What you need to know about the 2004 Wolverines
SALINE, MICHIGAN AUGUST 15, 2004 Update for you 8/31/04 – As predicted here (see below), Carr confirmed that Matt Gutierrez will indeed take the first snap at quarterback this year. Other tidbits – CB Marlin Jackson will be on the depth chart as kickoff returner, and Lloyd advised that high school standout Mike Hart will not be redshirted, and will get some carries. Unknowns right now – who is the back-up? Clayton Richard or Chad Henne? Will Henne be redshirted?? Stay tuned.
Ah yes – it is that time of year. Here’s an insider’s look at the season:
Marketing- This year’s theme is Michigan’s 125th Season. The tickets are adorned with M players throughout history. Tom Brady is notably displayed on one of the tickets. Despite an average QB career at Michigan, I guess two Super Bowl rings and pop-icon status will take you off the back page of the media guide right onto the ticket next to ‘ol 98 Tommy Harmon. (more info can be found on mgoblue.com – Michigan’s official site).
QBs in NFL – With Drew Henson now a Dallas Cowboy, Michigan has sent its last 7 starting quarterbacks into the NFL.
Navarre Gone – Everyone’s favorite excuse, John Navarre, is gone to the NFL. So to all you neurotic fans, you’ll have to find a new whipping boy. It looks like that is going to be Matt Gutierrez although coach Carr still insists that the competition is wide open. Well, you can cancel out true freshman Chad Henne; there’s no way Carr would start a guy right out of high school. That would leave 6-4 left hander Clayton Richard as the only other option – but look for Gutierrez to take the first snap. Gutierrez is more mobile than Navarre, but so is Timmy Adams. He probably doesn’t have quite the arm strength but he’ll be more accurate.
Expectations? Not much of a surprise, but most folks have picked Michigan to win the Big Ten, with Ohio State and Iowa right behind. Speaking of Iowa, the Hawkeyes have beat the Blue 2 years in a row and now come back to Ann Arbor to try for three. There always seems to be one non-MSU/OSU Big Ten game on the schedule that is a biggie – this year it is Iowa. At any rate, I think everyone in Ann Arbor would like another shot at the USC Trojans in this year’s Rose Bowl.
Warmer Weather coming Soon. This year the Michigan State game is Oct. 30th, on the same weekend it has been for a while. Next year and in 2006, the games move to early October (10/1/05 and 10/7/06). A few weeks make that much of a difference? Believe it – Just ask the Dooley Brothers crew!
3-4 Defense. Michigan has made it known that they will move to a 3-4 defense this year, meaning they’ll have three down linemen and 4 linebackers. They hope that they can put enough pressure up front with their three talented linemen, but more importantly, confuse defenses by moving and shifting their linebackers around the line. Look for second year Lamar Woodley to often be used like a pro-style defensive end.
Special Teams. The Blue should be looking good. Kicker (Garret Rivas), Punter (Adam Finley) and star punt returner (Steve Breaston) all return. This is good news, as this has been a struggle in recent years.
Receivers. Best in the country? Edwards, Breaston and Jason Avant all return. Wow.
Replacing Perry. Look for David Underwood to assume the tailback duties, backed up by Jerome Jackson. We’ll see how this goes. Obviously Michigan has turned up the passing game in recent years, but Michigan’s season still comes down the same thing: The ability to control the game by running the football. That’s it. Dominate the line of scrimmage, push guys back and advance the ball on the ground.
Outlook? With a new quarterback, it is just tough to think that this team will run the table. I’m thinking Michigan will have 2 losses heading into a major bowl game. The most likely source of these losses? Road games at Ohio State, Notre Dame and Purdue.