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View Poll Results: How many games will Michigan win? ( not counting bowl games )

13. You may not vote on this poll
  • 7 GAMES

    8 61.54%
  • 8 GAMES

    2 15.38%
  • 9 GAMES

    2 15.38%
  • 10 GAMES

    1 7.69%
  • 11 GAMES

    0 0%
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  1. #61
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    25 Michigan keys: Day 2
    Posted by Chris Burke August 06, 2008 02:13AM
    Categories: U-M Football
    Key #2 to the Michigan season: K.C. Lopata's continued consistency

    K.C. Lopata was sort of an after thought in the post-Garrett Rivas kicking days. But man, did Lopata catch some people off guard in 2007.

    All he did after taking over for Jason Gingell on a permanent basis was nail 11-of-12 FG attempts - including five games with two makes each. His only miss was a 48-yard attempt against Ohio State.

    Lopata enters the 2008 season as the unquestioned No. 1 placekicker on this team. He doesn't have a huge leg, but he appears to have that Rivas-like consistency that just gets the job done. Michigan needs him to continue his 2007 momentum into this year. The options behind him - Gingell and Bryan Wright - are limited. We've seen what Gingell can do, and Wright has slipped into exclusively handling kickoff duties.

    Lopata may find himself with plenty of chances to line up those FGs, too. If Michigan struggles to get into the end zone - a distinct possibility, at least early in the season - the Wolverines may have to turn to the kicking game to get some points on the board.

    Can Lopata turn in another steady season? There's really no reason to expect otherwise. He should be stronger and more confident heading into the 2008 campaign. Of course, there is always the possibility of a slump. It's not out of the question for any kicker, let alone a guy that the Michigan staff kept down the depth chart until game six last season.

    The Wolverines need the 2008 version of Lopata to look exactly like the 2007 version - steady and consistent - from day one.

  2. #62
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    25 Michigan keys: Day 3
    Posted by Chris Burke August 07, 2008 11:21AM
    Categories: U-M Football
    Previous days' previews
    Day 1: Kevin Grady's status
    Day 2: Can K.C. Lopata keep it up?

    Key #3 to the Michigan season: Who starts in the slot?

    One of the keys to the Rodriguez' spread offense is the slot receiver. It's certainly a different take on the slot guy than, say, when the old Wolverine offense would go to three-wide. You're not just talking about finding a guy that can go across the middle to catch a five-yard pass. The spread offense slot position is critical - whoever winds up there can expect to see plenty of quick screens, reverses, options and even a pass or two.

    So who Rodriguez tabs as the starter there will have huge responsibility. Likely, there will be a bit of a revolving door at the position. Greg Mathews is locked into a WR role, and both Junior Hemingway and Toney Clemons appear ready for bigger roles in 2008. One of them may wind up starting in the slot, though both could rotate in there. Earlier, the coaches raved about Clemons' ability to play either inside or outside, because of his speed, size and ability to catch the ball.

    What remains to be seen this fall is how the freshmen impact the slot position. Michigan brought in a couple of newcomers that could pay immediate dividends in the slot, where the Wolverines will be craving a playmaker.

    Martavious Odoms and Terrence Robinson are as close to true spread offense slot guys at there are on the Michigan roster. Odoms (5-foot-8, 4.57 40) and Robinson (5-foot-9, 4.4 40) are both acceleration guys who are shifty enough to take a quick strike from the Michigan QB and turn a one-yard pass into a huge play.

    Who winds up in the slot on any given play also depends on the formation that Michigan goes to. If, like we've heard, the tight ends are utilized in the offense, we may see some shotgun sets with two wide and two backs split in the backfield. When that's the case, it's not out of the question for a Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor, Michael Shaw or Sam McGuffie to slide in motion out to the slot position - thus leaving Michigan with a myriad of options for the upcoming play. If you've never seen a quarterback run an option with his wide receiver, prepare yourself.

    The x-factor in the slot? How about Justin Feagin.

    If Rodriguez decides to keep Steven Threet or Nick Sheridan as the No. 1 QB, Feagin could prove too valuable of an athlete to keep on the sideline. He had that "Athlete" tag whilst being recruited because he projected to either QB or WR at the collegiate level, and Michigan could still use him split out. has Feagin with a 4.6 40, plus a throwing arm, plus elusive moves. I don't want to blow one of Michigan's trick plays here ... but Feagin lining up in the slot has double pass written all over it.

