Michigan spring wrap

May, 6, 2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan Wolverines
2008 overall record: 3-9

2008 conference record: 2-6

Returning starters

Offense: 10; Defense: 5; Special teams: 1

Top returners

RB Brandon Minor, WR Martavious Odoms, WR Greg Mathews, WR Darryl Stonum, RT Stephen Schilling, LB Obi Ezeh, DE Brandon Graham, CB Donovan Warren, P Zoltan Mesko

Key losses

QB Steven Threet, DT Terrance Taylor, DE Tim Jamison, DT Will Johnson, S Brandon Harrison, CB Morgan Trent

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Brandon Minor* (533 yds)
Passing: Steven Threet (1,105 yds)
Receiving: Martavious Odoms* (443 yds)
Tackles: Obi Ezeh* (98)
Sacks: Brandon Graham* (10)
Interceptions: Morgan Trent (3)

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 Western Michigan
Sept. 12 Notre Dame
Sept. 19 Eastern Michigan
Sept. 26 Indiana
Oct. 3 at Michigan State
Oct. 10 at Iowa
Oct. 17 Delaware State
Oct. 24 Penn State
Oct. 31 at Illinois
Nov. 7 Purdue
Nov. 14 at Wisconsin
Nov. 21 Ohio State
Spring answers

1. Forcier develops -- The quarterback competition resumes in August, but Michigan can feel a bit better about the most important position on the field after true freshman Tate Forcier made progress this spring. Forcier had some growing pains, but he also showed the ability to create on the move. The early enrollee impressed the crowd at the spring game, throwing for four touchdowns, including a 60-yarder to Roy Roundtree.

2. Smith emerges -- Running back could be Michigan's strongest position in 2009, and the Wolverines got an added bonus this spring with the emergence of Vincent Smith, an early enrollee. The bite-size Smith generated some buzz with his speed and elusiveness. He needs to add weight to be a significant contributor, but he could give defenses a different look.

3. Brown does it all -- Stevie Brown moved into a linebacker-safety hybrid role this spring and showed promise in new coordinator Greg Robinson's scheme. Brown will be a bigger factor in Michigan's run defense as well as covering slot receivers, fullbacks and tight ends in the middle of the field.

Fall questions

1. Flipping quarters -- Michigan still needs a starting quarterback and just as important, it needs to build depth at the position. Junior Nick Sheridan appeared to be playing well this spring before breaking a bone in his leg. If Sheridan and incoming freshman Denard Robinson can push Forcier in the summer, the Wolverines will be a lot better off this season.

2. Defensive line -- The Wolverines know what they have in senior end Brandon Graham, but the other three line spots are open entering the summer. Promising defensive end Ryan Van Bergen should be fine following minor knee surgery, and early enrollee William Campbell will be a factor right away at defensive tackle. Heralded recruit Craig Roh joins the mix in August.

3. Offensive rhythm -- Ten starters return on offense, and Michigan should be improved at quarterback. Rich Rodriguez's scheme is no longer foreign to most of these players, but establishing a rhythm in preseason camp will be vital. Rodriguez will lean heavily on the running backs and the offensive line to establish a viable ground game.



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