The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Michigan State. Gardner 's stellar performance early, and uncanny ability to make a big play when needed against South Carolina, offered a glimpse of Michigan's future offense and the potential All-American quarterback U-M has coveted since Chad Henne departed in 2007. Overall, though, inconsistency plagued the Wolverines' signal-callers. When they were good, they were very good, completing 58.9 percent of their passes, throwing 15 touchdowns and six picks and compiling a pass efficiency rating of 162.23 in eight wins. But they connected on less than half of their attempts (46.3 percent) and had twice the interceptions as touchdowns (11 to five), with a pass efficiency rating of 93.32, in the five losses. Grade: B-   Running Back Summary: In 21 seasons coaching Michigan's running backs, Fred Jackson has never previously experienced a year like this. The U-M tailbacks and fullbacks combined for just 928 yards and 12 touchdowns on 245 carries (3.79 yards per attempt) — a yardage total lower than in any other season in at least the last 50 years (U-M's official statistical archives are not comprehensive prior to the 1960s). Hoke isn't one for excuses, but he would mention the struggles of the offensive line when expressing his difficulty in accurately assessing the performance of the Maize and Blue's ball carriers. However, outside of a few fleeting moments — a run here and there — the backs rarely showcased the ability to grind out muchneeded yards or hit the home run when the opportunity arose. Redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint provided some optimism in November, rushing for 193 yards on 34 carries (5.7-yard average) in three games before suffering a season-ending leg injury against Iowa. But in his absence, senior Vincent Smith, sophomore Thomas Rawls and redshirt freshman Justice Hayes combined for a paltry 1.8 yards per carry against Iowa, Ohio State and South Carolina. Smith was a stopgap, Rawls failed to seize his opportunity and Hayes couldn't overtake either despite their meager production, though there will be second chances for the latter two. The running backs weren't helped by their teammates up front, but they cannot point the finger without also owning up to a middling season. Grade: D   Wide Receiver Summary: When Darryl Stonum was kicked off the team last spring, wide receiver became a source of concern for the Wolverines. The coaches, however, were confident someone would fill the voids left by Stonum and Junior Hemingway, and redshirt junior Jeremy Gallon would, while other teammates delivered solid contributions sporadically throughout the year without ever putting it together week after week. The 5-8 Gallon played a complementary role to Hemingway in 2011, catching 31 balls for 453 yards, but he

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