    A four-wide set would also require two slot guys, so building up some added depth never hurts.

    The early guess here is that one of the vets - Clemons or Hemingway - opens the season at the slot position. But Odoms and Robinson will make their presence felt in a hurry.

  3. #63
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    25 Michigan keys: Day 4
    Posted by Chris Burke August 08, 2008 15:05PM
    Categories: U-M Football
    Yesterday's preview
    Day 3: Who starts in the slot?

    Key #4 to the Michigan season: Will Johnson's impact

    We'll get to Terrance Taylor, Tim Jamison, Brandon Graham and the rest of the defensive line soon enough. Johnson is a key cog in the middle of the line for Michigan, mostly because of what is expected from Taylor.

    Taylor could be one of the most dominating defensive tackles in the conference. Jamison and Graham will constantly cause issues off the ends.

    So Johnson needs to make sure that there is ample attention paid to him as well by offensive lines. The coaches seemed to think that Johnson, a senior, was ready to excel in 2008 - he's a beast at 6-foot-5, nearly 300 (likely bigger now that Barwis is around). His burst of the ball, combined with his size, makes him a difficult matchup for the central offensive line.

    Taylor's anticipated explosion in 2008 will only add to Johnson's impact. Taylor could frequently see double teams, meaning that Johnson will be almost exclusively in one-of-one situations.

    There are a couple of players behind Johnson that could slide into the rotation as well - namely Renaldo Segasse, Andre Criswell, or Jason Kates. Still, though, Johnson is the top level talent out of that group.

    With Jamison and Graham, Michigan has two speedy, explosive ends, but that can get them both firing vertically into the backfield. Johnson needs to ensure that teams cannot simply run into the gap between himself and the rushing end.

    He'll have every opportunity to turn Michigan's line from three exceptional players plus a revolving door at the fourth spot, to a four-man dynamo.

  4. #64
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    25 Michigan keys: Day 5
    Posted by Chris Burke August 10, 2008 01:04AM
    Categories: U-M Football
    Yesterday's preview
    Day 4: Will Johnson's impact

    Key #5 to the Michigan season: Will the Big Ten adjust to the spread?

    Rich Rodriguez's spread offense is, of course, different than others. It focuses intently on getting the ball to players - any players - in space, be it wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks or tight ends.

    But will this catch anyone off guard? The Big Ten has seen versions of the spread. Purdue's been running their 60-pass-a-game strategy for years, same with Northwestern. Illinois has gone to the spread with Juice Williams, and Ohio State did it with Troy Smith. Even Michigan State and Indiana incorporate aspects of it.

    So, on the surface, the conference is ready for Rich Rodriguez.

    The fact that he utilizes an imaginative, adjustable version of the spread gives him a leg up on some of those other versions. You can run under Rodriguez's version, or you can pass, or you can do a little bit of both. He'll do his best to keep the Big Ten guessing.

    He'll need to, though, because this is not the Big East or Conference USA (like when Rodriguez was Tulane's offensive coordinator). There is much more speed across the board in this conference. Teams like Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin can line up and run around the field with most of Michigan's players.

    How much that changes Michigan's attack remains to be seen. No offense to the Big East, but there are just not guys fast enough to stay with Pat White or Steve Slaton. Despite what the SEC tells you, that is not true in the Big Ten.

    Rodriguez will have to keep teams off balance in order to keep them from running Michigan down.

  5. #65
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio

    It's still early, but Rodriguez's offense has Wolverines excited

    Posted by Jim Carty | The Ann Arbor News August 11, 2008 08:52AM
    Categories: Columns, Wolverines Football
    Way different.

    That was tailback Brandon Minor's simple bottom line on training camp under the University of Michigan's old offensive system and this new one.

    "Especially with the speed of the game and special formations," said Minor, a front-runner along with Carlos Brown to replace Mike Hart at tailback. "Last year, it was basically almost the same one formation, the I-set form. Now, there's no telling where we'll line up. We can do so much, and it's real good. I love it, because the defense doesn't know what to expect."

    Just watching 30 minutes of practice Monday made it easy to see exactly what he was talking about.

    The Michigan offense never seemed to show the same formation on back-to-back plays.

    There were two tailbacks in the backfield, an empty backfield, wide receivers motioning into an empty backfield to become tailbacks, slotbacks turning into quarterbacks, quarterbacks turning into wide receivers, tight ends lining up in the slot and so forth.

