The Wolverine

2022 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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22 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW gone and some holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, what can the Wolverines muster for a sequel?" Phil Steele, in his 28th annual preseason magazine, thinks Michigan "should be even more potent," and he projects U-M as the No. 5 team in the country and second in the Big Ten behind you know who. Of the Wolverines, Steele said: "This year they have an improved offense, and my No. 1 offensive line and No. 1 special teams unit in the country. They will likely be 11-0 when they travel to Columbus but will need to win there for the first time since 2000. If they do, they are a national title contender." And, as Don Meredith so famously said on ABC's Monday Night Football some 50- odd years ago, "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas." Opposing Coaches Dish On Michigan In their annual scouting reports from anonymous opposing coaches, both Athlon and Lindy's shared comments that pointed to 2021 as being a historic season and turning point for Michigan. "This was a changed program … and the results reflect that," one coach said via Ath- lon. "You saw a different energy here, they had more speed than in recent years and they were still just as physical. They were violent on film. It was Michigan football." That coach went on to note: "We're curi- ous to see how they're managing the two quarterbacks and if J.J. [McCarthy] gets more time. They both have upsides, but that's a tricky thing to manage correctly." Lindy's anonymous coach said: "At quar- terback, of course, the best player should play. Still a number of questions there. You want to let them compete. Jim [Harbaugh] knows what's best, but how that plays out will be fascinating." Lindy's coach focused on the U-M offense saying that "the run game will need to domi- nate for the Wolverines to even have a chance [at beating Ohio State this season]. … It's going to be interesting to see if Donovan Ed- wards can emerge as a difference maker. … If he breaks out in a big way, that's a helluva one-two punch with Blake Corum. As good as anybody's." Regarding the defense, Athlon's coach was blunt. "You just can't replace those edge guys [Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo]," he said. "Those are NFL players, and Michigan is great, but that's not a plug-and-play situation for anybody." As for Lindy's coach in the shadows, he cautioned that "nobody should underestimate the loss of defensive coordinator Mike Mac- donald [to the Baltimore Ravens]." In the final analysis, these two opposing coaches counterbalanced their plaudits with the assertion that Michigan was a one-hit wonder in 2021. "… But making the College Football Play- off again will be a stretch," Lindy's coach stated. "They won't be able to beat Ohio State with their roster this season." "What you're looking for this year is how fast they resupply. Was '21 the exception or the new rule?" asked Athlon's coaching insider. National Accolades Michigan kicker Jake Moody was the lone Wolverine All-America pick (first team) by Lindy's. Phil Steele also touted Moody as a first-team All-American, and placed offen- sive guard Zak Zinter alongside him on the top preseason squad. Moody was tabbed as a second-team All-American by Athlon, which also listed grad transfer Olu Oluwatimi as a third-team All-American at center. In its individual player ratings, Lindy's rated "Money Moody" the No. 2 kicker in the land and fellow Wolverine specialist Brad Robbins checked in as the No. 4 punter. Along the offensive line, "stud grad trans- fer" Oluwatimi was picked as the nation's No. 3 center, while Zinter was rated as the No. 4 guard. U-M running back Blake Corum was ranked as the nation's No. 7 running back. Former Wolverine back Zach Charbonnet, now with UCLA, checked in at No. 11. Defensively, sophomore Junior Colson was picked as the No. 8 inside linebacker in the country. The publication tagged him as "one Players To Watch • QB Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy — Lindy's copped out and said Michigan's most valuable player would be "whoever ends up being the primary quarterback." The magazine went on to say that the QB competition "will be revisited in fall camp with the Wolverines looking for the best complement to what should be a prolific rushing attack." Athlon went with the returning senior starter, stating that "McNamara proved last fall that he could be a championship-caliber starting quarterback." • LB Junior Colson — The sophomore, who started seven of the last eight games as a true freshman, was touted as a "rising star" by Athlon, which went on to say he's primed for a "breakout season" after finishing fourth on the team in tackles (61) a year ago. • RB Blake Corum — Athlon had the obvious take on Corum, stating that he "was headed for a 1,000- yard season before a high-ankle sprain limited him down the stretch." Phil Steele ranks Corum as the No. 14 eligible running back and No. 19 kick returner available for the 2023 NFL Draft. • RB Donovan Edwards — The sophomore from Detroit was tabbed as U-M's "emerging star" by Lindy's, which wrote, "He flashed last season just how special he can be at times" and pointed to his 5-yard rushing average and 3 TDs on 35 carries. In addition, it mentioned his breakout receiving game (170 yards on 10 catches) against Maryland "showing that he's more than just a dynamic runner." • C Olu Oluwatimi — Lindy's listed the grad transfer from Virginia as the No. 8 Impact Transfer (non- quarterbacks) nationally. He made a smooth transition to Michigan in the spring, and good things are expected of him this fall. Phil Steele ranks Oluwatimi as the No. 3 draft-eligible center. • DL Mazi Smith — Athlon described Smith as the returning "anchor" of a "depleted defensive line." It went on to say that he "will be leaned upon for leadership and increased pass-rushing responsibilities." Wolverines On Preseason All-Big Ten Teams Player Athlon Lindy's Phil Steele K Jake Moody 1st 1st 1st DL Mazi Smith 1st 1st 3rd RB Blake Corum 1st* 2nd — OL Zak Zinter 2nd 1st 1st LB Junior Colson 3rd 1st 2nd OL Ryan Hayes 1st 3rd 3rd C Olu Oluwatimi 2nd 2nd — RB Donovan Edwards 2nd* — — DL Mike Morris — 2nd — WR Cornelius Johnson — — 2nd OL Trevor Keegan 3rd — 1st P Brad Robbins — 2nd 3rd WR Ronnie Bell 3rd 3rd 3rd KR/PR AJ Henning — — 2nd/3rd CB DJ Turner 3rd — — TE Erick All — — 3rd QB Cade McNamara — — 4th * listed as all-purpose back U-M BOWL PROJECTIONS Athlon: Rose Bowl vs. Utah Lindy's: Rose Bowl vs. Utah ATHLON • OL — 3rd • QB— 4th • RB— 9th • WR— 9th LINDY'S • OL — 5th • LB — 7th • DB — 7th • Backfield — 9th PHIL STEELE • OL — 1st • ST — 1st • WR/TE — 15th • RB — 16th • DB — 20th • DL — 25th • QB — 28th • LB — 36th Michigan In National Unit Rankings

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