January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (12) drops back against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Spring Football -- Spring Cleaning and Ground Under Construction -- What Michigan Will Work On

Posted at 7:15am — 2/26/2013

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Spring Football — Spring Cleaning and Ground Under Construction — What Michigan Will Work On

One Michigan era, that of soon to be legend Denard Robinson, is over, and another era, yet to be named, is in the planning and preparation stage. On offense the emphasis for era reconstruction will be Coach Borges and Devin Gardner. There will of course be other assets that forge the new era.

January 1, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison prior of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On defense, the change has been undergoing for two years and the architect of construction remains Coach Mattison. No single player will be the next major vehicle of improvement. Instead, the responsibility will be global.

There continue to be clear needs as Michigan is still in a defensive metamorphosis with new personnel and continued experience expected to improve performance. Offensively, Michigan is almost in a new staff situation with the awaited crossover to a West Coast mode.

There are plenty of areas of concern. Each area will take planning, personnel, preparation, and execution to improve. The first step is spring practice. Below are concerns Michigan’s staff almost certainly must address head on.


Most pressing is the long-delayed insertion of the Modified West Coast offense. This is problematical. It is unreasonable to expect a great turn around when installing a new quarterback and new personnel. Last year’s ending gave Gardner experience and the coaches an idea of what can be cooked up for 2013.

The offense is still in need of strong tight end play, size at receiver, and backs that can hit the perimeter on the screen game. Help is coming, but the offensive oven needs time.

Devin Gardner needs great improvement even as the offense changes. There was a difference in the play calling between the two quarterbacks of last year, but hard work, film room time, and extra work will be a must to elevate the new offense, there is no other way, and there will not be an easy way. How will Gardner welcome the extra work and expectations?

The offense must emerge with at least one solid back while Toussaint is on the mend and the freshmen are still in high school. There is no guarantee the freshmen and Toussaint are the answer. One must emerge as at least competent.

The offensive line must fill three spots and their performance will determine if the running game gets moving as desired. The bridge between first time starter and veteran as to college football linemen can be wide enough for concern. There is finally some good competition and the coaching is quite competent.


January 1, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins (56) against the South Carolina Gamecocks works out prior of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan will start with the clear weak areas of safety play and pass rush. Pipkins and Washington need to occupy the inside enough to allow others to hit a crease. There are many candidates for rush end, but none has emerged as a clear threat to get to the quarterback. The candidates are indeed older and larger, but UM still lacks the dominant edge rusher needed to make the 4-3 under work.

The safety play at Michigan has been lackluster for over a decade and talent and coaching are the answers. The coaching appears to be at least adequate, more than likely past adequate. The talent is young, excepting Thomas Gordon. But there is talent.

The linebackers were disappointing in speed, but really did a decent job of getting some contain on highly skilled athletes. Still, the coaches are looking for edge-to-edge speed.

The cornerback situation is simple: have at it and may the best two to four men win.

There will be players Michigan does not need to use and should not use this spring. Lewan and Schofield need to meld with the youngsters but do not need to sustain injury. Players like Toussaint and Countess just need to heal and be ready for the fall.

Spring may not be as desirable to the typical fan as the blessed fall. But to play well in the fall, success and progress in the spring are foundational musts.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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