    There were more looks on display in 15 minutes than an entire season under the previous coaching regime.

    More than anything else, it looked fun.

    Fun to watch. Fun to coach. Fun to play.

    "A lot of people who run on all levels (believe that)," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "A lot of high school coaches have said they get more young guys out for it who have maybe never played, a track guy or a basketball guy, because they have a chance to get on the field."

    Rodriguez was loose Saturday, in between a morning practice and one scheduled for the afternoon, Michigan's first two-a-day. He talked about the good (no one he's counting on has had a disappointing camp), the bad (still too early to know what's up with the offensive line) and the shaky (those pesky quarterbacks again).

    Five Wolverines spoke to the media - Minor, Brown, wideout Greg Mathews, linebacker Obi Ezeh and safety Brandon Harrison - and all were all at ease talking about the new system and how camp was going.

    For anyone who has covered the Wolverines for any length of time, it's impossible not to notice a change from the always serious, always scripted Augusts of Lloyd Carr. In the past, we were lucky if the coach talked three times in the first four weeks, let alone three times in the first week, as Rodriguez has done.

    And the players, on the few occasions they were allowed to speak, were carefully vetted and always seemed worried about saying something interesting.

    Neither approach will win or lose you a game, but the new one certainly makes for more fodder for those of you who live and die with Michigan football.

    And as for football, six days into camp there are some interesting tidbits, like Brown's take on the current offensive approach.

    "There's A LOT of running, I'll tell you that," the tailback said. "I really like it. It gives a lot of athletes the opportunity to get the ball in space. As an athlete, that's what you really want."

    Not a surprise, given the quarterback situation.

    Mathews' prediction when asked about the deep passing game, though, might raise some eyebrows.

    "There's definitely going to be a vertical passing game, especially with the pace of our offense. Sometimes, (the defense) isn't getting the signals and we just run right by them, we're so open," the receiver said.

    Formations for everyone, a lot of running and a vertical passing game.

    It's a whole new offensive ball game in some ways, and a lot of what you're used to in others, neither of which is a bad thing at all.

  6. #66
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio

    Minor, Brown competing for starting job under new Michigan regime

    Posted by John Heuser | The Ann Arbor News August 11, 2008 09:08AM
    Categories: Wolverines Football
    With Mike Hart gobbling up yardage and carries the last four seasons, the remaining University of Michigan tailbacks spent most games biding their time.

    The wait is now over.

    Hart is off to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, and Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown are hoping their patience will be rewarded in Michigan's new spread offense.

    "If you have a guy that's a superstar and can carry the ball 25 to 30 times a game, that's great," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said between practices Saturday. "In our offense, you normally have to have two or three and sometimes four because we put them in different spots."

    During training camp, Minor and Brown have worked in the backfield together and they've each been in the slot position. Brown, a former high school quarterback, has even taken snaps on occasion.

    "I've been moving around a little everywhere," he said. "I just want to touch the ball. Wherever I can get the ball at, I'm happy."

    Brown had his moments filling in for an injured Hart last season, gaining 113 yards against Illinois and 132 against Minnesota. Minor, too, played well in his few extended opportunities, gaining 157 yards against the Gophers and 82 against Notre Dame.

    Both players said they're excited to show what they can do when they have the ball in their hands more frequently.

    "It feels awesome, it feels awesome," Brown said of the chance for more playing time. "... I want to be the guy, just like Brandon does. Whatever we can do to help the team.
    "I think with this offense, we can both be the guy."

    Brown added that the broken finger that he suffered in the spring has fully healed, and he complimented the early performances of the freshmen backs. Rodriguez said he expects the duo of Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw to give the Wolverines depth at tailback.

    "For one week of practicing at the Division I level, they've picked up the tempo pretty well," he said.

    Speedy secondary

    The safety position isn't known as the repository for a football team's fastest player, but Michigan senior Brandon Harrison declared himself the Wolverines' speed king, at least based on summer run-offs. When senior cornerback Morgan Trent finished second, "he didn't have too much to say," Harrison noted.

    Harrison, who has started 20 games in his career, is competing with Charles Stewart for the strong safety job, while Stevie Brown and Mike Williams are battling for the free safety position.

    Returning cornerbacks Trent and Donovan Warren should be supplemented this season by sophomore Troy Woolfolk and freshman Boubacar Cissoko, who has been turning heads in camp.

    "I like the way he plays," Harrison said. "He's physical and he's fast."

