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Spring Position Previews: Offense

Looks at all position groups, how they'll be in the fall, and what recruiting needs will arise.

Offensive Line
or Moosman
or Ortman
or Zirbel


Others unaccounted for:

The starting line seems to be pretty well-set, going Long-Kraus-Boren-Mitchell from left to right. The only question is at right tackle, where RS frosh Steve Schilling, Perry Dorrestein, and RS Soph Mark Ortmann battling for the starting job. Ortmann is really the future LT, so I’m not sure they want im starting at RT. The OL seems to be at least 2-deep at every position.

Michigan will lose Jake Long and Adam Kraus to graduation, and will probably not renew the scholarship of Grant DeBenedictis for a 5th year. The last couple of OL classes have been pretty small. Huyge and Molk will probably redshirt. Michigan needs at least 2 OTs (they already have one commitment from Dan O’Neill), incluing one more top guy. A couple interior linemen wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Next year’s starting OL probably looks Ortmann-Ciulla or Schifano-Boren-Mitchell-Schilling or Zirbel.

Offensive Backs
or Helmuth
or Threet

Henne is entrenched as the starter. Forcier is gone to Stanford, leaving Mallett as the backup. David Cone is still developing, and is likely to play the career backup role.

Henne graduates after this season, and there is huge need for at least one non-project at the quarterback position to serve as Mallett’s theoretical 2008 backup, and probably another guy to be improved over the course of his career.

Hart will obviously remain the starter here. Minor is the backup, with Kevin Grady out with a torn ACL. Carlos Brown is back on offesne. Avery Horn enters this fall. He will likely redshirt his freshman year. At fullback, RS Frosh preferred walk-on Mark Moundros looks like the probable starter. If this is the case, Helmuth can take a redshirt before his four years of mauling linebackers.

Hart will be lost to graduation. That will leave 4 scholarship backs after this year (assuming Horn qualifies and stays at the position). That means Michigan will probably want to take one, and maybe even two, running backs in this class. There is no need at fullback with Helmuth just a true freshman.

Receiving Corps

or Webb

Others unaccounted for:

Not a ton of depth here, but the starters are pretty good. Mathews showed some flashes last year as well, and all reports indicate that he is looking good in the spring. Savoy looked really good last spring, and ended up contributing almost nothing during the course of the year. He looks good again this year (per reports), so we’ll have to see if he can translate it to the field this time. A couple of freshmen are coming in, and it looks like both might play next year for depth reasons. Will Bass ever play again? That is the million-dollar question.

Nobody is lost to graduation, but Arrington and Manningham may be able to make the jump early if they have breakout year. Manningham needs to prove he can do things with the ball, proving he’s not just a one-trick pony. Arrington has shown himself t be fairly complete, and he has size. If he has big numbers, it should be enough to vault him into potential early-entry territory. If both of these guys leave, depth is absolutely shot, and there will have to be a big WR class. It is unlikely that Bas will ever play again, but if he does, he is a tremendous athlete. Expect at least two WRs taken in this class (with maybe one as a big guy who could split out as a TE), with another taken for each guy who does not come back and exhaust his eligibility.

Losing Butler whacked depth at this position right in the face. Massey is the only guy who even has played in a real game scenario. Watson and Webb are both incoming freshmen who were probably going to redshirt, though one of them might have to play this year, since Criswell and McLaurin aren't very good. Smart money is on Watson, as he is pretty much ready to play, whereas Webb would be well-served by a redshirt year. He is physically a lot like Butler was coming in, though hopefully does not share mental deficiencies.

Losing the starter, who was going to be retuning for yet another year, will force Michigan to take a tight end in this class, though I think they originally had wanted to take a WR/TE tweener. With Webb and Watson both around, they might still be able to just get by with one of those hybrid prospects.

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“Spring Position Previews: Offense”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I disagree with your comment that no help is needed at FB, especially if Criswell is moved. You missed two Freshmen at WR, Zion Babb and James Rogers. I don't think either will contribute this yet, but still.

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    How many teams carry more than one full-time FB on their rosters?

    Babb and Rogers are accounted for in the defensive backs section, as they are likely to be moved there.

  3. Blogger Brandon Says:

    Arrington is a senior this year if he's allowed to play & Carr recently said that they moved Patilla to FB.

  4. Blogger Tim Says:

    Arrington has Junior eligibility, as he redshirted with a broken ankle in 2005.