2009 Michigan Wolverines Preview The Michigan Wolverines start the season under the leadership of newly appointed coach Big Suge Knight. "We will restore the luster of the Maize and Blue," Coach Knight stated in his one sentence statement before a select group of Victor Club members in the Michigan locker room. The Wolverines offense resembled a rudderless ship last season with very few glimpses of promises. Things should be better this year, but not by all that much, since there is no proven operator for the offense. Steven Threet, who was the most accomplished Wolverine passer last year, is gone, leaving junior Nick Sheridan as the only experienced hand. Tate Forcier, who enrolled early after a stellar career at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego, ran the show in March and April. Forcier showed promise, but it’s unrealistic to consider him ready to run the offense effectively for 12 games. He may still get the job, since Sheridan is hardly versed in the attack, but that just means another year of fits and starts for the Wolverines. Another freshman, speedy Denard Robinson may see some time also. With a possible three headed "monster" at QB dont expect much from the Wolverine aerial attack. Much hyped Freshman HB Sam McGuffie is a distant memory after he transferred back to the Lone Star state to be closer to home. Seniors Brondon Minor, Carlos Brown and Sam Grady are not the quickest runners but they will likely hold the keys to the Wolverines offensive bite. When the depth chart was released by Coach Knight after his brief press conference Sophmore Michael Shaw and true Freshmen Vincent Smith and Teric Jones were listed as being redshirted, presumably in an effort to build depth for the years to come. Inexperience rears its head in the Michigan receiving corps as the only upperclassman receiver on the roster is 4 year Senior Greg Matthews, who was second to true Freshman Martavious Odoms (49), had 35 receptions. The tight end position is likely to be a factor in the limited passing game as Kevin Koger, Matell Webb and Brandon Moore all run well and have soft hands. With the aforementioned inexperience under center, they should see their fair share of looks across the middle. If there is one area of the Wolverine roster that has made the biggest improvement, it’s the front five. Last year, one starter returned, and only seven scholarship players took part in spring drills. Now, Michigan has experience, increased depth and a group that is stronger and faster. That will mean a lot. Center David Molk and right guard David Moosman played every offensive snap last year and will anchor the interior of the unit, along with junior Steve Schilling, who would have had the same distinction had he not been hurt before the Ohio State game. Senior Mark Ortmann will start at left tackle, and the surprise of the spring, sophomore Mark Huyge, grabbed the right tackle spot. As settled as the offensive front is, that’s how up in the air things are along the defense’s wall. Michigan is moving to a 4-3/3-4 hybrid, like it ran during the ’90s under Lloyd Carr, and that philosophical switch, coupled with the losses of three seniors from last year, will make for some harrowing moments in ’09, at least early on. The good news is that senior end Brandon Graham is back after making 20 tackles for a loss last year. Inside, there is little stability, and Robinson must hope sophomores Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen can handle the tackle spots. Don’t be surprised if true freshman William Campbell, who impressed this spring, is starting by October. The Wolverines are in a little better shape here than on the defensive line, thanks to the return of juniors Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton. Depth will be a huge concern here, and any injury could be catastrophic. The secondary has something of a new look, but at least junior Donovan Warren, the Wolverines’ best cover man last year, is back at the corner position. He’ll likely be paired with sophomore Boubacar Cissoko, who had a solid debut. Again, depth will be a problem. Former corner Troy Woolfolk, one of the fastest players on the team, moves to Brown’s free safety spot, while Mike Williams, who backed up Brown last year, moves to the strong position. The arrival of freshman J.T. Turner, a highly regarded cornerback, should create some interesting competition. Behold the yin and the yang of the kicking game. Senior punter Zoltan Mesko was first team All-Big Ten last year, probably because he got so much work (80 punts). Meanwhile, the placekicking featured a collection of walk-ons in the spring and eventually fell into the hands of true freshman Brendan Gibbons this summer. The return situation is much better, thanks to the quick feet of Cissoko, Odoms, Mathews and Smith.