Spring Game Burning Questions: Offense

We take a look at some the questions facing the U-M offense in their annual spring game, and did they get answered today? Or do they more work to do moving forward?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan's annual spring game is done and over. And while it wasn't the most entertaining game in U-M's history, there were plenty of storylines heading into the contest. Now lets look into the offense.

No. 1 : How would Devin Gardner play on his rehabbed foot? And adjust to the new offense?

Gardner move around well and seemed like his foot was nearly 100-percent. However, he was never asked to scramble, which is his best asset and usually results in big plays for the Michigan offense. He threw an interception on his first pass of the scrimmage trying to find freshman Freddy Canteen on what looked like an under thrown pass. He had a few underthrown balls on the day, and clearly needs more time learning newly hired offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's offensive schemes. The offense as a whole struggled, but it's evident it will go as far as Gardner can take them. The big question is, how far can he take them? It's a good thing the season starts in late August and not tomorrow.

No. 2: Who would emerge as the No. 1 RB?

Michigan coach Brady Hoke has said all spring that it has been a three-way race between Derrick Green, De'Veon Smith and Justice Hayes throughout camp. Hayes probably had the best of the bunch, but it wasn't by much. None of the running backs broke for any long runs, and Green was rumored to have a banged up knee, so there wasn't much from a play making ability that stood out from him today. On the plus side, Green and Smith looked more comfortable in pass catching drills. Hayes looks like he will be the change of pace back – mostly on third-downs. And If you're going off who is working with who, then Smith would be the No. 1 RB strictly based off him working with the first-team offense the most. But as of right now, it looks like that competition is ongoing.

No. 3: Can this offensive line create running lanes?

The offense line is still a work in progress. They were unable to create massive running lanes. There were no huge runs. But after a season where the Wolverines led the nation in negative rush plays, today was positive for the unit. The first and second-team lines held their own on the negative plays. While the offense averaged roughly three-yards a carry, it's the fact that they were moving in a positive direction is what stood out. Sure, they would love to have big plays, but after last season it's about baby steps. And the fact that they were able to get some first downs in short yardage situations – two yards or less –is a vast improvement from last year's unit. Again, it's a work in process, but there is something to build on here.

No. 4: Beside Devin Funchess, who would emerge at wide receiver?

Canteen made his presence know today and looks like he will be seeing significant playing time this fall. Canteen is fast playmaker who can stretch the defense, and made a nice connection with Gardner for a 40-yard gain early on in the scrimmage. Da'Mario Jones was another freshman that had a solid day, specifically in drill work. Jehu Chesson also had his moments. But it's Canteen who looks like the main option heading into fall camp.

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