Chat with Chantel Jennings
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Thursday, reporter Chantel Jennings stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football.
Jennings joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering University of Michigan athletics for three years at The Michigan Daily. Jennings graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Spanish and lives in Ann Arbor.
Send your questions now and join Jennings Thursday at noon ET!
Chantel (12:02 PM)
Hey guys! Thanks for stopping in. Let's get this chat rolling!
Josh (Charlotte, NC)
Is Devin starting Saturday? From what I'm hearing is that him and Denard are going 50/50 on the snaps.
Chantel (12:03 PM)
I think we could see him starting. He played really well against Minnesota so Michigan isn't really in a situation now where they even a slightly-injured Denard Robinson is the best choice. If Robinson is even a bit injured or not feeling 100 percent I do think we could see another Devin Gardner game.
Brandon (Ann Arbor)
I know you guys are probably sick of this question by now, but still thinking Treadwell has Michigan as 1st choice or is he honestly as wide open as he comes across?
Chantel (12:09 PM)
I'm not sure if Treadwell has a definitive #1 school. I think he has a lot of schools that he likes a lot, and Michigan is there and it has been there for a long time (which means something). His coaches have been making sure he takes his time and right now, he's just focused on the rest of his senior season so his recruitment is on the backburner a bit. I think Michigan has a shot, but so do other schools.
True or false: Shane Morris cements his status as a legendary recruiter this weekend by talking Leon McQuay into committing on the spot.
Chantel (12:10 PM)
Ha, pretty sure Morris has already cemented that spot. Not sure there's a better 17-year-old recruiter in the country. As far the McQuay stuff, we'll see.
Kreger (Boston )
How do you envision this weekends game playing out? Who do you think could be difference maker for Blue?
Chantel (12:12 PM)
Well the big question on everyone's mind is whether or not Denard will play. I think that could be a difference maker. The other big question is: how does Michigan's run game shape up? They seemed to get it going a bit against Minnesota, so will they actually put together a solid rushing attack this weekend? I'm excited to see how that all shapes up and I think it could be a difference maker.
jordan (kc) [via mobile]
im a big fan of the maize and blue, but im woriried about nebraska winning the legends. Is there still a chance of michigan to claim the legends division and maybe go on to the rose bowl?
Chantel (12:13 PM)
Anything is possible. Nebraska hosts Penn State and Minnesota and then travels to Iowa. Could they lose out? It's possible. Will they? Doubtful. Michigan's fate isn't in its own hands at this point and right now the Rose Bowl seems kind of far away for them.
Clayton Davis (Newark Ohio)
Has the coaching staff ever flirted with putting SHOELACE at slot WR? That would give opposing D's nightmares worrying about Gardner, Shoelace and FITZ.
Chantel (12:14 PM)
Since Hoke and company got here they've had Denard slotted as the QB. He's too much of a threat not to have in that position. Yes, I think he'd be a wicked WR, but I don't coach. And the coaches, who have done this a long time, believe he was bet fit for Michigan as a QB.
Will (Miami Beach, FL )
Hola Chantel, Do you think Nebraska will lose this weekend? I cant believe they snuck by MSU. We need a B1G TEN Title Belt.
Chantel (12:16 PM)
I think the Penn State-Nebraska game could be a really interesting one to watch. The Nittany Lions are on a roll in the Big Ten (4-1) and going to Lincoln to play in Memorial Stadium with the Sea of Red will be a huge challenge for PSU. If Nebraska loses and Michigan beats NU, there are a few more routes to a possible Big Ten title game for the Wolverines. But if Nebraska wins, then a few doors will be shut.
Issa (Rochester Hills)
Offensive line needs to do a better job or are the running backs doing a terrible job or finding the gaps. Which one is it? Cant stand seeing Fitz get stonewalled every time he gets to the line.
Chantel (12:20 PM)
It's a combination I'd say. The O-line has had some breakdowns from time to time but at the same time Fitz has made some questionable choices about which holes to hit and he has had a tendency to run east and west rather than north and south. Borges said last week: it's never one thing. I think that's the truth here.
UM Hoops at home vs #6 NC St next week. Who wins?
Chantel (12:21 PM)
This is going to be one heck of a game. Crisler Arena is going to be a sea of maize and I think the Wolverines will enjoy the home crowd advantage. Early season predictions are always hard because you don't really know what you're going to get. Yes, Michigan's young players have looked really, really good....against SVSU. So, can that carry over to higher competition? We'll see. I think that'll be the deal maker or breaker.
Issa (Rochester Hills)
Remember when Tom Brady was not the starter? You think it is the right move to keep Fitz the starter because he is the senior? I am on the fence about it. Not sure what the coaches think.
Chantel (12:28 PM)
It's so hard to say. We've only seen spurts out of Rawls, but I've been really impressed. The coaches are sticking with Fitz probably because of what they've seen in practice and the fact that he has had success in the past. But against Minnesota we saw a lot more of Rawls, I think that could be a sign as we head down to these last few weeks of the season.
Northwestern runs the ball a ton. Will Michigan be able to keep their run defense fresh? 49 rushing attempts two weeks ago against Iowa is a lot. 349 yards is as well.
Chantel (12:30 PM)
It'll be a big test for the linebackers. I think Jake Ryan will have a huge game this weekend. Michigan's D-line has slowly gotten better so if they get some pressure up front and alleviate the necessity for the linebackers to do so much then you'll get plays when Ryan and Desmond Morgan and Kenny Demens can make big stops.
