13 more days…13 more long excruciating days…
After what has been a thrill ride of an offseason for Michigan fans everywhere, The Wolverines will finally kick off their 2015-2016 season on September 3rd, on the road against the Utah Utes. With Harbaugh and company still operating mostly in stealth mode to the media, the debates of depth progression and final starting roles have the internet going mad, and the rumors are spreading like wildfire.
In a new series here at BleedBlue called “Starting XI” each of the staff will analyze what we know, what new information has leaked out, and compile it into our starting predictions for the upcoming games of the season. Kyle released an awesome article earlier this week with his take against Utah, and now you’ll have mine! So without further delay, here are my predicted offensive starters against Utah. Cheers!
QB: Shane Morris
I’m taking Shane as the starter for the season opener. Why him over Rudock you ask? Well, I did an entire article on it earlier this week, but to make it short and sweet… Morris’ potential in my eyes, will outweigh Rudock’s almost 2 to 1. Shane has spent every practice with the bulk of the snaps prior to and after Rudock’s arrival and I think Harbaugh used the presence of Rudock to light a fire under the ass of Shane Morris. To me, it seems the coaching staff really sees something special with this kid. Shane has practiced as the starter all offseason, his grading in practices has been solid, he performed decent in the spring game and has shown the courage to be the captain of the ship thus far. With the presence of Harbaugh and Fisch in his ear, I have confidence that Shane could be a tremendous asset to this team. Michigan is not a roll over type of program and while we know Rudock can perform at a decent level, we also know Morris could perform at a great level. While I’ll take Morris to take the field as the starter for game one, I think it’s very plausible that we could and probably would still see some action from Rudock based on the performance of Morris through the first few possessions. Rudock didn’t come all the way from Iowa to sit on the bench.
RB: Ty Isaac
I have to go with my gut here. I like Green, I like Smith, but I just feel like Isaac will be the one touting the ball the majority this season, providing that he can stay healthy. Smith and Green have experience, but Isaac is the biggest option, a 6’3, 240 lb back that is built like a linebacker but can run the ball smoothly, with vision and with feet that stay moving. There is a lot of talent on the depth of this position so I see Smith, and Green getting the ball as well in complimentary roles throughout the season’s progression.
WR: Amara Darboh (X), Jehu Chesson (Z ), Brian Cole II (Slot)
Darboh has earned his spot, and should be no surprise as a standout receiver for the passing game. He makes the plays, and he’s got the seniority. From there, statistically Chesson seems to be the number two option and makes the most sense in my mind, with his main competition being Maurice Ways. Lastly, i’m taking Brian Cole edging out Freddy Canteen on the slot option. That is a tough call for me, but I like what I see out of Cole and I think he could be a monster as he progresses. There’s a reason he was so sought after, and I think Cole could show us why that is this season.
TE: Jake Butt
Easy peasy here, Jake Butt WILL start game 1. Down the field, sideline, wherever you need him, Butt is a standout option and will be a staple to this offense. I expect a lot of good things out of him this year, and you should too.
OL: Mason Cole (LT), Ben Braden (LG), Graham Glasgow (C), Kyle Kalis (RG), Erik Magnuson (RT)
The offensive line is one thing everyone on the inside has claimed has made a very solid improvement this off-season. With a Drevno/Harbaugh staff that has spent a ton of time over the shoulder of these guys day in and day out. I expect Glasgow to be the standout OL man. Cole will be the youngest of the bunch, but as Kyle said in his take, he could also be the best and help us solidify an O-Line to buy more time for the QB and RB’s that we haven’t been able to see out of our Wolverines in some time now.
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13 more days. #GoBlue