Chat with Michael Rothstein
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Thursday, reporter Michael Rothstein stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football.
Rothstein joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering the University of Michigan for AnnArbor.com, Notre Dame for the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette and a host of colleges for the Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Va.). A Syracuse graduate and an East Meadow, N.Y. native, he lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Send your questions now and join Rothstein Thursday at noon ET!
Connor Boyd (Muskegon, MI)
What do you think Michigans future of winning a big ten championship is?
Michael Rothstein (1:16 PM)
Connor -- this season obviously none, but Michigan is doing a good job on the recruiting trail and have the potential down the road for a really nasty defense. Next season could be a stretch as Michigan loses a lot and will be transitioning from a spread/hybrid to true pro style offense, but by 2014 I'd say they'll have a definite shot.
Lamont Johnson (Fort wayne,Indiana)
What will Michigan do without Denard Robinson ? Do you think they can win without him?
Michael Rothstein (1:18 PM)
Michigan should have him for the bowl game. As far as next season and beyond, yes, Michigan will win without him. The Wolverines' offense will look more like the one you've seen the last month starting next season and their defense should improve. Plus, next season's schedule is much more favorable with no Alabama-like opponent and Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State all in Ann Arbor versus on the road.
justin schust (sarsota, fl)
can David Dawson or Gareon Conley still play for michigan ?
Michael Rothstein (1:19 PM)
Justin, anything is possible but both players have decommitted. From what our recruiting folks have gleaned, Conley will still be treated as an active recruit, just not a commit so if he wants to commit and there are no spots left, it won't happen. Dawson's case appears, in my opinion, to be a bit more complicated.
THE rivalry has been rejuvenated by the hiring of Hoke and Meyer. I live near the Ohio-Mich border and all I hear is how great Meyer is. Do you see one as being a better overall coach? Overall meaning recruiting, game day coaching, player development, etc. I know it can seem like splitting hairs, but as an expert, give us your gut feel. Thanks.
Michael Rothstein (1:21 PM)
There are so many variables, but I don't think you can argue with the success Urban Meyer has had. Just by looking at national championships and undefeated seasons (he was undefeated for a year at Utah and now Ohio State and two national titles at Florida), it is tough to make a case any other way. Brady Hoke has done a great job recruiting and is a good motivator, but his in-game adjustments and clock management have not always been great. I think, right now, you have to go with Meyer due to production and those national titles. That said, both are very, very good coaches.
Why do you think the UM staff did not gameplan more plays with Gardner and Robinson together against OSU?
Michael Rothstein (1:23 PM)
Kris, that's the big question. Michigan said it didn't have enough plays and the "timing of it" wasn't right. Don't necessarily buy that considering how well it worked a week earlier against Iowa. I have a tough time believing the coaches wanted to use it against the Hawkeyes and not in what they believe is the most important game of the season. I really have no answer for you, especially once Denard Robinson at quarterback became predictable with runs every single play.
Chuck (Columbus, OH)
What are your views of the 2013 recruiting class, thus far?
Michael Rothstein (1:25 PM)
Chuck, it's a really strong class. Shane Morris is obviously the jewel of the class and a potential big-time college quarterback. The offensive line recruits, though, might be the most important because beyond all of them being very talented, they help shore up the biggest need -- both skill and numbers-wise for depth -- on the entire roster. If you're looking for a surprise from the class, though, I'd look at Jake Butt or Channing Stribling. Both could be very, very good players for Michigan.
Matt Rood (norfolk, va)
Will michigan actually play texas a&m in the bowl game?
Michael Rothstein (1:26 PM)
That has not been determined yet, but I'd like to see Johnny Manziel face Michigan's defense.
If Hoke had a headset on, do you think he would have called timeout and not let the 4th & 3 Denard up the gut play go?
Michael Rothstein (1:30 PM)
Mike, I don't think it had anything to do with the headset being on or off. He took the blame for that call. When I asked him about it Monday, he said his one regret was calling the timeout. He said he wanted his guys to line up and go for it, which sounded to me like Michigan was planning a fake punt (Hoke only said "Maybe" when asked if that was the case). It was a weird play call after a timeout as well. But Hoke took the blame at least for the timeout.
justin schust (sarasota,fla)
do you think michigans defense of line will be better next year ? didnt have many sacks this year !
Michael Rothstein (1:33 PM)
Maybe. I know that is kind of a copout answer, but there are a lot of unknowns on the line (replacing two starters in Craig Roh and William Campbell). There is a lot of talent there, starting with rush ends Frank Clark and Mario Ojemudia, but also a lot of youth. Quinton Washington should be back next season and that will give experience, but there will be a lot of questions there -- perhaps more on the defensive line than any other part of the defense. If guys learn quickly, though, that unit could be better at the end of next season than they are now.
Michael Rothstein (1:37 PM)
Thanks everyone for the great questions today. Hope everyone enjoys the conference title games this weekend.
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