    Fan day

    Fans can meet the Michigan players and coaches from 1:30-3:30 p.m. next Sunday at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse and the adjacent practice field behind Schembechler Hall. The autograph area will open at 12:30 p.m. Parking is available in the Blue Lot surrounding Crisler Arena. The event is free. For more details, visit

    Line questions

    How good will Michigan's inexperienced offensive line be this season? It's still early, but Rodriguez isn't exactly oozing confidence about the unit, which has one returning starter.

    "They've been OK, just OK," he said. "At times they've looked good. At other times, we get really nervous."

    Grady's plea

    Redshirt junior tailback Kevin Grady's guilty plea to a drunken-driving charge in Grand Rapids will not further affect his status with the team, Rodriguez said. Grady - who has returned from a suspension doled out by Rodriguez in July - is practicing with the Wolverines, but whether he'll earn playing time remains in question.

    "He's paying his dues," Rodriguez said. "He still will be paying them."

    QBs keep rotating

    In his search for a quarterback (or two), Rodriguez continues to rotate redshirt freshman Steven Threet and redshirt sophomore Nick Sheridan with the first unit for approximately the same number of reps, he said. Freshman Justin Feagin has been working with the third team. By the end of the coming week, Rodriguez said he plans to give snaps almost exclusively to the first and second groups.

    Installation on schedule

    About half the playbook for both the offense and the defense has been installed, Rodriguez said, which puts the team on target. The ultimate goal is for the players to not only understand what they're supposed to do, but why they're doing things in certain situations.

    "When they get to that point, they really understand the offense," the coach said.

    Stadium practice nears

    The football team isn't expected to practice in the under-construction Michigan Stadium until Aug. 22, when the players will partake in the intrasquad "Beanie Bowl."

    The game earned its name, Rodriguez said, because one team's players will cover their helmets with orange "beanies" to distinguish Wolverine from Wolverine.

  7. #67
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    Nov 2006
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    25 Michigan keys: #6
    Posted by Chris Burke August 10, 2008 17:56PM
    Categories: U-M Football
    Key #5: Will the Big Ten adjust to the spread?

    Key #6 to the Michigan season: Is Daryl Stonum as good as advertised?

    There is no sidestepping the holes on offense. Mike Hart ... gone. Chad Henne ... gone. Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington ... gone.

    Obviously, the replacements in the backfield need to step up. But Stonum's progress will be critical for Michigan's success.

    The guess here is that Michigan figures things out in the slot, and gets plenty of good players in there. That leaves the normal wide receiver position. Greg Mathews figures to fill one, and has shown that he can go over the middle and hang onto the ball. Junior Hemingway and Toney Clemons could be primed to contribute in a big way.

    But is there a deep threat? A red zone target?

    If there is, it's Daryl Stonum, the freshman phenom. He has the size, the speed, and the feel for the game that could make him the next great Michigan receiver.

    Talk about the option and the quick passing game all you want ... without a deep threat, without that game-changing wide receiver, Michigan won't go anywhere. If defenses can just line up 11 guys within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, the ability to move down the field will be severely stunted.

    Throughout spring practice, and now into the fall, Stonum has quickly shown that he's ready for the adjustment to the college game. Steve Threet or Nick Sheridan or whoever winds up at QB needs to trust that Stonum will go out and make plays on the outside.

    If the freshman shows the ability to stretch the field and keep the secondary occupied, the rest of the offense gets better.
    Last edited by Dalionking; 08-11-2008 at 12:07 PM.

  8. #68
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    Mar 2007
    O good lord how far can u have ur head up ur own ***. Quit with the threads already.


    props to rdwilliamson for the sig

  9. #69
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    why would i? it doesnt hurt anyone here and with more threads the more chances this forum has to get some traffic. it is dead in here. we have what 4 or 5 people who post at the very most?

    if you dont like the michigan post then dont read them. i am not trying to be an #ss but what are we doing here? we are talking about sports and i would like to get some traffic through here to talk some college sports

  10. #70
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio

    Spartans' goal: No letdown after winning season

    by Steve Grinczel
    Wednesday August 06, 2008, 12:10 AM

    EAST LANSING -- Michigan State had every reason to believe the good times were finally rolling again more than three-quarters of the way through the eighth game of 2004.

    The Spartans, who finished the previous season with an Alamo Bowl appearance and 8-5 record, were 4-3 and not only leading Michigan by 17 points in Ann Arbor but dominating.

