Scouting Report: Michigan Offense

The Michigan Wolverines have been a spotty team offensively this year due in large part to injuries to quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart. However, they are expected to be at full strength for the game with the Gators.

On the season the Wolves average 26.1 points a game, gain 166 yards on the ground and pass for 207. Hart is the key to what makes them go, but they have pretty good weapons at receiver and an impressive offensive line.

Quarterback --- When the season began, Chad Henne was a Heisman Trophy candidate. By the time it was over, he's just an average Joe. He's passed for 1,565 yards with 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He missed three entire games and has been in and out of some others. His backup, hot shot freshman Ryan Mallett passed for 892 yards with seven scores. Mallett has to be pretty upset right now with Rich Rodriguez bringing the spread option to Ann Arbor; an offense that does not fit the drop back passing skills that Mallett brings to the table.

Running Back --- As mentioned above, Mike Hart is the key to Michigan's offense. Like Henne, he missed three games this year, but still managed to run for 1,232 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's not a game breaking type, but a strong insider runner with enough of a burst to keep him honest. Back ups Carlos Brown (383, 4) and Brandon Minor (387, 1) give adequate support. The fullback Mark Moundros rarely touches the ball except to fall on a fumble.

Receivers --- Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington give Michigan a pair of very good pass catchers. Manningham (67-1,096, 16.4 11) is more of a deep threat while Arrington (58-729, 12.6, 6) catches more underneath stuff but both can hurt you. Arrington is effective on the goal line with his 6-3 frame. Greg Mathews (32-304, 9.5, 3) is a decent third receiver, and the TE Carson Butler (19-181, 9.5, 2) has to be accounted for.

Offensive Line --- Michigan is as good or better than anyone Florida has faced on the offensive line. Left tackle Jake Long is the best tackle in the country and a certain top five pick in April's NFL draft. They will run behind him as much as humanly possible. Right tackle Steven Schilling and center Adam Kraus are also very good players. They have given up 25 sacks, an indication you can get to the QB on occasion.

Michigan is a run first offense that is not hard to prepare for, but can be hard to deal with. Because of that, down and distance will be a huge factor for the Gator defense in Tuesday's game. If Florida can get Michigan into obvious passing situations they should be able to get off the field. But if Michigan is looking at 2nd-and-4 and 3rd-and-2 all afternoon the Gators will be in some trouble. Michigan has to control the ball and shorten the game to have a chance to win, so keep an eye out for third down conversions on the first few possessions because that will tell a big part of the story.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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