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2014 MICHIGAN WOLVERINES FOOTBALL PREVIEW

July 7, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



2014 MICHIGAN WOLVERINES FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Michigan Wolverines (1976 - Pres)

COACH: BRADY HOKE, 26-13 @ MICHIGAN

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: DOUG NUSSMEIER

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: GREG MATTISON

LAST LEAGUE TITLE: 2004

RETURNING STARTERS: 17, 7 OFFENSE, 8 DEFENSE, KICKER AND PUNTER

OFFENSE PPG: 32.2

RUSHING: 125.7

PASSING: 247.8

TOTAL OFFENSE: 373.5

DEFENSE PPG: 26.8

RUSHING: 140.2

PASSING: 231.3

TOTAL DEFENSE: 371.5

TURNOVER MARGIN: +5

Michigan Wolverines (1996 - Pres)

Michigan football fans aren’t used to losing, especially losing at least six games in four of the last six seasons.  This is unacceptable! So what will happen in 2014? We aren’t sure but there is plenty of pressure on Brady Hoke to get things fixed and do it quickly.

Youth was the name of the game for Michigan in 2013 and in 2014 youth will also be the name of the game. Michigan’s line was a huge disappointment in 2013 as they started nine different players upfront that managed only 3.3 yards per carry and had 460 negative plays from the line of scrimmage. Three starters return and will run a simple or blocking scheme that will hopefully help this young group adjust and make more progress this year. Erik Maguson will return at LT, Kyle Bosch at LG and Kyle Kallis at RG. The two new starters will be center Jack Miller and right tackle Ben Braden. That means for sophomores and one junior will be in the starting lineup August 30 against Appalachian State. Fifth year senior quarterback Devin Gardner can look good at times and can also look completely lost. In his defense, Gardner will be working with his third different coordinator in his five years. Gardner should be looking over his shoulder this fall at sophomore Shane Morris who will be looking to take Gardner’s starting spot. Michigan’s running game was one of the worst in the school’s history averaging only 125.7 yards per game which ranked 102nd in the country. Sophomore Derrick Green and sophomore De’Veon Smith will be the top two running backs for the Wolverines this season. Green was the top ranked running back in the 2013 signing class and a lot is expected of him this year. WR Devin Funchess will be the go to guy as he takes over for Jeremy Gallon. The two other starting receivers will be young and inexperienced in freshman Freddy Canteen and junior Dennis Norfleet.

Michigan Wolverines (1996 - Pres)

Michigan will have a new defensive staff in place and will return eight starters from a year ago with plenty of experience. Linebacker Jake Ryan will now play in the middle of putting Desmond Morgan as the weak side linebacker and James Ross on the strong side. Ryan will be the defensive captain, Morgan has started four years and Ross is a two-year starter. The line will return DE Frank Clark and DE Brennan Beyer. Beyer will make another position change moving back to the defensive line after playing linebacker early in 2013. Michigan’s secondary will return three of four starters and will have the nation’s number two recruit in Jabrill Peppers. Many feel peppers may start at one corner over junior Blake Countess. Peppers is the highest rated recruit Brady Hoke has ever signed. Starting at the other corner will be Ray Taylor with junior Jarrod Wilson starting at free safety and Delano Hill starting at strong safety.

The pressure is on at Michigan. Fans are getting tired of not playing in a major bowl game and competing for a conference championship. It also doesn’t help losing to arch rival Ohio State year after year. Michigan’s defense, especially the linebackers, are the strength of this football team. Devin Gardner must play better and be more consistent as the starting quarterback it Michigan’s offense is to progress to the next step. The offensive line will have to grow up quickly if Michigan is to have any chance at winning the Big Ten. Three out of the first four non-conference games are very winnable but the true early test will be on September 6th when the Wolverines travel to Notre Dame. Michigan will have a tough road contests in the Big Ten at Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State.


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