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New-look offenses: Michigan 2008 vs. Notre Dame 2007

8/4/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- This probably needs a disclaimer, so here it is.

Michigan won't go 3-9. Michigan won't have the nation's worst rushing offense for most of the season. Michigan won't go three plus games without scoring an offensive touchdown. Michigan won't allow a nation-high 58 sacks.

But from a pure personnel standpoint on offense, there are some obvious parallels between what Michigan lost after last season and what Notre Dame lost following 2006. And unlike the Fighting Irish, the Wolverines are adjusting to a new coach (Rich Rodriguez) and a new system. That should be a good thing, given the conservative play-calling and wasted talent of recent seasons, but it's still something to consider.  

Here's a position-by-position look at the two offenses, who was lost and who returned.

MICHIGAN 2008     NOTRE DAME 2007  
WHY MICHIGAN WILL BE BETTER

Michigan returns more at running back and should be able to field a stronger group of wide receivers to help the new starting quarterback. The biggest key for the Wolverines will be developing the offensive line. Notre Dame's primary error in 2007 was not emphasizing physical play up front in the preseason. Michigan has made strength and conditioning the focus of the winter, spring and summer. The Wolverines should see it pay off this fall. Though both teams lost record-setting playmakers and Rich Rodriguez historically struggles in his first season at a new school, Michigan should adjust easier.