Good evening everyone, tonight I’m going to share with you my expectations for Michigan, and what should be the realistic goals for this football team in 2013.
Brady Hoke continued to recruit as good as anyone for the 2013 recruiting class, even as good as Ohio’s Urban Meyer. Hoke excelled in the recruiting department, finding kids in his own backyard, as well as in the Midwest, and throughout the country. I believe that this team could, and should, make it to the Big Ten Championship, and anything less than that is a lost season. I’m not necessarily saying that they should be expected to win the B1G, but a division title and representation should be realistic. They will have a tough time because they will, more than likely, be facing OSU in the title game.
Devin Gardner seemed to have found a nice fit at receiver in Jeremy Gallon, who averaged more than 100 yards per game while Gardner was the signal caller, so if their chemistry is right, look out Big Ten. If those two could continue that magic they had, the offense will be one of the top offenses in the nation. Along with Gardner and Gallon, UM’s offense continues the “G” theme with running back Derrick Green. Green is a back that is built for the Big Ten, and will be a nice change of pace from most of the running backs that have been in Ann Arbor recently. Mainly because Green can become one of the best running backs in the nation before he leaves, and I have a feeling his rookie year at UM will be a good one.
Moreover, the offense shouldn’t be the only side of the ball that should be worth noting. The defense and special teams unit is also very good in their own right, and deserve a little recognition as well. It all starts with OLB Jake Ryan, a beast of a LB who will be a Junior this upcoming season with high expectations. He’ll be entering a season where he’ll have a decision about the NFL Draft looming over him going into the offseason, so he’ll need to preform well enough to meet those expectations, and from what I’ve seen from Ryan, he’ll go above and beyond what is asked of him. The loss of Jordan Kovacs will be significant, that goes without saying. Michigan’s version of Rudy was a defensive leader and will be missed, but I do think incoming freshman like Dymonte Thomas could make an impact and learn a lot from DC, Greg Mattison. It should be a solid group again for the Wolverines, and I do believe they have a lot to offer for this team.
As far as Special Teams go, Brendan Gibbons will continue to fantasize about those brunette girls, and continue putting points up for Michigan in the process. He is one of few kickers in the country that I would consider reliable, and doesn’t make me want to throw up that bean dip my girlfriend makes on Saturdays, which is a plus for all of us. He’s shown he could be clutch, IE: the Sugar Bowl and MSU last year, and am glad he’ll continue the kicking duties. I’m 100% concerned for the punting responsibilities, mainly because of the suspension to Will Hagerup and the fact that he is STILL suspended. Matt Wile is a nice kicker and kickoff specialist, so I think punter shouldn’t be that difficult of a transition for him. Special Teams may be UM’s biggest call for concern, and may cost ’em a game or two if they aren’t careful.
Overall, as I touched on before, Team 134 could be a special one as far as winning a Big Ten Championship is concerned. This team has a legitimate shot at representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, and that would be HUGE in getting recruits in because of exposure in BCS games. Devin Gardner is a player that could bring it all together, and if he’s lucky, have a few pieces of hardware to bring back to Shembechler Hall.
As always, Go Blue!