Michigan Wolverines:Pre-Kickoff Edition
—Sorry about no newsletter yesterday—I didn’t get around to sending it out. Here’s a double dose today to make up for it —I’ve been reading stuff online like crazy to get ready for tomorrow. GO BLUE!
1 days, 4 hours, 20 minutes, and 22 seconds left until Utah Utes! Go Blue - Michigan Football!
Utes visit Michigan for just second time
Michigan vs. Utah Game Preview
The Five Most Intriguing College Football Games of Week One
Ute football: Michigan in transition as it prepares to face Utes in opener
Utah Utes football: Joppru looking forward to return to Big House
Who will U-M's QB be? Should the team be ranked?
Questions that are sure to have U-M fans talking this season
What is the biggest advantage of the spread offense?
Tempo. The Michigan players are in such good shape, the pace they create on the field with the no-huddle offense is sure to wear down opponents. Other teams train hard, but the running the Wolverines have done for the past eight months —before, during and after practice—will make an enormous difference, particularly on hot game days early in the season. The team had a major adjustment period last winter, when players were throwing up during strength-and-conditioning coach Mike Barwis' sessions. But after some initial second thoughts, players have embraced the conditioning regimen and realize the difference it will make.
U-M QB recruit welcomes competition
Michigan linebacker competition fun to watch
Big Ten - Is This Buckeyes' Year?
8) MICHIGAN (13-2, 50-1) - The transition from Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez will pay off in the long run, but not in 2008.
Offense - Even though Chad Henne's numbers declined since his freshman season, he still ended up as the school's all-time career passing leader. Mike Hart also leaves as the number one rusher with over 5,000 yards. The team's top two receiving leaders also waive bye-bye along with four-fifths of the starting offensive line. All I can say is good luck, coach.
Defense - Michigan also loses its top four tacklers after allowing 882 rushing yards over the final four games. The Wolverines' top two interception leaders also depart, and the entire "D" must learn new schemes.
Outlook - Michigan should improve as the year moves along, but don't expect more than five wins (three in the Big Ten). The Wolverines get a huge break as five of their first six games are at home, but then again, that didn't help last year as they lost the first two in Ann Arbor. It's been a long time since Michigan finished below .500 (1967), but that streak will end in '08. The Maize and Blue are 5-0 as an away dog the last four years.
Untested UM leaves plenty to ponder
25 Michigan keys: #14: How does the defense prepare?
How can the Wolverine defense be ready to mash it out up front when they spend all their time working against the spread?
The answer is, hopefully, going to come from the way Scott Shafer prepares his defense. Michigan should be very well conditioned, able to line up, slug it out, and be aggressive. Instead of trying to completely switch the defensive attack game to game, or worry about making Michigan's offense mimic an opponent, Shafer will rely on what his team has.
Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson adapts to new philosophy, assistants
Michigan Wolverines Odds to Win 2009 BCS & Season O/U Total Wins Odds
Michigan Wolverines 2009 BCS National Championship Odds to win
SBG Global: 55/1
Michigan Wolverines Big 10 Conference Odds to win
SBG Global: 13/2
Michigan Wolverines 2008 Season Win Over/Under Totals
Michigan Wolverines Over 7.5 Wins (-105)
Michigan Wolverines Under 7.5 Wins (-125)
Newsome decommits from Michigan, exploring his options
Lower-tier teams play up to the competition
Pressure rises on young Wolverines
With few key seniors, these Michigan players must make an immediate impact on the field
Scouting the Big Ten: Michigan Wolverines
University of Michigan's offensive line tops list of questions heading into season
Q: Who will be Michigan's breakout offensive player?
Heuser: Junior tight end Carson Butler. This guy has a world of talent, and the word is that he's finally maturing into a dependable player. In the spread offense's short passing game, Butler's name could be called with frequency.
Carty: Tailback Brandon Minor. Despite all the talk about other backs, Minor has the size and athleticism to make his own yardage (and he'll need to, at times, behind this line).
Pitts: Michael Shaw. Lots of hype about the McGuffie kid, but this freshman has a chance to be real good also.
Big Ten football 2008 season overview
Last year: 9-4
Big Ten: 6-2
Bowl: Capital One Bowl; beat Florida, 41-35.
Coach: Rich Rodriguez (first year at Michigan; 105-62-2 overall, 15 years)
The good stuff: The Wolverines feature a veteran defense, particularly on the line where returning starters Terrance Taylor, Will Johnson, Brandon Graham and Tim Jamison will be hard to handle. Punter Zoltan Mesko and kicker K.C. Lopata are top-notch specialists.
To be determined: Whether an offensive line and backfield decimated by graduation can be successfully filled by inexperienced players.
Camp update: A bunch of freshmen will play based on what they've shown in training camp. Rodriguez said he expects as many as 10 first-year players to see game action early in the season. Some may even start.
Newcomers to watch: A pair of running backs, Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw. They're fast, shifty and versatile enough to be plugged into a variety of spots in coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense.
Pivotal players: Quarterbacks Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan, and redshirt junior left tackle Mark Ortmann. Ortmann—who has started twice in his career —will be protecting the blind side of Michigan quarterback tandem.
Make or break game: The season opener against Utah—which went 9-4 last year and returns 16 starters—should be telling. A victory will be meaningful, while a loss could forecast a rocky first year for Rodriguez and the Wolverines.
In the end: No matter how outstanding the team's defense might be, an offensive line consisting of four new starters and a shaky situation at quarterback can't inspire confidence. Michigan will win enough to extend its consecutive bowl streak to 34, but won't be playing on New Year's Day.
Outsider may be just what Michigan needs to regain swagger
25 Michigan keys: #15: Can the offensive line survive?
25 Michigan keys: #21: Believe. Believe. Believe.
Tough transition in Michigan
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez's move from West Virginia was anything but smooth, with lawsuits and player unrest following.
Young Michigan team fired up by Rodriguez
Michigan offensive linemen up for challenge
Rodriguez talks quarterbacks, Utah, Victor's Walk
Michigan State more stable than Michigan ... for now
2008 Season Michigan Preview: Game by Game Predictions
Best Case for the Wolverines: 10-2
Worst Case: 6-6
Big House Blog Prediction: 8-4
College Football Picks: Shopping for Line Value in Week 1
Lots of holes to plug at Michigan
Appalachian State loss motivates Michigan
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