The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 83

MICHIGAN FOOTBALL toughest non-conference slates in recent memory — which includes games versus Alabama, Air Force and Notre Dame — the road won't get any easier. Because Big Ten play will be waiting for them. First up among conference foes will be Purdue. On the offensive side of the ball, Boilermakers fans will hotly Early Look At 2012 Opponents: Purdue When the Wolverines are finally done traversing one of the debate the quarterback position all offseason. Purdue lost gunslingers Robert Marve and Rob Henry to ACL tears in 2011. With two talented quarterbacks nursing knee injuries, the Boilermakers looked to junior quarterback Caleb TerBush to lead the offense in 2011. And he put together a pretty nice season. As a first-year starter, he ranked eighth in the Big Ten in pass- head coach Danny Hope plenty of options to work with in spring ball and fall camp. "Danny really likes to have more than one option, because they've had so many in- juries over the last couple years, writer Stacy Clardie said. "They felt they really got burned by it, because they didn't have a No. 2 ready. So he's ob- sessed with having another guy who's ready to go. " GoldAn- tions, though. Another ACL injury sufferer, Ralph Bolden, said he wants to be back for next season. But Bolden, who led the team with 674 yards and six touchdowns before his latest injury, has torn his ACL three times and may not be able to come back. Rising sophomore Akeem Shavers, who The Purdue offense will have other ques- " other starters will need to be replaced — linebacker Joe Hol- land, an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection, and safeties Logan Link and Albert Evans are gone from a secondary that ranked 10th in the conference in passing yards allowed. Cornerbacks Ricardo Allen (second-team All-Big Ten) and Josh Johnson return after promising 2011 campaigns. — Andy Reid testing new waters, with the hiring of Tim Beckman, an up-and- coming offensive mastermind, to breathe life into a program that had gone stale. "By the time [Zook] left, there was not a lot of buzz around the program," publisher Doug Buschon said. ing yards per game, with 146.5, while throwing 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 219 yards. Marve and Henry should be back in the fold this year, giving " Early Look At 2012 Opponents: Illinois After seven years under Ron Zook, the Illinois football team is "They were 6-0 at one point, and Ohio State comes to town, and they couldn't even fill out the stadium. It was just a little stagnant, and people are looking forward to something new. Although he has yet to coach his first game in Champaign, Beckman has already helped breathe a little life back into the program. "He's a younger coach, and he's brought in a really young staff," Buschon said. "He's really enthusiastic, high-energy — that kind of coach. … The players like him a lot. They like the high energy. They like the enthusiasm. Some of them are a little disappointed that Ron Zook is leaving, because he recruited them and they knew him so well. The recep- tion for Beckman, from a player perspective, has been really good. led the team with 8.7 yards per carry on 33 touches last year, could see an increased role. "Akeem Shavers stepped up and had a pretty good bowl game," Clardie said. "He's really steady and can handle the load." On defense, the Boilermakers are in good shape, especially up front. After the loss of 2010 Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Year Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue's front seven was supposed to take a big step back in 2011, but the team finished fifth in the conference in run defense. And fifth-year senior defensive tackle Kawann Short, the Head coach Danny Hope led Purdue to a 7-6 record, including a 4-4 Big Ten mark, and a bowl win over Western Michigan last season. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN downright explosive, averaging 42.2 points a game. The Rockets topped 60 points in regulation twice. And the coach will have the chance to Beckman's Toledo offense last season was " six-game losing skid, Scheelhaase tossed just two touchdowns and four interceptions. "You want to see him reading defenses and picking out secondary and tertiary targets," Bucshon said. "In [former of- work with a veteran quarterback in Nathan Scheelhaase. But Scheelhaase will have to improve if the Fighting Illini are to take a step forward in 2012. During the Illini's year-end Boilermakers' anchor up front, is coming back after flirting with the NFL Draft. Short was a first-team All-Big Ten selection after totaling 54 tackles, 17 tackles for loss (best in the conference among linemen)and 6.5 sacks (sixth in the conference). And he was at his best in big games. He earned National Player of The Week honors after compiling six tackles and three sacks against Ohio State last season. "Kawann coming back, that's huge, ally good numbers this year, especially for a tackle. He can just make things happen. And he's versatile — they played him at end a little bit, because they were thin. " Clardie said. "He had re- The rest of the defense is in pretty good shape, too. Three " fensive coordinator] Paul Petrino's offense, he really struggled with staring down receivers. Luckily, he had A.J. Jenkins, an All-American receiver, which helped. But if A.J. wasn't open, he really had a hard time finding other options. That's what they'll be looking at in the spring, finding those other receivers. Illinois also loses big-time receiving threat A.J. Jenkins. Last " year, Jenkins caught 90 passes for 1,276 yards. No one else on the roster grabbed more than 26 balls last year. "Junior Darius Millines is a talented receiver, hasn't really had a chance to step up. He injured his foot. And with Jenkins on the field, there wasn't a lot of opportunity for him. So he's going to have to step up. nearly left early for the NFL: bandit linebacker Michael Bu- chanan, defensive tackle Akeem Spence and cornerback Terry Hawthorne. Illinois' biggest loss on that side of the ball is Whit- ney Mercilus, who led the nation in sacks (16) last season. — Andy Reid On defense, the Illini retain the services of three players who " MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 33 " Bucshon said. "He

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - May 2012