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2011 NCAA Football Spring Preview: Michigan Wolverines

A new regime, a new beginning. For the Michigan Wolverines, the quicker the 2011 season starts, the better. After a 2010 season that saw them finish a dismal 108th in total defense, the new regime is ready to erase those memories and put the maize and blue back where they feel they belong—on top of the Big Ten.

It is all going to start with quarterback Denard Robinson, one of the most electrifying players in the Big Ten. In his first full year as the starting quarterback, the load proved to be a little too much for Robinson and when the Wolverines entered the meat of Big Ten play, he got dinged up and it cost Michigan in a couple of games.

Still, the sophomore had a Heisman caliber season and was one of the most exciting players in the country to watch, so that is where the Wolverines will build their offense—the ball must be in Denard Robinson’s hands every play.

That doesn’t change the fact that Robinson is going to have to get better as a passer, in which case he has some great receivers to throw to, led by Roy Roundtree. Roundtree is a playmaker in every sense of the word, and came up big on multiple occasions for the Wolverines.

This is a team whose prime focus is not going to be on their elite level offense, but the porous defense which simply could not be relied upon whatsoever last year. New head coach Brady Hoke will make fixing the defense a priority, and to help do that, he brought in former Ravens assistant Greg Mattison.

I think Michigan is a team that will be much better than expected this year. If you can’t keep pace with them offensively, it will be a long day for you, and if their defense can improve even to the top 80, it will be a much better season for them.

I can see the Wolverines winning 8, maybe 9 games and making it to a bowl game, while challenging for the Legends side of the Big Ten all season long. I think the defense will take more time to get fixed, though, and that could be another hindrance this season.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.