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 Michigan Preview 
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Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

Joined: April 27th, 2005, 3:26 pm
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Visions of Vince Young, Troy Smith and Drew Stanton running around the perimeter haunt Lloyd Carr, defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann and everyone involved with the Michigan program. Though the Wolverines must replace Braylon Edwards, the best wide receiver in the country last season, their biggest focus this offseason was constructing a counter-attack to mobile quarterbacks and spread formations.

Texas' Young shredded the Wolverines' defense in the Rose Bowl, much like Ohio State's Smith did in the regular-season finale. Michigan couldn't hold onto a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost in Pasadena 38-37 on a last-second field goal. If Michigan State's Stanton hadn't been injured midway through the game against them, the Wolverines probably wouldn't have defeated that rival, either.

"The spread offense takes patience," Carr said. "If you don't have patience you end up with people over-committed and you end up giving up big plays. In terms of becoming the kind of defense we want to be, it begins with eliminating big plays."

By doing so, they can take the pressure off their own explosive offense. The Wolverines have eight returning starters on offense, led by two star sophomores, quarterback Chad Henne and tailback Michael Hart.

If Carr and Herrmann can restore the defense's confidence, another BCS berth is on the horizon.

OFFENSE
It's quite a luxury to have a returning quarterback who led your team to the Rose Bowl. It's an even bigger asset when that player is still in the early stages of development.

No one could have foreseen the impact Henne would have. Henne passed for 2,743 yards and 25 touchdowns as a true freshman. Now that they know what they've got, coach Lloyd Carr and offensive coordinator Terry Malone can make even greater use of Henne's talents.

Henne is not the only accomplished sophomore in the backfield. Hart rushed for 1,455 yards and displayed surprising power. He may have trouble duplicating those numbers with the addition of freshman Kevin Grady, a 5-foot-11, 228-pound bulldozer.

Junior wide receiver Steve Breaston is one of the most electrifying players in the country. He will move into the featured receiver role with the departure of Edwards. Jason Avant keeps the chains moving with sure hands and toughness over the middle. The tight end duo of Tim Massaquoi and Tyler Ecker may be the nation's best. With four starters returning, the Wolverines have plenty of beefy veterans to protect Henne's backside. They will run a majority of their plays to the right side behind veteran guard Matt Lentz and sophomore Jake Long.

DEFENSE
Losing linebacker Lawrence Reid was a sharp blow. Reid was forced to quit the sport because of a neck injury. Junior LaMarr Woodley is that unit's playmaker and an All-America candidate. He had 16 tackles for a loss last season.

Senior nosetackle Gabe Watson has never quite fulfilled expectations but anchors the defensive line. Defensive end Pat Massey is the best pass-rusher up front (five sacks) and, at 6-8, can tip and alter passes.

The loss of All-America performers Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor makes the defensive backfield another area of concern. Junior Leon Hall, who started nine games in 2004, will now match up against the opponent's top receiver.

SPECIALISTS
Breaston in the open field is a terrifying sight for any kick-coverage team. A threat to score every time he touches the ball, Breaston has gained nearly 1,800 yards on kickoff and punt returns in his first two seasons. Junior Garrett Rivas is a reliable place-kicker from 45 yards and in. True freshman Zoltan Mesko will be given every chance to win the punting job.

FINAL ANALYSIS
Michigan has maintained its status as one of the nation's premier programs but has yet to participate in the national championship game since the BCS system was instituted. A favorable schedule could change that. Its only dangerous non-conference opponent is Notre Dame, and the Irish haven't won at the Big House since 1993. If the Wolverines can avoid minefields at Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa, they could head into the annual finale against Ohio State undefeated.

Unquestionably, they have enough offensive firepower to run the table. The retooled defense will ultimately decide Michigan's fate. It has to put last season's embarrassing finish behind it and get better production from the linebackers and safeties.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/footba ... higan.html

I believe Michigan will surprise a lot of people this year. They should go undefeated until the OSU game.

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July 12th, 2005, 4:24 pm
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Quote:
If Michigan State's Stanton hadn't been injured midway through the game against them, the Wolverines probably wouldn't have defeated that rival, either.


You know it!!!!!!!

Although I am a MSU fan, I am also a realist, so I will be rooting for UofM to do well.

