#6 Michigan Football 2012 Preview

Michigan Wolverines

Overall Rank #6
#1 Big Ten Conference
Michigan College Football 2012 Team Preview
Michigan Team Page


When Brady Hoke took over the Wolverines a season ago the defense was one of the worst in the Big Ten and Michigan had not won more than 10 games since 2006. But what a difference a year makes. In that year Hoke completely transformed this Michigan team. They boasted one of the most dominate defenses in the nation, along with a productive offense. Michigan capped their magical first season with a thrilling overtime victory in the BCS Sugar Bowl over Virginia Tech.  Now expectations could not be higher for the second year head coach, as Michigan is expected to be the class of the Big Ten.

2011 Record: (11-2 Overall, 6-2 Conference)  
2011 Bowl: Sugar Bowl VS Virginia Tech (W 23-20)   
Coach: Brady Hoke (11-2 at Michigan, 58-52 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Al Borges
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Mattison

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Denard Robinson, QB, 1,349 yards  
Passing: Denard Robinson, QB, 2,173 yards
Receiving: Jeremy Gallon, WR, 453 yards
Tackles:  Kenny Demens, LB, 49
Sacks: Jordan Kovacs, S, 4
Interceptions: Courtney Avery, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees:  RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, WR Roy Roundtree, FB Stephen Hopkins, OL Taylor Lewan, DE Craig Roh, LB Jake Ryan, K Brendan Gibbons

Key Losses:  WR Junior Hemingway, DL Ryan Van Bergen, DL Mike Martin

Michigan is a well rounded team; however the true strength of this team, as evidenced by last season’s success compared to the year prior, is their menacing defense. Teams simply could not get anything going offensively against the unit. They ranked 6th in the nation in scoring defense and 17th in total defense. They are returning many key starters and their young key players will continue to improve. This was Hoke’s first year of coaching up this defensive squad so another full year should make this unit even tougher.
On the offensive side of the ball the Wolverines relied heavily on their two pronged rushing attack. It is spearheaded by Denard “Shoelace” Robinson, who is one of the most electric players in the nation. The dual threat quarterback always has a chance to break a big play with either his feet or his arm. He is supplemented by the powerful and talented running back in red shirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint. Together they combine for one of the most deadly thunder and lightning rushing attacks in the nation. Once again, this run game will be the Wolverines golden ticket on the offensive side of the ball.

Although Michigan’s offense can be scary it also is very one sided. The Wolverines passing attack is a big weakness for them. There are questions about Robinson’s accuracy and decision making, two attributes that will slow down an offense. He needs to get more comfortable in the pocket and become a better passer in order for this offense to truly take flight.
Michigan also struggled on special teams, a very over looked but important part of the game. They were 117th in the nation in kickoff returns. This means the offense did not have the luxury of starting in good field position enough times. If they can set up better field position, this offense could be even more deadly. Their net punting was also terrible, ranking 109th in the nation. If they can improve their punt team, the defense could force even more mistakes this year and give up fewer points, making this team one of the best in the nation.

The Bottom Line:
The Wolverines are one of the best teams in the nation and appear to be the class of the Big Ten. They will be difficult to stop with Denard Robinson at the helm; of course he needs to stay healthy for them to be as dominate as they can be. The defense will keep this team afloat and should help the Wolverines manhandle a lot of teams. This team should be playing in their second straight BCS Bowl game under Brady Hoke.  

Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 221.85 (13th in the nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 182.85 (93, 8)   
Total Offense: 404.69 (42, 3)   
Scoring Offense: 33.31` (26, 2)  
Rushing Defense: 131.69 (39, 3)   
Pass Defense: 190.46 (16, 5)   
Total Defense: 322.15 (17, 4)   
Scoring Defense: 17.38 (6, 2)   
Turnover Margin: .54 (25, 2)  
Sacks: 2.31 (29, 4)  
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (33, 3)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#102 Denard Robinson

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#53 Kyle Kalis
#59 Ondre Pipkins
#75 Joe Bolden
#76 Erik Magnuson
#121 James Ross
#151 Royce Jenkins-Stone
#152 Terry Richardson
#188 Dennis Norfleet
#215 Amara Darboh