : So.

Defensive Line Situation: The strongest unit on the team that returns all four starters.  The defensive line lost weight over the off season and seem to be fast and better conditioned.  Will Johnson and Terrance Taylor take up the middle while Tim Jamison and lightening quick Brandon Graham occupy the end spots.  Ryan Van Bergen, Mike Martin, Adam Patterson, and Jason Kates look to be solid backups and rotate in frequently.

Linebacker Situation:  Obi Ezeh returns in the middle after a stellar freshman campaign.  Marell Evans and Austin Panter look to start on the sides of Ezeh while John Thompson and Jonas Mouton look to be significant contributors to the linebacking core.

Secondary Situation:  Donovan Warren and Morgan Trent return at the cornerback positions which may make them the best tandem in the Big Ten.  Steve Brown and Brandon Harrison look to occupy the safety spots with Charles Stewart rotating in with different packages.  Boubacar Cissoko and Michael Williams look for playing time as well in the secondary.

Special Teams Outlook

Returning Starters:  PK K.C. Lopata, P Zoltan Mesko, LS Sean Griffin, KO Bryan Wright

Impact Freshman:  KR Sam McGuffie, KR Michael Shaw

Projected Starters:

  • PK K.C. Lopata : R-Sr.
  • P Zoltan Mesko: R-Jr.
  • LS Sean Griffin : R-Sr.
  • KO Bryan Wright : R-So.
  • KR Steve Brown : Jr.
  • KR Brandon Harrison : Sr.
  • PR Donovan Warren : So.

Kicking Situation:  K.C. Lopata returns as the starting field goal kicker but don't be surprised to see Bryan Wright out on the field for longer field goals.  Zoltan Mesko returns at punter and looks to have a huge year while Sean Griffin returns for the snapping duties.  Jason Gingell is also back and looks to compete for playing time. 

Returning Situation: Donovan Warren will take over Greg Mathews job as punt returner while Steve Brown, Brandon Harrison, Michael Shaw, and Sam McGuffie fight for the kick returning duties.


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