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July 12th, 2005, 4:56 pm
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When Michigan won the National Championship in 1997, nobody expected that team to do as well as it did. Every year people say that Michigan should be undefeated, contend for the national championship, win the Big Ten, etc., they fail to do so.

I would LOVE to see U of M win the national championship, but it usually happens when not too much is expected of them.

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July 12th, 2005, 9:07 pm
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Are Grady and Hart going to split carries? I've heard that Grady is actually much smaller than his listed height and weight, hopefully those sources are mistaken and that running duo could be deadly. I dont think we will miss Edwards that much Avant and Breaston should have had bigger roles all along, they are very good and Adrian Arrington might be the most talented receiver on the team. Why arent Gabe Watson and Prescott Burgess mentioned for the defense? That secondary could be in trouble though bc Marlin Jackson was as good as it gets and that allowed quite a bit of blitzing. Probably will have to sit back in zones more often and take it down a notch with the blitzing. The graduation of Markus Curry is addition by subtraction.

I will never understand the media's infatuation with UM TEs who have not been very good since Riemersma. Joppru was so overrated and now he has passed that torch to Massaquoi. I want to punch Brent Musberger in the face every time he says Massaquoi's name bc he acts like the kid is all world.

Go Blue!!!
+ Go Kyle Brown (MSU)


July 13th, 2005, 12:53 am
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m2karateman wrote:
When Michigan won the National Championship in 1997, nobody expected that team to do as well as it did. Every year people say that Michigan should be undefeated, contend for the national championship, win the Big Ten, etc., they fail to do so.

I would LOVE to see U of M win the national championship, but it usually happens when not too much is expected of them.



Not me, I would love to watch their program go down in flames and never recover! :idea:

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GO STATE!
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Michigan...
Missed 64 team tourney AND,NIT tourney(tourney for losers hahaha)


July 13th, 2005, 2:29 pm
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Rolando wrote:
Not me, I would love to watch their program go down in flames and never recover! :idea:


Don't hold your breath!

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July 13th, 2005, 2:31 pm
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Grady went to a high school close by where I live, and he is a pimp. If he performs anywhere near his high school level, you should have an All-American.

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July 13th, 2005, 2:39 pm
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After watching the Michigan game against Northern Illinois, I am excited about this offense. Henne looks great, Hart is still running well, Avant is every bit the player he has been (I always felt he was a better pass catcher than Edwards), and Kevin Grady is going to be a MONSTER.

However, this defense looks totally lost. As a result, unless Carr makes a change in COACHES, not players, this team will not win the Big Ten this year. I'm sorry Lloyd, but this defense has been declining for years. I blame the defensive coaches for that. There is good talent on this team, and it is the coaches job to make sure these kids know what they are supposed to be doing. I don't feel the coaches are getting the job done.

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September 7th, 2005, 1:59 pm
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Quote:
I believe Michigan will surprise a lot of people this year. They should go undefeated until the OSU game.


ha ha ha ha... That's rich. OVERRATED.


October 10th, 2005, 3:56 pm
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m2karateman wrote:
Every year people say that Michigan should be undefeated, contend for the national championship, win the Big Ten, etc., they fail to do so.


Could have swore Michigan was the Big 10 Champion the last two years...

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October 10th, 2005, 6:59 pm
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Surely Michigan is the best football team in michigan as of now.

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GO STATE!
2005 Austin Regional Champs!
4/7 years Final Four apperances
5/7 years Elite 8 apperances

Michigan...
Missed 64 team tourney AND,NIT tourney(tourney for losers hahaha)


October 10th, 2005, 8:41 pm
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34-31


October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm
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....4-1.....3-3...tell me where the mistake is at? Oh thats right..the mistake is is Auburn right now sorry :lol: Granpa Lloyd does it again out of the rankings wooo hoooo! Dont worry..Michigan will do good in the Motor City Bowl guranteed :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Edwards for heisman! Oh yea thats right, Michigan doesn't have him anymore so he cant bail them out

Henne for heisman, dduuuhhhh, he fumbles more than joey does!

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GO STATE!
2005 Austin Regional Champs!
4/7 years Final Four apperances
5/7 years Elite 8 apperances

Michigan...
Missed 64 team tourney AND,NIT tourney(tourney for losers hahaha)


October 10th, 2005, 9:54 pm
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