Mailbag question: Expectations for 2009 offense?

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Appreciate your candid analysis. It is interesting that a year ago all talk was concerning Michigan’s offense for the coming season. Now here we are a year later and it seems that all of the chatter is focused on the defense. I understand that some of that is normal with the hiring of a new defensive coordinator, but the fact remains that Michigan’s 2008 offense was historically bad.

What – if any – changes do you expect on the offensive side of the ball in 2009? In particular, Coach Rod will be faced with a choice between a returning sophomore whose skills are not well-suited to the scheme, or a true freshman who would seem to be a better fit – but will be untested. How do you see the QB situation playing out through spring practice and the early part of the 2009 season?

What about the other offensive positions?

Thanks for taking time to answer questions!

Steve from Fairfax, VA

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Thanks for the question and comments.

We heard talk last year that Coach Rod was visiting and watching film on Missouri’s offense to adjust his offense to include some of what the Tigers do.

This year we are hearing reports that Coach Rod and staff are looking at adding an Oklahoma look (some schemes) to get tight ends and wide receivers more involved and more I-formation possible and maybe more pro style offense to his package that would involve the best players on the team.

We were skeptics then and continue to be skeptics. We would have loved to seen the offense that Michigan used against Florida and ALL the players that could have come back last season, but it did not happen. Hopefully we will use our weapons such as Koger and the wide receivers to our advantage and not concentrate so much on the slot receivers.

Michigan already used some I-formation last season in short-yardage and red zone offense. If that was the direction they had wanted to go we believe we would have seen it last year. Just makes sense to us that with Threet at quarterback, a pro style offense would have been a better fit for him.

If Coach Rod and staff were willing to use Threet in the quarterback-read-option, it makes no sense to us that he would switch now. The offensive staff is geared to run that offense, and the personnel Michigan is bringing in fits the quarterback-read-option offense. If we see something different this spring, we will report on it. We hope that they use the passing game more this year especially the tight end.

Offensive depth chart:

Quarterback: Battle between Threet and Forcier. We expect to see Threet early with Forcier making big push as Big Ten season begins.It would not surprise us, at least early on, to see two quarterback rotating. Again, we will get a better handle on this once we see spring practices.

Running Back: Minor is obviously #1 in the clubhouse, but we expect Shaw and Brown to get some significant playing time; and we have not written off Grady at this time.

Max Back: Moundros, Grady, and even Minor getting time at max with one of the other running backs in the backfield.

Offensive Tackles: Schilling, Ortmann, and Dorrestein fighting for starting time. We’ll have to wait until spring to judge O’Neill and Omameh.

Offensive Guards: Mooseman, and Ferrara trying to hold off McAvoy and Barnum

Offensive Center: Molk, but watch Khoury.

Split Ends: Mathews and Hemingway if healthy, big push from Stonum and Roundtree.

Slot: Odoms is the only true slot returning, we hope T-Rob gets healthy and helps. Michigan could also use Koger or Moore as slot receivers.

Tight End: Koger and Moore/Watson.

We believe, right now, your looking at a starting lineup of Heminway and Mathews at wide receivers. Ortmann, Barnum, Molk, Moosman, Schilling at offensive line. Koger at tight end. Odoms at the slot. Threet at quarterback, Minor at running back. We will have more on this once spring practices start and we are able to see these players with our own eyes.

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine