2011 Michigan Wolverines Football: Some Assembly Required

Jesse MurphyContributor IIFebruary 1, 2011

Brady Hoke will try to return Michigan back to the FBS elite.
Brady Hoke will try to return Michigan back to the FBS elite.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As National Signing Day is upon us once again, the Michigan Wolverines find themselves rebuilding the team once again.

Fortunately, Brady Hoke is a pretty good mechanic.

The former San Diego State head coach has taken over at Michigan and seeks to add more talent to the Michigan roster. Since he was hired after the New Year, his recruiting time has been limited, but even with the clock working against him, he has managed to increase Michigan’s commitment total to 18, as of post time Tuesday evening.

Some people say that he (or another coach) should have been hired after the Ohio State game, so that he would have had more time to recruit. While I can understand that sentiment, may I remind these people that the last hire Michigan made before a bowl game resulted in the mess that the team is in now. Add to that the fact that all of Michigan’s potential coaches were leaders of bowl-bound teams, and one can understand why AD David Brandon waited to pull the metaphorical trigger on Hoke.

The team needs help on the defensive side of the ball and in special teams, so Hoke likely has tried to recruit strongly there. The addition of former Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison could also help bring in more high-profile recruits. In reality, almost any help defensively would be appreciated, and since Hoke cut his teeth at Michigan as a defensive line coach, he knows the schemes well.

Offensively, there is a reported surplus of wide receiver commits, which bodes well for Denard Robinson, who returns for his junior year. Most of the offense, in fact, is returning from 2010, but the offensive line lost some key blockers, which may affect Robinson’s game plan to a degree. However, the talent that is present should help Michigan win several games this year.

In essence, the Rich Rodriguez tenure at Michigan seemed like a three-year nightmare for Michigan faithful. There will likely be some growing pains as the team adjusts under Brady Hoke, but the offense should remain potent, and the defense/ special teams should see improvement even with the personnel already present.

This team has enough talent to at least become bowl eligible, and an improvement beyond 2010 is not entirely out of the question, either. However, the team’s schedule is not a particularly easy one, with the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, and 2012 will pose even tougher challenges with Michigan playing Alabama and Air Force that year. Still, the basic pieces are in place for this team to return to the elite. Time will tell if the coaching change was an effective one, but for now, Brady Hoke is working hard to make the rebuilding a rapid one.