Jeremy Gallon completed one of the best careers for a wide receiver in Michigan football history last season. But Michigan’s revamped receiving corps appears to be vastly improved than with the holder of several team and conference receiving records donning the maize and blue.
There’s a telling statistic floating around regarding Michigan’s expected offensive line for Saturday’s season opener against Appalachian State. If the Wolverines roll out its expected offensive line of Mason Cole, Erik Magnuson, Jack Miller, Joey Burzynski, and Ben Braden, it will be a group consisting of only 12 career starts, The Detroit Free Press’ Mark Snyder reported.
The Wolverines were dreadful at running the football last season. At quick glance, the 1,634 total rushing yards look decent. But for a team that once prided itself on a strong ground game and expected to return to said level, ranking 103rd out of 125 FBS teams is atrocious. There’s no way around it, nor is there a nicer way to say it.
The Wolverines play in a conference that isn’t quite the three yards and a cloud of dust that our grandfathers remember. Michigan was thrown at 434 times in 2013 and it will be important that the defensive backfield takes a step toward stopping the pass in the rapidly approaching season.
After losing standout outside linebacker Jake Ryan in spring camp before the 2013 season to an ACL injury, Michigan had a sizable question mark at the linebacker position. This season, the Wolverines look to have experience and stability on their side.
The Michigan offensive line suffered some growing pains in 2013. Aside from having two NFL-caliber tackles anchoring the line, it was a group filled with inexperience. Losing Taylor Lewan and Michael Schoefield will not make things any easier, but multiple guys made debuts and gained experience last season.
After Michigan’s defensive line dominated Saturday’s open scrimmage, head coach Brady Hoke said the team is looking for someone to separate from the others. Hoke mentioned Clark, who’s become a conference force but has dealt with inconsistency.
The name Jabrill Peppers has been uttered in the same breath as Charles Woodson since the day he decided to commit to the Michigan Wolverines. Whether or not he may actually live up to that comparison has yet to be determined. But there is one thing that is a fact: the hype is real.
For those in attendance during Michigan’s open scrimmage Saturday, memories of an inept running game from 2013 flashed in Doug Nussmeier’s public fall debut as the team’s offensive coordinator.