QUESTION: Although junior quarterback Todd Collins filled in admirably in two starts last year when Elvis Grbac, now of the San Francisco 49ers, was injured, how will he do now that he's No. 1 and playing behind a line that lost four all-conference performers
ANSWER: Fine, as long as he can hand off. As usual the Wolverines have built a fine offensive line out of the previous year's understudies, and they are so deep at tailback—Tyrone Wheatley, Ricky Powers, Jesse (House Cat) Johnson and Ed Davis—that Illinois coach Lou Tepper says any one of the four would start at any other Big Ten school. Also returning are five excellent receivers, led by Derrick Alexander (the Great).
Q: After seven linebackers missed part of spring practice with injuries, Michigan coach Gary Moeller said, "The linebacker positions are messed up. "Are they?
A: With juniors Matt Dyson, who had seven sacks in '92, and Steve Morrison, who led the Wolverines with 124 tackles last year, every team would love to be this messed up. Also, the offense has so much talent that the wealth has spread to the defense. Because of the queue in front of him at tailback, freshman Charles Winters, who coaches felt could someday be an all-conference running back, switched to free safety. He'll join cornerback Ty Law and strong safety Shonte Peoples, two of the best defensive backs in the country.
Q: Can junior quarterback Terry Dean fill the cleats of three-time All-SEC selection Shane Matthews?
A: Under the tutelage of coach and quarterback-maker Steve Spurrier, he probably can. In fact, the offense may be even better this year. With the entire line back and the explosive ability of tailback Errict Rhett, who needs 1,055 yards to pass Emmitt Smith as the school's alltime leading rusher, Spurrier will be able to emphasize his running game a little more. And when Dean does pass, it'll be to a receiving corps led by Willie Jackson, who had an SEC-high 62 receptions in '92.
Q: Is there any reason to think the Gators can beat the three teams—Tennessee, Mississippi State and Florida State—that defeated them during the regular season last year?
A: Yes. This season the Vols, Bulldogs and Seminoles all come to Gainesville, where Florida is 18-0 under Spurrier.