Friday, April 13, 2012
Spring game preview: Michigan
By Brian Bennett
We're getting you set for each of this weekend's seven Big Ten spring games with a short preview of every one.
Let's take a look now at Michigan's Mott Spring Football Scrimmage:
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Michigan Stadium
TV: Big Ten Network (live)
Weather forecast: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a high near 63.
What to watch for: Because of a lack of depth on the offensive line, the Wolverines won't have a normal spring game. Instead, Saturday will be more like a regular practice with some scrimmaging.
It's still the public's first chance to see the reigning Sugar Bowl champions this spring and check out how some players are going to replace valuable leaders off last year's 11-2 squad. The defensive line in particular will be under scrutiny as Michigan attempts to replace three valuable senior starters up front. Brady Hoke hasn't always been happy with his line play this spring, so it would be encouraging if those guys could turn in a good performance to build on this summer. Remember that last year's defensive line was far from a finished product by the end of spring, and it ended up being one of the best in the Big Ten.
Fans will also want to see how Denard Robinson is throwing the ball. Reports from practice have been encouraging, as offensive coordinator Al Borges says his quarterback is using better fundamentals and passing with more accuracy. Robinson no longer has safety blanket Junior Hemingway at receiver, so Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon figure to be on the receiving end of his throws most often.
Also keep an eye on the young players in reserve roles. The Wolverines aren't blessed with a ton of depth -- hence, the lack of a true spring game -- and any major injuries could be problematic. Backups on the offensive line and all over the defense need to develop.