- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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The national title game was less than three weeks ago, but without college football, time just seems to move so much more slowly. This offseason is going to be a long one, but we’re taking a look at what each Big Ten team must do this offseason.
Michigan Wolverines, you’re up.
1. Figure out an offensive line and stick with it. This was Michigan’s biggest issue offensively this season. The Wolverines worked their way through several starting lineups and never settled on which five linemen were their best until late November, which was about four months later than they wanted it to be. Because there was so much shuffling, the five linemen never really gained the kind of chemistry you want to see in an O-line and Devin Gardner paid the price for that. Without an effective offensive line, the Michigan offense never consistently played up to its potential. And now the Wolverines must look to replace tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, while also building a cohesive unit. It’s no easy task, but if Michigan wants a shot in big games next season, fixing the O-line will be priority No. 1.
2. Work on defensive technique. Why didn’t the defensive line get a solid four-man rush? They didn’t focus enough on their technique. Why did the secondary struggle in coverage? Fundamentals and technique. Why did the linebackers miss open-field tackles? You guessed it, more fundamentals and the lack thereof. There were so many issues on every level of the defense so it’s hard to just pinpoint one aspect that would need to greatly improve. However, if the fundamentals and technique of each member of the Michigan defense improve, then the defense as a whole should as well.
3. Have Gardner gain chemistry with wide receivers. Gardner lost his security blanket in Jeremy Gallon (1,373 yards on 89 catches) so he’s going to need to find new go-to receivers in this offense. Amara Darboh, if he returns well from surgery, as well as Jehu Chesson could be guys who have the ability to come up big. More than half the receiving yardage this season came from graduating seniors so the Wolverines will need to find new player to take over that production.
More to-do lists: