5 Reasons to Believe Michigan Football Is Back

Richard SchlaudContributor IIMay 8, 2011

5 Reasons to Believe Michigan Football Is Back

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    There are many ways to describe the last three seasons in Michigan Football. Trying. Frustrating. Maddening. Saying it's been rough for Wolverine fans is an understatement. Under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines have struggled. A 15-22 record in three seasons is tough to swallow for a program steeped in pride and tradition. But there is hope. Hope that the future will return the program to one of the Big Ten's elite. Here are five reasons for Michigan fans to be optimistic about the future.

Respect for the Michigan Wolverines' Tradition

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    Respect. That word has so much meaning for the new coaching staff. New head coach Brady Hoke has assembled a staff that respects the tradition, the facilities, the players and everything that goes into Michigan football. They also garner plenty of respect starting with new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. The former DC of the Baltimore Ravens has been called college football's best recruiter by former head coach Urban Meyer. Hoke also respects the coaches that came before him and even preaches about 'the team'.

Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year Denard Robinson

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - APRIL 16:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines runs for a short gain during the annual Spring Game at Michigan Stadium on April 16, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Keeping Denard Robinson as a Wolverine was job #1 for Brady Hoke and after meeting with the speedy QB, the new coach came away quite impressed by the young man with the infectious smile. Offensive coordinator Al Borges has transitioned a few spread offenses into pro style offenses so he's been there, done that. The thing even he admits is that he's never had a QB with this kind of speed. Once he becomes a more polished passer, look out.

Former Ravens Defensive Guru Returns to Wolverines

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - APRIL 16: Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison watches the action during the annual Spring Game at Michigan Stadium on April 16, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Having been the Defensive Coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens on your resume gets anyone's attention. That's instant respect after working with the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. But anyone who's met Greg Mattison realizes there's more, much more to him than being an excellent coach. He's a coach with passion, a coach that truly cares about his players and a coach who wanted to be at Michigan as long as it was with Brady Hoke. Mattison didn't care if the defense was one of the worst statistically the previous season. That's just a challenge to him and his coaches. He LOVES Michigan and knows the mission is to restore the program to greatness.

The 2011 Michigan Wolverine Offensive Line

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 19:  The Michigan Wolverines  offense sets on the line of scrimmage agaisnt the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Michigan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Michigan won 45-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    David Molk, Taylor Lewan, Patrick Omameh, Christian Pace, Rocko Khoury, Elliot Mealer, Ricky Barnum and Mark Huyge. The offensive line must show stability and consistency during this transition year. As long as this group stays relatively healthy, the offense should get better at running the ball. If the nasty streak in Lewan can rub off on the other players, it could be much better. Adding big tight ends into the offense will also help this group.

Recruiting at the University of Michigan Goes Old School

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 15:  Jake Long #77 of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 15, 2007 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won 38-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Imag
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The new coaching staff has begun recruiting bigger players, like previous coaches did before RichRod. I'm not sure where the next Jake Long is but you can believe that this new group of coaches will be doing everything they can to find those 'Michigan Men' and get them to commit to Michigan and becoming part of the storied tradition. Greg Mattison is one of the top recruiters, if not the best, in the nation. Fred Jackson has been part of the Michigan staff since 1992. That says volumes about the man. And head coach Brady Hoke comes from the old school, the BO school. His passion reminds many of Bo's passion for the game. Learning important lessons from the legendary coach will serve Hoke well as he restores greatness to the Maize and Blue.