Michigan will bank on their senior quarterback, Denard Robinson to lead them through the Big Ten this season. Robinson is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country and he will have his work cut out for him in Michigan's season opener against defending national champions Alabama. He led the way for Michigan last season en route to an 11-2 record and a BCS bowl victory. If Michigan wants to win the Big Ten outright this season, it all starts with Mr. Robinson.
Last season, Head coach Brady Hoke led the Wolverines to their first BCS bowl game in five years. Hoke is quietly one of the best coaches in the nation. He turned around Ball State's football program and put San Diego State back on the map too when he was calling shots as the Head Coach for both those programs. He is doing the same thing with Michigan, as they are becoming the power house they use to be. Hoke was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1995-2002. Hoke played a vital point in recruiting some guy named Tom Brady. He has a great knack for finding talent and not many people were believers in Brady, but Hoke saw something special in Brady. Hoke hasn't lost a beat recruiting as the freshmen class coming in ranks in the top ten in the nation.
Michigan was quietly one of the top defensive teams in the nation last season. They ranked 18th overall in total defense. They return eight starters from last years defensive squad.
Defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, made his presence felt in his first season in charge of the Wolverines defense. Mattison was the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator from 2008-2010, and he knows what he is doing. If you coached the Ravens defense, you only know one way to play -- knock some people out.
Michigan has a ton of talented linebackers to rotate in and out. Senior middle linebacker, Kenny Demens, leads the way for Michigan's defense. His 94 tackles last season were tops for the Wolverines. Sophomore, Desmond Morgan, showed he was a tremendous talent as a freshman after recording 63 tackles.
He was thrown to the wolves last year, and now will have a better feeling for the game as he enters his second year under Mattison's defense. Sophomore, Jake Ryan, should have a stellar campaign.
Jordan Kovacs is the leader on the defensive side of the ball. The former walk-on has become one of the best safeties in the country. He is one of the smartest defensive players in the nation and had 74 tackles and four sacks last season. Meanwhile sophomore, Blake Countless, is one of the most talented cornerbacks in the country.
The Wolverines will need some help from their receiving corps and running backs if they want to get back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2007. Things haven't started off too well for Michigan, after their featured tailback, Fitzgerald Toussaint, was suspended indefinitely after a DUI charge. His status for their season opener against Alabama is up in the air. Senior Vincent Smith, will need to step up if Toussaint can't go for the season opener. He averaged nearly six yards per carry last year, but only touched the rock 50 times last season. Sophomore, Thomas Rawls, is also another name to pay close attention to in the Wolverines backfield.
Michigan has a ton of talent at receiver, but is very inexperienced. Senior, Roy Roundtree is Robinson's favorite target while juniors Jeremy Gallon, Jeremy Jackson, and Drew Dileo will see more balls thrown their way after they lost their top wideout, Junior Hemingway, to the NFL. Freshmen Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson could make a name for themselves this season if the other wideouts don't take advantage on their opportunities.
Alabama will hardly be Michigan's only tough matchup. The Wolverines have a very tough schedule this season, as they open up against Alabama before traveling to Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State.