The Wolverine

March 2013 - Signing Day Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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A Look Ahead Key Players, Questions And More For The 2013 Football Campaign A By Chris Balas play here, a play there. That can be all that separates an 11-2 season (2011) from an 8-5 campaign (2012), in this case Brady Hoke���s first two years as Michigan���s head coach. A look at the postseason is a perfect example. Many would argue that the 2011 team played a lesser opponent and a much worse game in a 23-20 Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech than the 2012 squad did in a 33-28 setback to South Carolina. At the end of the day, however, the victory over the Hokies propelled the Wolverines into the top 10 of the final polls and, arguably, to a top���10 preseason ranking the following campaign. Some of the 2013 prognosticators, including���s Dennis Dodd, don���t have Michigan in their top 25.���s Mark Schlabach has U-M No.��23, with four Big Ten schools ahead of the Wolverines. Where they���ll finish, of course, is anyone���s guess (though it says here they���ll be on the cusp of the top 10 by year���s end). Here are some top-five lists of what���s working for them, what���s working against them and more heading toward spring football. ��� Five Players To Get Excited About 1. Devin Gardner ��� The rising senior quarterback showed he could be a special one despite his up-and-down Outback Bowl, finishing the 2012 season with 1,219 passing yards, 11 touchdown tosses and five interceptions after replacing the injured Denard Robinson. He���ll battle Nebraska���s Taylor Martinez and Ohio State���s Braxton Miller for top Big Ten quarterback honors, if he continues to mature (he���s already made strides) and shows the required dedication in the offseason. 2. Devin Funchess ��� An All-Big Ten freshman and FWAA Freshman All-America selection at tight end in 2012, Funchess started the season with a bang before disappearing at times. He was targeted 27 times and caught 15 passes for 234 yards and five touchdowns,

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