The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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28 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2018   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Brown said this spring it has the chance to be the fastest one he's coached, and he took it one more step in Paris April 28. "We've got a chance [to be really good]," Brown said. "I just love our focus, love the way our guys go about doing their day- to-day [work]. I love our leadership, love our speed. "It's nice to have two groups really that you can go out to practice with. Obviously the first group, there's a reason they're the first group. But our second group can function now, and there are guys in the third group that can function. I think we're deeper than we've been." Especially at linebacker, he noted, where they're about three-deep and led by junior Devin Bush Jr., a third-team Associated Press All-American in his first year as a starter last season. All said, Brown is confident in his entire group. "I think we're loaded and ready to go with all the things that are necessary for being a solid Division I defense," he said. — Chris Balas MICHIGAN TABBED AS A TOP-15 TEAM IN SEVERAL POST-SPRING NATIONAL PROJECTIONS With spring practice in the books around the country, several major pub- lications have released "post-spring top 25" rankings for the 2018 college football season. All of them have Michigan tabbed as a top-15 team, while two — ESPN and The Athletic — have pegged the Maize and Blue as high as No. 10 in the land. Here's a look at where each major outlet views the Wolverines, ordered from highest to lowest: ESPN — NO. 10 Their take: "Few teams had a better spring than Michigan, which learned that former Ole Miss quarterback [junior] Shea Patterson will be eligible to play for the Wolverines this coming season. Patterson, who threw for 2,259 yards with 17 touchdowns in seven games at Ole Miss before suffering a knee injury last season, is probably the most athletically gifted quarterback [head coach] Jim Harbaugh has had while coaching his alma mater." THE ATHLETIC — NO. 10 Their take: "There are no excuses for the Wolverines now that Ole Miss transfer QB Shea Patterson is eligible. Coordinator Don Brown will again field one of the nation's stingiest defenses with stars like DEs [ junior] Rashan Gary and [fifth-year senior] Chase Winovich and [junior] LB Devin Bush. Stud [sophomore] WR Tarik Black returns from injury. "Michigan's season will hinge on whether Jim Harbaugh can finally field a solid offensive line." SPORTING NEWS — NO. 12 Their take: "Too high? The confirmed status of Shea Patterson in 2018 could be the missing piece that allows Jim Harbaugh to silence the crit- ics after a disappointing five-loss season. To be honest, we wanted to go higher, but the Wolverines' schedule — which features road games at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State — leaves them with a lot to prove." SPORTS ILLUSTRATED — NO. 13 Their take: "The joint April announcement from Ole Miss and Michigan that highly regarded Rebels transfer quarterback Shea Patterson would be eligible this season offered renewed hope for an offense that ranked eighth in the Big Ten in points per game last season and produced only seven points in the Wolverines' Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina. "So, too, will a revamped coaching staff on that side of the ball, including former Florida head coach Jim McElwain (now coaching wide receivers) and former Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner (offensive line coach). Third-year defensive coordinator Don Brown should again oversee one of the Power Five's nastiest defenses, headed by playmakers like junior line- backers Khaleke Hudson and Devin Bush, junior defensive lineman Rashan Gary and fifth-year senior lineman Chase Winovich." USA TODAY — NO. 13 Their take: "The Wolverines move up three spots after Shea Patterson was made eligible for the 2018 season. Best asset: Patterson's a major deal, but what makes Michigan dangerous is what should again be one of the stingiest defenses in football." CBS SPORTS — NO. 15 Their take: "[In late April,] Jim Harbaugh got the best offseason news he could imagine. The NCAA ruled quarterback Shea Patterson eligible. That would seem to indicate Michigan is going to be competitive in the ultra- tough Big Ten East. "Now the hard part — playing Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame on the road. Wisconsin is the West Division crossover." — Austin Fox Coordinator Don Brown's stingy defense is a big reason why many media outlets are bullish on the Wolverines in 2018. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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