The Ann Arbor News' Jim Cnockeart

We recently had a long talk with long time Ann Arbor News columnist <b>Jim Cnockeart</b> for our Football Preview magazine issue (hitting mailboxes and newsstands around Aug. 1st). We saved a 'fair share' of Jim's best statements for our website subscribers. Here is Cnockeart on Michigan's biggest strength overall, on Michigan's biggest question mark, and on Michigan's predicted record.

Jim, what would you say is Michigan's biggest strength overall?

"The offensive line. It's a motivated group. They lost just enough games last year to be motivated. And these offensive linemen know the history and tradition of the 'Michigan Offensive Line.' I'll be surprised if John Navarre gets touched much this year."

What do you see as Michigan's biggest question mark?

"The safety position. We didn't get a chance to see Ernest Shazor and John Shaw too much last season. Shaw has improved some. But they haven't proved they can carry things. And regarding Shazor, who knows."

"I don't think the linebacker position is as questionable as some think; there's depth there. And I think tight end will be okay too. And the kicking game should be alright-- Adam Finley being able to place kick as well as punt takes takes the heat off."

What's your predicion for Michigan's record?

"When you look at Michigan's schedule: Central Michigan (at home), Houston (at home), Notre Dame (at home), Oregon (away), Indiana (at home), Iowa (away), Minnesota (away), Illinois (at home), Purdue (at home), Michigan State (away), Northwestern (away), Ohio State (at home) ... I'll say this: I think they will be favored in all of them going into the Ohio State game."

Good stuff, eh? If you want to subscribe to GoBlueWolverine Magazine in time to get the Football Preview Issue, better do it today!

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