Issa (Rochester Hills)
Mattisson > Narduzzi so far? What you think? Biggest turn around for Michigan these past two years considering where they were at.
Chantel (12:31 PM)
I've been shocked with what Mattison has done. Last year was the biggest turnaround one could've imagined. And this year, they've been really good. Now, it's the little things - technique, movements, form. Schematically and body-wise he changed the players to get who he wants on the field. Now, it's the little things.
. (Ace Duece)
What area of the game is Michigan focused on improving most this week?
Chantel (12:35 PM)
Defensively, I'd say it's making earlier stops. The Wolverines have been great in the red zone, but the problem is: you can only be "great in the red zone" when you allow teams to GET to the red zone. I think they're working on not allowing those big plays that get teams there. Offensively, I'd say it's establishing more chemistry with Gardner. If he's playing this weekend, then they need to make sure there's enough chemistry and flow between him and the receivers/offensive line/rest of the offense to make sure its effective.
Issa (Rochester Hills)
With the running backs / offensive line issues... this leads to defenses blitzing Denard/QB every time. Our pass offense can't be successful without balance. Borges working on that?
Chantel (12:36 PM)
Yes, they're working toward a balance. The run game opens up the pass game and the run game hasn't gotten going. It's attributed to several things but the result is that Denard is getting blitzed like crazy. But yes, I'm sure they're working on it.
Zeek (Rochester, NY)
I have some concerns about our O-Line next year. Is Jake Miller not as good as Mealer(which would be disappointing)? Will Schofield stay at RT? Will Chris Bryant be able to stay healthy, If not who will step in?
Chantel (12:37 PM)
The O-line next year will be young but talented. They've saved redshirts and have had younger players study under some of their guys. With these younger guys building chemistry now, there will be a huge amount of growth in the offseason and next year, I think you'll see that. Miller is good, which is why he has been getting reps with the first group this week. Hoke said they've been trying things out on the O-line, so we might see some different faces in there this week.
The linebackers are definitely going to need to have big games on Saturday to stop Northwestern's spread. Who else shows up big?
Chantel (12:38 PM)
JT Floyd has been waiting to get his first interception, I think that could happen this weekend. And I think we see the D-line get more pressure than they have in the past few games.
I'm getting worried about treadwell. Is Michigan falling behind on him
Chantel (12:41 PM)
It's too early to get worried. He has a ton of visits to take and I think his recruitment process is going to take a big longer than people expected. He'll be in town at some point and Michigan will roll out the red carpet for him. What happens after that, we'll see.
Nicolas (Charlotte, NC)
Hoops question: Do you think we finally have the size down low to contend?
Chantel (12:43 PM)
Yeah, I've been impressed with Michigan's big-man game so far. Between Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary the Wolverines really have options down low. Then, you have guys like Stauskas, Hardaway Jr. and Robinson who create mismatches on the outside. If Horford can get healthy, that just gives them more options. Should be interesting this year to see how it all plays out.
Issa (Rochester Hills)
Bellomy wasnt the answer for Michigan...but Shane will be any different? This worries me. Will Gardner be the QB next year? I'm thinking Shane will have issues with this offense/personnel until Borges "cleans house". Thoughts?
Chantel (12:44 PM)
I think Gardner will be the QB next season. Shane will have a year to redshirt and get his body physically ready. That year can be so crucial to the development of players. If Morris can have a year to grow and develop in the offense without the pressure of NEEDING to play, that could be huge for Michigan down the road.
Northwestern's D can give up some significant yards in the passing game. Is it time to unleash Funchess? Or would it be better to start with Roundtree & Gallon?
Chantel (12:47 PM)
I think we'll see the passing game rounded out to all those guys. Michigan has made it pretty clear there's no "go-to" guy this season. I think we'll see passes going every way (also, don't forget Dileo).
Mike (Cincinnati, OH)
How does the O-Line look? Are we going to see some changes this week. Some of the starters look like they are struggling. We need a run game no matter who plays QB!!!
Chantel (12:52 PM)
I think we will see a few changes this week, nothing major, but perhaps Joey Burzynski and Miller will get in for a few snaps just to see if the chemistry changes at all.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Worst Michigan College Football Game that you have seen this season?
Chantel (12:57 PM)
Haha, that's a tough question. I was in the Big House as a student for the App State and Toledo losses....so let's just say those give you....perspective.
Dileo definitely needs to have a big game. His post game pressers are fun.
Chantel (12:58 PM)
Well, Michigan hopes he has big games. He seems to catch almost everything and yes, he's pretty funny in pressers.
Everything is been quiet on the Bellomy front. Do you think he might transfer this off season after such a horrible game and fan backlash? It seems like none of the coaches want to or can speak about it now.
Chantel (12:59 PM)
No one really knows what's going on with that front right now. I don't know if he'll transfer because yes, he had a rough game against Nebraska but the coaches have been really impressed with him. There are minutes to be had depending on what happens the next few seasons, so we'll see.
Lots of talk has been made about Hoke being coy on injuries. Why hasn't any reporter directly asked Hoke "Why are you so insistent on hiding or not disclosing injuries?"
Chantel (1:00 PM)
Maybe at the end of the season we can ask him about that. We only get so much time with him every week so we want to make sure we ask about the football team, not about his interviewing tactics.
Chantel (1:01 PM)
Alright guys, great chat! Tomorrow I'll be on the GameDay chat, so bring questions there. Otherwise, Mike will take the Thursday chat next week! See you all later.