Ahhhh, the 2009 season is inching ever so much closer, only 32 days till kickoff in the Big House vs. Western Michigan. Preseason camp is only a week away, so let's take a look at players to watch as we head into the 2009 season.
Quarterback: Tate Forcier
He was very impressive in the spring, showing off his athleticism and accuracy. The coaches were very impressed with his showing, but he did make mistakes in practice.
Keep in mind, he played against the second team defense in the spring game. So as we head into camp, the thing to watch for Forcier will be whether he can he carry momentum from the spring into fall camp.
Also, Denard Robinson will be challenging him. However, Forcier is a step ahead of him. I expect Forcier to carry his momentum from the spring and create a gap between himself and Robinson.
Expect Robinson to see 10-15 snaps a game, as he brings something that no one can match: his great speed.
Man, can that guy run.
Running Back: Vincent Smith
Here's another freshmen that enrolled early and impressed the coaches with his speed and acceleration. He is only 5'8", which many people criticize, but what most people don't know is the smallest people are usually the fastest.
Trenden Holliday, down at LSU, is a 5'5" RB and WR that is a star in both track and football. So, expect Smith to continue to impress. His small stature helps him hide behind the big offensive lineman, right where the defense cannot see him.
I think you know what happens when a small guy hides, and then all of the sudden...BOOM! He takes off for a 75-yard TD.
Yes, the offensive line will be the anchor for this team in 2009. The coaches raved in the spring about how much better the o-line will be. The guys definitely impressed their coaches.
Now that they have a full season of strength and conditioning under their belt, they are expected to come together as a group and help anchor the offense. Senior Mark Ortmann seems like the kind of leader Michigan needs. He defended his team and his coach with his recent comments about the two o-lineman who left and criticized coach Rod.
After meeting and talking to some of the o-lineman, I think they seem like really awesome guys who are determined to come together and lead this team.
Linebacker: Stevie Brown
When new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson came in, he insisted that Brown switch positions to accompany his skills. So Brown is now a hybrid linebacker, and he is very excited about the move. Brown said "I'll play anything," if it means helping his teammates.
Earlier today, Angelique Chengelis of Detroit News posted an article about how Brown is out to prove himself. I encourage you to check it out. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Brown adjusts to his new role. He should do fine.
The Wolverines lost three starters on the d-line from last season and will be looking to replace them. DT Mike Martin should help the young guys get accustomed early. Look for Ryan Van Bergan and Renaldo Sageese to step up and try to fill the holes. It's going to be a tough task to handle.
Look for Freshmen Will Campbell to also be in the mix. Overall, DE Brandon Graham and DT Mike Martin are the only returning guys with experience on the d-line. Don't be surprised if they struggle early, but they should pick up the pace as the season rolls along.
SS Mike Williams
He's a physical, hard-hitter, who likes to hit. He had an impressive showing in spring ball, but can he carry that into fall camp?
That will be a big concern, as Michigan will be inexperienced in the secondary and will be looking for players to step up during camp.
But again, Williams is a hard-hitter who needs to play under control. He tries to make every play a highlight, and that is not good because a miss could mean big yardage or a touchdown. Hopefully, he will be more under control and help out tremendously this fall.