    However, quarterback Drew Stanton was out of the game with an injured shoulder, the defense surrendered 17 consecutive points late in the fourth quarter and the Wolverines won in triple overtime to restart the cycle of dread for MSU.

    An ensuing streak of three straight losing seasons ended with last year's Champs Sports Bowl trip and 7-6 record, but the good feelings that linger had to be tempered with measure of deep-seated uncertainty Tuesday during Michigan State's annual media day at Spartan Stadium.

    The program could yet again be perceived as building momentum toward a rosy future; it also could be doomed to continue a dismal post-bowl trend that repeated itself, with varying degrees of bowl-less misery, in '04, '02, '00, '98, '94 and '91.

    The fact MSU hasn't enjoyed back-to-back winning records since posting six in a row from '85-90 is a clear indication that success hasn't necessarily bred success when it comes to Spartans football.

    "The team doesn't think about that too much because if we do stuff tends to fall into place," senior strong safety Otis Wiley said. "We have to break that curse."

    That can only be done, according to second-year coach Mark Dantonio, by confronting past issues.

    In fact, he's brutally honest about the false sense of accomplishment that has permeated the program in recent years.

    "I think they have a history here of fattening everybody up after a so-so season and saying great things are on the horizon," Dantonio said. "I think that's the natural progression here. I also think the progression is they want to deflate you very quickly (in tough times)."

    Dantonio, a Spartans assistant coach from '95-00, won't hesitate to remind his players about past MSU teams that failed to follow through with what they had started.

    "I think you have to address it," he said. "We came off '97 (7-5, Aloha Bowl) and in '98 we didn't go to a bowl game. We come back in '99 and go 10-2 (Citrus Bowl) and in 2000 we didn't go to a bowl game. So, it goes back and forth.

    "If we want to change it, we need to recognize that fact and not look past it. So, we've talked about it."

    Preventing stuff from falling into place during adverse times is going to take tremendous leadership from a senior class that has just 13 members, including Wiley, quarterback Brian Hoyer, running back Javon Ringer and defensive tackle Justin Kershaw, Dantonio said.

    Unlike last year when Michigan State eased into the season with a more challenging opponent in each of the first five weeks, the Spartans will get tested right away in their Aug. 30 opener at California.

    "I think it's a good thing to find out exactly who we are early," Dantonio said. "We'll look at that as a positive just in terms of, don't be too happy, don't be too satisfied.

    "I'm not going to shy away from talking about Big Ten championships. You have to have a vision and a goal in terms of where you're going. And if we have a passion for where we're trying to get to, we may get sidetracked, but we'll re-navigate and move towards the ultimate goal."

    Test time
    Everybody passed their physical conditioning test Monday morning except massive sophomore defensive tackle Antonio Jeremiah. Dantonio obviously wasn't pleased by Jeremiah's choices and made him work with the third-string defense.

    "People's weight fluctuates," Dantonio said. "But when you're 320 pounds one day and 330 the next, that's a big meal. He's got to get his weight back down around 319, but he ran well for 330."

    Jeremiah doesn't have the option of not passing the test.

    "He's a good football player and a great person, but when we make a blanket statement that everybody is going to pass that running test, we have to hold to that statement," Dantonio said. "He'll pass it."

  11. #71
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    dantonio has done a pretty good job recruiting too. they were stocking their team with 3 star players with 1 or 2 4 star and a few 2 star.

    this year he has several 4 star recruits and it looks like he could snag a few more

  12. #72
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio

    Spartans offense hums in first scrimmage

    by Steve Grinczel | Commentary
    Monday August 11, 2008, 11:23 AM

    EAST LANSING -- Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio launched what appeared to be a red flag prior to Monday morning's practice, but it turned out to be a red herring.

    Dantonio pointed out that the offense prevailed over the defense in the team's first intrasquad scrimmage, which was closed to the media on Sunday, to win back the green jerseys it surrendered in the spring.

    That was alarming because coaches at every level from coast-coast unfailingly talk about how the defense is ahead of the offense at this point of two-a-days, but that the offense should be caught up by game week.

    In my very unscientific and unofficial tabulation relying solely upon a foggy memory, the offense's 88-71 victory -- points are awarded for successful plays in various statistical categories -- improved its record to 1-22 since I've been covering first Spartans scrimmages of preseason camp.


    However, based on Dantonio's assessment, don't read too much into it.

