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18 MICHIGAN
Ted Keith
August 19, 2013
The case for
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August 19, 2013

18 Michigan

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The case for

The Wolverines bring back four starters on offense, and they'll reintroduce the pro-style attack that was the maize-and-blue's hallmark for decades. The change should work well for quarterback Devin Gardner, a 6'4", 210-pound redshirt junior who completed 59.5% of his passes with a 2.2-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio in five starts at the end of last season. He'll be protected by the nation's best offensive lineman, left tackle Taylor Lewan, who passed up NFL riches to return for his senior year. Senior wideout Jeremy Gallon is poised for a breakout season, and the country's No. 1 running back recruit, Derrick Green, will be pressed into immediate action.

The defense, which also has four incumbent starters, is led by sophomore linebacker James Ross III, one of Michigan's most improved players this spring. Blake Countess, a 5'10", 181-pound junior defensive back, returns from a left ACL tear to help maintain the high standards of the pass defense, which ranked fifth in the nation last season.

The case against

Michigan will need a reliable running game, and it remains to be seen whether senior Fitzgerald Toussaint, who broke his left leg last November, and Green are up to the task. More troubling is the lack of an experienced backup quarterback; true freshman Shane Morris will likely be Gardner's understudy.

Coach Speak

BRADY HOKE

SI

How is the move back to pro-style going?

BH

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