The Wolverine

January 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 170 of 171

W hen Michigan went 11-2 in 2011, fans assumed that Brady Hoke's debut season was a sign of Big Ten champion- ships to come. However, too many key components to the Wol- verines' success that year departed in the offseason. U-M lost nine starters: center David Molk, right tackle Mark Huyge, defensive linemen Mike Martin, Will Heininger and Ryan Van Ber- gen, wide receiver Junior Hemingway, cornerback Troy Woolfolk, fullback John McColgan and tight end Kevin Koger. Michigan regressed, at least on the scoreboard, in 2012, going 8-5, struggling especially to replace the impact of Molk at cen- ter, and Martin and Van Bergen along the defensive line. Following its 9-3 regular season this fall, the Maize and Blue are focused on their bowl game, but we can take a peek into the future and five reasons why 2016 could be even better. Few Critical Pieces To Replace: Michigan will graduate eight start- ers — quarterback Jake Rudock, fullback Sione Houma, center Gra- ham Glasgow, outside linebacker Mario Ojemudia, inside linebackers Desmond Morgan and Joe Bolden, safety Jarrod Wilson and punter Blake O'Neill. Rudock played well down the stretch, but insiders have lauded the performance of Houston transfer John O'Korn behind the scenes, confident he will provide the same leadership Rudock brought, with better ath- leticism, a stronger arm and downfield accuracy. Glasgow, Houma and O'Neill leave big holes to fill, but the coaches could move sophomore left tackle Mason Cole to center. Junior tailbacks Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith could both fill Houma's role if they'd be willing to accept a slight position change, and redshirt junior Kenny Allen is a possibility to punt in addition to his placekicking duties. The Defense Should Be Lights Out: If Michigan can adequately fill the gap at linebacker, and that may not be terribly difficult considering its seniors graded out with C's and D's this season, the defense should build on its effort in 2015. U-M finished the regular season in the top 10 in total defense (fourth), passing defense (third) and third downs (third), and was 11th in scoring defense. The line will get redshirt junior nose tackle Ryan Glasgow (pectoral) and MAIZE N' VIEW   MICHAEL SPATH Wait Until Next Year Jim Harbaugh

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - January 2016