    While the offense looked good, and quarterbacks Brian Hoyer (20 of 27, 227 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions), Kirk Cousins (13 of 17, 73 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions) and Keith Nichol (8 of 10, 112 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions) were especially sharp, they didn't overwhelmingly overshadow the defense.

    "It was probably as good a scrimmage for the quarterback group that we've had when you look at the scholarship guys," Dantonio said. "I thought Hoyer was sharp and Cousins was very sharp, and we caught the ball very well.

    "Defensively we've got to communicate, the attention to detail needs to be better in the back end and we're battling some (injuries) right now, so we've got to rectify that. But they're little things."

    "It was a jersey scrimmage so it's orchestrated for certain things," Dantonio said. "We put them in certain situations and (the offense) won the situations. It was pretty close until the end. (The defense) didn't stop them on a goal-line situation, so (the offense) picked up 12 points there.

    "But we saw enough good things on defense. We had some guys playing some different positions (because of the injuries) and we were playing some freshmen in the linebacker area."

    Dantonio said he didn't see it as harbinger of things to come for the defense.

    "When your quarterbacks are making good decisions, getting the ball out hot and those kinds of things, good things can happen for the offense," he said.

    Freshman defensive back Brynden Trawick, junior safety Roderick Jenrette, redshirt junior fullback Andrew Hawken and senior wideout Deon Curry have "two- or three-day injuries," Dantonio said. "There are no serious ones."

  13. #73
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio

    The Cft Top 25

    I've received a lot of e-mails asking me what I think of the coaches' Top 25 or the Sports Illustrated Top 20 or various other preseason polls, and I've been thinking about a few different ways to respond to them.

    But I've decided to do the boring thing that everyone else does and just post my own personal, subjective, sure-to-be-wrong preseason rankings. So here it is, the College Football Talk Top 25:

    1. Georgia

    2. Ohio State

    3. USC

    4. Florida

    5. Missouri

    6. Arizona State

    7. LSU

    8. West Virginia

    9. Oklahoma

    10. Texas Tech

    11. Clemson

    12. Illinois

    13. Texas

    14. Auburn

    15. Wisconsin

    16. BYU

    17. Michigan

    18. Rutgers

    19. Kansas

    20. Virginia Tech

    21. Tennessee

    22. Oregon

    23. Wake Forest

    24. Alabama

    25. Boise State

  14. #74
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    25 Michigan Keys: #7
    Posted by Chris Burke August 11, 2008 21:00PM
    Categories: U-M Football

    Key #7 to the Michigan season: Finding the right place for Obi Ezeh

    I want to just put something into perspective. During his senior year of high school, Obi Ezeh made 35 total tackles. Last season, Ezeh had 68. He sort of came from nowhere to become a very solid contributor for Michigan, and is slotted in as a huge piece of the 2008 defense.

    But where will he line up? Where Rich Rodriguez and his staff decide to place him could become a crucial decision for the defense.

    Ezeh played in all 13 Michigan games at the inside linebacker spot - but Michigan had Shawn Crable on the outside last season, and Chris Graham in the LB corps as well. Ezeh, who played running back as well in high school, slid in at ILB because of need and excelled.

    The linebacking group has a different look this year. Michigan will almost certainly be in a 4-3 for much of the season - perhaps some 3-3-5 in passing down - but either way you're talking about a three-man LB setup.

    If Ezeh sticks at the MIKE (middle linebacker) position, there's a good chance Austin Panter will slip into the SAM (strongside outside) spot. If Ezeh goes to the SAM, John Thompson - one of the rising stars of practice thus far - probably starts on the inside.

    Ezeh to the outside probably gives Michigan better speed. Thompson can provide similar production to Ezeh on the inside as a read-and-react type of guy. Does Panter's inclusion in an Ezeh-centered group give Michigan the same type of production? It's debatable. While Ezeh gets to stay at home, Panter has seen very little action on the outside. Even though Thompson hasn't exactly dominated the box score, he's gotten his playing time.

    The best feature of Ezeh is that he is displaying this versatility. He's the most experienced returning linebacker, and will be valuable no matter where he goes.

    Michigan has to decide if an Ezeh-Panter-player to be named combo is better than an Ezeh-Thompson-PTBNL trifecta. If not, Ezeh will be on the move.

  15. #75
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    Nov 2006
    toledo, ohio
    yeah i know. michigan is ranked too high

    its not my rankings i just found it on CFT

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