With Brady Hoke’s incredibly successful first season at Michigan, the question, now, is whether the Wolverines will continue on their road to success as a nationally prominent team or if they will slipup in 2012.
The answer to that question lies to a great extent in the hands of Denard Robinson. The Heisman candidate has, without question, the ability to lead the Wolverines to another double-digit-win season and BCS bowl berth. However, he does have a tendency to make careless throws that seem to hang in the air forever. This is, in large part, the reason for his 15 interceptions last season.
If Robinson has improved as much this offseason as in previous ones, expect his numbers in the turnover department to be much lower this season. Also, if Hoke has been able to continue to transform the offense into one more to his liking, the offensive line and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint will take much of the pressure off of Robinson. Expect the offense to be even better than they were last season.
With seven returning starters on defense, including all three linebackers, Michigan appears to bring a strong unit to the field. The experience level at both linebacker and in the secondary suggests that their pass defense should be better this season than last. However, their inexperienced line will have to step it up to get the job done in the trenches.
Although Michigan has a tough schedule with road games at Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State, their toughest game of the season comes in week one in Dallas, where they’ll face Alabama. Michigan stands a good chance of starting their season 0-1, but the season opener will prove to be greatly beneficial. Alabama will be, by far, the best team Michigan faces all season. Win or lose, what they learn about themselves against, arguably, the best team in the country will be invaluable for the rest of the season.
Last season for Michigan was not a fluke. Brady Hoke, along with his coordinators, were the right guys to make the most out of the talent they inherited. With 13 combined returning starters from last season, they will field a great deal of talent and experience. And with an entire offseason to work with, expect Hoke and his crew to have the Wolverines fully prepared for a run at the conference championship in 2012.
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