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Position Preview: Offensive Backs

Offensive Backs
QBRBFB
Henne
Hart
Moundros
or Helmuth
Mallett
Minor
Criswell
Cone
(Threet)
Horn
or Brown
(Grady)
Patilla


At the quarterback position, Chad Henne will start. He has All-American, first-round NFL potential. He is widely considered in the top couple quarterbacks in the nation (along with Brian Brohm, John David Booty, and Andre Woodson). His backup, Ryan Mallett, would start at a lot of schools in America, despite being a true freshman. David Cone is still considered a career backup type. Steve Threet will likely lead the scout team in practice, as he will redshirt during his transfer year. The quarterback position has gone from razor-thin to fairly robust in no time at all.

At running back, All-American Michael Hart will carry the load for this offense. The fifth-place Heisman vote-getter is reportedly faster then he has ever been, after working his legs during the offseason while rehabbing after minor shoulder surgery. The stable will hope to spell him more often than last year, when he carried the ball a whopping 318 times (everyone else on the team combined carried 217 times, including 47 by Chad Henne, mostly sacks). Brandon Minor will be the key backup, and the 6-0, 213 pounder definitely looks the part. He is faster and stronger than Hart, but not as elusive or tough. He will likely take over primary duties upon Hart's graduation, and must get his reps this year.

Carlos Brown has shuffled all over the place this offseason (including spending some time seeking a possible transfer), and broke his hand in fall camp. He won't contribute until the second or third week of the season, but provides a burst of speed for Michigan out of the backfield. Incoming freshman Avery Horn has impressed in fall camp as well, prompting Fred Jackson to call him the fastest RB in his 16 years at Michigan. Junior Kevin Grady tore his ACL in the spring, and will probably have to take a redshirt this fall. He was a contributor in the backfield, but had been passed by Minor during last season. mainly due to his fumbling ways. If Grady redshirts, this would give Michigan 3 junior running backs in 2008.

Fullback is the key question for Michigan in the offensive backfield. Walkon Mark Moundros and early-enrolling freshman Vince Helmuth competed in the spring, with Moundros the slight leader, though no true winner was named. Moundros is a redshirt freshman, and earned a scholarship (one year, as he is a preferred walkon, though it can be renewed on a yearly basis). Helmuth played tailback in high shcool, and though he is a workout warrior, may benefit from a redshirt year building strength if he does not win the job outright.

Andre Criswell provides depth at the fullback position, as does Quentin Patilla. However, Patilla's status is unclear, as he is involved in a legal situation off the field. If he returns to the team, he will not be likely to see much playing time.

With a lack of quality at the the FB position, and injuries creating depth issues at RB, it is hard to rate this group higher than 7/10

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“Position Preview: Offensive Backs”