MICHIGAN: Four Days and Counting

Bloomington - Like Indiana, the Michigan Wolverines are off to a 3-0 start following a 3-9 campaign a year ago. Hoosier Nation continues its day-by-day preview of this weekend's match-up with a look at "Four Names To Know" from Coach Rich Rodriguez's team...

Brandon Graham, DE – A second-team All-Big Ten choice a season ago with 20 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback sacks, Graham has been relatively quiet in the first three games of the 2009 campaign. The 6'3", 261-pound senior has eight tackles, three tackles for loss and is still looking for his first quarterback sack. That's a bit of a surprise, considering Graham is considered a potential second or third round NFL Draft pick next spring, and was someone who could have gone relatively high in the Draft if he'd opted to come out after his junior season. It's a safe bet, though, that Graham will get untracked soon and Indiana offensive tackles Rodger Saffold and James Brewer need to make sure it doesn't happen this weekend. Graham has terrific speed and athleticism off the edge, and he'll be a load for IU's offensive tackles to handle. With that in mind, expect to see IU double team him with a tight end.

Tate Forcier, QB - the San Diego, Cal., native enrolled at Michigan early last spring with the goal of landing the quarterback job as a true freshman, and he's accomplished that feat. But Forcier has done more than just beat out fellow freshman Denard Robinson and junior Nick Sheridan – he's quickly emerging as one of the league's most dynamic playmakers. A dual-threat signal caller who threw for 3,400 yards and ran for another 800 as a high school senior, Forcier is directing a Wolverine offense that is averaging 38.0 points/game in its first three contests. Forcier is completing 65 percent of his throws (43-of-66) and has amassed 487 passing yards and five touchdowns. He's also a capable runner either by design or if facing a pass rush, evidenced against Notre Dame when he ran for 70 yards and a touchdown.

Stevie Brown, OLB – One of two players from the state of Indiana on Michigan's roster, Brown starred at Columbus East H.S. as a running back and safety before signing up to play for former Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr. The 6'0", 211-pounder spent his first three years on campus as a safety, where he started all 12 games a year ago and totaled 64 tackles and two interceptions. Despite those numbers in 2008, plenty of fingers were pointed at him for Michigan's defensive woes a year ago. Now, he's making a big difference at a new position. In the off-season, Michigan moved Brown to a hybrid outside linebacker spot this season, where he can be more involved in stopping the run. His athleticism, speed and experience in the secondary, meanwhile, allow him to drop into coverage when teams opt to go with three or four wide receivers. It's been a move that's panned out well during the season's first three weeks, with Brown ranking second on the team with 20 tackles to go along with a team-best 3 ½ tackles for loss.

Carlos Brown, RB - the Wolverines' primary ball carrier this season is supposed to be senior Brandon Minor, but his problems with an ankle injury have opened the door for Brown. Minor missed the Western Michigan opener with the ankle problem, and then had to go to the sidelines last weekend against Eastern Michigan after only three carries. Brown has seized the opportunity, running for 187 yards on just 13 carries, including a 90-yard touchdown run. That performance earned him co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors. The 6'0", 210-pound senior is expected to get the starting nod again this weekend regardless of Minor's availability, and Indiana will have to show it's capable of keeping him and the Wolverines' potent rushing attack in check.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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