In day two of our week long preview, I take a look at the 2013 Michigan Wolverines. The 2012 version went 8-5, but went 6-2 in the Big Ten, including a win over rival Michigan State. Three of Michigan’s five losses were by seven points or less.
This team is returning a few top players which includes offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and quarterback Devin Gardner. Not returning from last year will be Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs. Those two were big leaders on last year’s squad and will be missed. However, they will still have a chance to compete for their division.
The offensive should do fairly well again this year with lots of fast play-makers led by Gardner. At running back, Fitz Toussiant will get most of the carries. At receiver, Jeremy Gallon will lead the way with Jehu Chesson and Jeremy Jackson helping him out. Drew Dileo and Dennis Norfleet will also see plenty of action.
The real story though is the offensive line, which is a very young unit. They will have the two leaders, Lewan and Mark Schofield on the outside at the tackle spots. Other than that the line is young, with a freshman and two sophomores rounding out the inside. If the line comes together it can be a very productive year. If not, it could be a ton of three and outs for the Wolverines.
As for the defense, it should be a pretty solid unit. The defensive line is an upper class filled group who should make some noise with Frank Clark on the outside. The linebackers will be led by senior Cam Gordon who played in nine games last year. The other three are sophomores so expect a few mistakes in the beginning of the year. The secondary will also only have one senior in Thomas Gordon so they will also have plenty of mistakes I’m sure early on. To be successful, they will have to come together early.
Michigan has a.. some what easy schedule this year. They start the year off at home against Central Michigan, Notre Dame, and Akron. They should win all three but they will probably lose to the Fighting Irish. The next three games are at UConn, vs. Minnesota and then at Penn State. I believe they should win at least two of these three games to get a good start to conference play. Indiana should be an easy W, but then the rival Michigan State is in their way. It should be a great game but I think the Spartans pull it out this year. Nebraska the next week will be a tough game, followed by road trips to Northwestern and Iowa. And of course to end the year, “The Game” will take place on November 30th to end the regular season.
I believe this team will go 8-4 again. They have the talent to go 10-2 but I think the youth of this team will hold them back against Ohio State and possibly Michigan State. The losses will be Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame and my upset pick is Northwestern. Even though some fans will be disappointed, this year I feel will lead to better things for the Maize and Blue in 2014.