Michigan Wolverines 2009 NCAA Football Preview

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Michigan Wolverines

Big Ten Conference


2008 Record: (3-9, 2-6)

2008 Bowl: none

Coach: Rich Rodriguez (3-9 at Michigan, 108-71-2 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Calvin Magee

Defensive Coordinator: Greg Robinson


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Brandon Minor, RB, 533 yards

Passing: Nick Sheridan, QB, 613 yards

Receiving: Martavious Odoms, WR, 443 yards

Tackles: Obi Ezeh, LB, 98

Sacks: Brandon Graham, DE, 10.0

Interceptions: Stevie Brown, S, 2


Other Key Returnees: TE Kevin Koger, WR Greg Mathews, P Zoltan Mesko, C David Molk, G David Moosman, LB Jonas Mouton, OT Stephen Schilling, WR Darryl Stonum, Donovan Warren

Key Losses: S Brandon Harrison, DE Tim Jamison, DT Will Johnson, RB Sam McGuffie, DT Terrance Taylor, LB John Thompson, QB Steven Threet, CB Morgan Trent


Well, year one under Coach Rich Rodriguez did not go very well. The Wolverines ended up with a dismal 3-9 record and missed out on a bowl game for the first time since 1974. Implementing the new offense proved to be difficult and what should have been a quality defense failed to live up to expectations, mostly due to the fact that the offense put them in bad situations all the time.



But now everybody is back on the offensive side of the ball, except part-time starting quarterback Steven Threet. While sometimes that is not a good thing on a team that struggled so much moving the ball down the field, it is in this case. That extra year of experience running Coach Rodriguez’s offense cannot do anything but help. The influx of talent on the recruiting trail will also give the team a few more options that actually fit in the system. In the meantime, quarterback Nick Sheridan is not going to blow anybody away, but if he can keep the mistakes to a minimum, Michigan will win some games. The Wolverines have to be able to run the ball and that falls on Brandon Minor and Michael Shaw. The offensive line was mixed and matched last year, but everybody is back and once the staff finds the right combination, the ground game should flourish.



Players like Morgan Trent, Tim Jamison and Terrance Taylor were supposed to make Michigan’s defense good enough to make up for any short comings the offense had during the 2008 campaign. But the defense not only played worse than they were supposed to, but the offense rarely gave the defense much of an opportunity to do anything. And now the Wolverines have to move on without most of their stars from a year ago. However, linebacker Obi Ezeh is back after leading the team in tackles last season and end Brandon Graham tallied an incredible 20 tackles-for-loss and ten sacks. Those two are a good nucleus to build around, but Coach Rodriguez needs to find some youngsters who are ready to fill in some of the voids all over the defense.


The Bottom Line:

This season cannot be as bad as it was last year. Besides the win against Wisconsin and the usual victory in Minnesota, the Wolverines looked awful every week. Even if the defense takes a small step back, the offense simply has to take a step forward. The Wolverines schedule is full of home games and this team better be at least 2-2 after starting off against Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan and Indiana all in the friendly confines of the Big House. Even a 2-2 record will have some Michigan fans screaming at Coach Rodriguez.


2008 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 147.58 (59th in nation, 7th in conference)

Passing Offense: 143.17 (108, 11)

Total Offense: 290.75 (109, 11)

Scoring Offense: 20.25 (99, 11)

Rushing Defense: 136.92 (50, 6)

Pass Defense: 230.00 (87, 9)

Total Defense: 366.92 (67, 9)

Scoring Defense: 28.92 (84, 10)

Turnover Margin: -.83 (104, 11)

Sacks: 2.42 (33, 6)

Sacks Allowed: 1.83 (57, 3)