Big Ten: John Sullivan

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
 
Quarterback
Who's gone
  • Chad Henne: Four-year starter, school's career passing leader, last fall went 162-for-279 passing, 1,938 yards, 17 TDs, 9 INTs, 130.5 rating
  • Ryan Mallett: Started three games last season, completed 61 of 141 passes, 892 yards, 7 TDs, 5 INTs, 105.7 rating. Transferred to Arkansas.
Up next
  • Steven Threet, Fr.: No statistics in college, Georgia Tech transfer sat out last season as per NCAA rules.
  • Nick Sheridan, So.: Appeared in two games last season, did not attempt a pass, served as backup holder.
  • Justin Feagin, Fr.: Dual-threat combined for 44 touchdowns (25 rushing, 19 passing) as a high school senior.
Running back
Who's gone
  • Mike Hart: Four-year starter, school's career rushing leader, last season had 265 carries, 1,361 rushing yards, 14 TDs.
Up next
  • Brandon Minor, Jr.: Appeared in 12 games last season, had 90 carries for 385 yards, 1 TD.
  • Carlos Brown, Jr.: Started three games last season, 75 carries for 381 yards (5.1 ypc average), 4 TDs.
  • Kevin Grady, Jr.: Currently suspended after DUI arrest, missed 2007 season with knee injury, had 187 rushing yards on 55 carries in 2006.
Wide receiver/tight end
Who's gone
  • Mario Manningham: Three-year contributor had team-high 72 catches for 1,174 yards (16.3 ypr) and 12 touchdowns last season.
  • Adrian Arrington: Second-leading receiver with 67 catches for 882 yards and eight touchdowns.
Up next
  • Greg Mathews, Jr.: Third-leading receiver last season with 39 receptions for 366 yards, 3 TDs.
  • Carson Butler, Jr.: Tight end started six of final seven games, had 20 catches for 246 yards, 2 TDs.
  • Mike Massey, Sr.: Tight end started four games, caught four passes for 38 yards.
  • Junior Hemmingway, So.: Caught four passes for 37 yards in 10 games last season.
  • LaTerryal Savor, Jr.: Had one catch for nine yards last season.
  • Darryl Stonum, Fr.: Freshman had 1,910 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns in prep career.
Offensive line
Who's gone
  • Jake Long: All-American left tackle went No. 1 overall in the NFL draft
  • Adam Kraus: All-conference left guard made 35 starts.
  • Justin Boren: Yep, he's definitely gone after starting the first eight games at center last fall.
  • Jeremy Ciulla: Started five games at right guard last season.
  • Alex Mitchell: Started five games at right guard last season.
Up next
  • Stephen Schilling, So.: Only returning starter primarily played right tackle with two starts at right guard last season.
  • Mark Ortmann, Jr.: Projected left tackle made two starts at right tackle in 2007.
  • Tim McAvoy, Jr.: Made only start at right guard last season.
  • David Moosman, Jr.: Backup center has appeared in seven career games.
  • Cory Zirbel, Jr.: Has appeared in 21 career games, played all offensive line positions except center.
 
NOTRE DAME 2007
 
Quarterback
Who's gone
  • Brady Quinn: Four-year starter, school's career passing leader, in 2006 completed 289 of 467 passes for 3,426 yards, 37 TDs, 7 INTs, 146.7 rating.
Up next
  • Jimmy Clausen, Fr.: True freshman ranked as nation's No. 1 recruit after passing for 3,428 yards and 49 touchdowns as a prep senior.
  • Evan Sharpley, So.: Had two collegiate pass attempts as Quinn's backup in 2006.
  • Demetrius Jones Fr.: Second-year player considered dual threat after racking up big numbers in high school.
Running back
Who's gone
  • Darius Walker: Three-year starter, in 2006 had 255 carries for 1,267 yards, 7 touchdowns.
Up next
  • Travis Thomas, Sr.: Former reserve running back switched to linebacker in 2006 before returning to offense.
  • James Aldridge, So.: Team's second-leading rusher with 142 yards on 37 carries.
  • Armando Allen, Fr.: True freshman missed senior season in high school with injury. 
  • Robert Hughes, Fr.: True freshman had 1,780 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns as a high school senior.
Wide receiver/tight end
Who's gone
  • Jeff Samardzija: School's career receiving leader had 78 receptions for 1,017 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2006.
  • Rhema McKnight: Four-year starter had 67 receptions for 907 yards and a team-high 15 touchdowns in 2006.
  • Darius Walker: Running back ranked third on the team in receptions (56) for 391 yards.
  • Marcus Freeman: Backup tight end had nine receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Up next
  • David Grimes, Jr.: Ranked fourth on the team in receptions (27) and receiving yards (224) as a sophomore. 
  • John Carlson, Sr.: Mackey Award finalist in 2006 ranked third on the team with 634 receiving yards, scored four touchdowns. 
  • George West, So.: Had two receptions for 14 yards and scored on an 11-yard run as a freshman. 
  • Robby Parris, So.: Appeared in seven games and caught one pass in 2006.
Offensive line
Who's gone
  • Ryan Harris: Mainstay at left tackle started all four seasons.
  • Dan Santucci: Two-year starter at guard.
  • Bob Morton: Multiyear starter at both center and guard.
Up next
  • John Sullivan, Sr.: Started the final two and a half seasons at center. 
  • Sam Young, So.: Started as a true freshman at right tackle before moving to the left side.
  • Paul Duncan, Jr.: Appeared in 12 games as a reserve in 2006.
  • Mike Turkovich, Jr.: Played sparingly in nine games as a sophomore, limited by neck injury.
  • Eric Olsen, So.: Appeared in eight games as a backup guard in 2006. 

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.

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