Spring Game Burning Questions: Offense

Looking at Michigan's offense, several question marks appear heading into Saturday's spring game, especially at the quarterback position. Can anyone take a step up in the competition, is the offensive line improved, and who will emerge as playmakers for the Wolverines?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan enters the big house under the direction of Jim Harbaugh for the first time Saturday afternoon for the spring football game.

With 15 practices to get accustomed to the new philosophy and system being installed offensively by offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, the Wolverines now sit five months from the season opener at Utah on Sept. 3.

Looking at Michigan's spring game today, several questions are being asked -- will any be answered, especially at quarterback?

Quarterback: Can anyone separate himself?

True freshman Alex Malzone should receive the most snaps of the quarterback group simply because he's the only scholarship signal caller on the Maize team with defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. On the other side will be junior Shane Morris and redshirt freshman Wilton Speight. With Jake Rudock and Zach Gentry still set to arrive in the coming months, a strong performance today could at the very least give a quarterback the upper hand in the competition prior to that.

Harbaugh prioritizes quarterbacks that take care of the football and make sound decisions, keep an eye on the one that makes the fewest mistakes Saturday and shows the ability to step up in the pocket and make throws down the field.

Offensive Line: Has this group made improvement?

Michigan's offensive line has failed to perform consistently in the ground game and the passing attack in recent seasons. With several up and comers looking to prove themselves this spring, and several shuffling to various positions, the Wolverines will look to more closely establish a top five heading into the off-season.

In the run game, generating a push up front and creating some holes for running backs could be very telling about the progress this group has made. In the passing game, the quarterbacks are likely to be live against the defense, keeping those three up right is something the unit hasn't been able to do over the last two seasons. Is Mason Cole making the next step? Can Graham Glasgow be the center or will someone beat him out? Has Logan Tuley-Tilman developed enough to be a contributor in 2015?

Running backs: Who will emerge as Michigan's lead back?

Derrick Green, De'Veon Smith and Ty Isaac are all competing for snaps this spring. Consequently, they all have a legitimate shot of taking the leading role in the spring game today.

Green, who broke his clavicle at Rutgers last season, was averaging 78.5 yards per game before going down with the injury. He had much better sophomore campaign than his freshman season in Ann Arbor, however, the injury clearly derailed an otherwise rebound season for the 5-foot-11, 234-pounder. He has dealt with weight issues in the past, but if fully healthy he might be able to win back his starting job.

Smith finished with 519 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. His bruising style should fit in well with Harbaugh's pound it, run style scheme. Reports have indicated he has been the most consistent back all spring.

Isaac is the wild card of the three backs. He sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rule after coming to U-M form USC. He stands at 6-ffot-3, 240-punds, and might be the big back that Harbaough desires. However, he has been dealing with some lingering injuries and hasn't been able to practice full-go. But if he can today, he might become Harbaugh's guy.

Wide Receivers: Can Michigan fins its true No. 1 threat?

With Devin Funchess preparing for the NFL Draft, Michigan needs to find its next go-to receiver. Senior Amara Darboh seems likely to fill that void.

Darbaoh had 36 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. With loss of Funchess, he should earn more looks form whoever is the starting quarterback this fall. Look for Darboh to establish himself in today's scrimmage, cause he has the potential to be Michigan's next top receiver.

Senior Jehu Chesson looks to line up on the other side of Darboh, and will look to improve on his 15 catch for 154-yards 2014 season.

Look for redshirt freshman Maurice Ways and early enrollee Brian Cole to make some noise today. Both have potential to be play makers for this Michigan offense.

Kyle Bogenschutz and Josh Newkirk contributed to this report.


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