Today Ouimet explains: the Michigan Offense.
Today Ouimet explains: the Michigan Offense.

Ouimet's Spring Wrapup - The Offense

Yesterday former staffer Mark Ouimet said the defensive front four has been dominating the offensive line in spring practice. <br><br> He also said, "The Michigan offense won't miss Braylon Edwards."<br><br> Today Ouimet explains: the <b>Michigan Offense</b>.<br>


"Why has Gabriel Watson, Pat Massey and Alan Branch been dominating the O-line this spring?"

"First off, Michigan's best offensive lineman, Jake Long at right tackle, is out for the spring with a shoulder injury."

"And secondly, the interior O-line is unsettled and therefore getting blown up by Watson and co. -- so much so that Watson has been held out some."

"So, we'll start with the offensive line."

"Let's look at who the starters are. First there's Long at right tackle. And Matt Lentz is a sure thing at right guard. The other three spots are up for grabs. Rueben Riley is another starter, but at what position is a question mark. Right now he is at center. If he stays at center then the left guard spot is open. Leo Henige will get first shot there, but has we know his knees have given out every year at Michigan so far, including last year. So if Henige can't do the job at left guard, then you're looking at Alex Mitchell, the best of the redshirt freshmen, or redshirt sophomore Jeremy Ciulla."

"It wasn't first choice for Riley to have to play center. But Mark Bihl has not been able to nail down the OC job, and redshirt soph Adam Kraus, who also could've won the spot, is out for the spring with a shoulder. Kraus would have to have a heck of a 2-a-days fall camp to win the center job."

"At left tackle it's either Adam Stenavich of Mike Kolodziej. Either could do the job -- and if it's Kolodziej then Stenavich could also get a shot at left guard."

"So as you can see, the O-line has been vulnerable this spring. Add to that the fact that Henige's action has been limited as his knee gains strength."

"The bottom line -- for the Michigan offense, the interior OL is the question. That being said, with Long back in the fall, line coach Andy Moeller will figure out how to best use Long, Kolodziej, Stenavich, Lentz, Riley and Henige, and watch Mitchell, Ciulla, Kraus and Bihl as well."

"The flipside to the OL being a 'problem' in the spring -- it is only helping Michigan's young running backs that in spring the DL is blowing up interior OL. It's the "Barry Sanders Story" -- those backs are having to find a hole without greatest line. So they are learning that -- finding holes, and breaking tackles. And all three, Mike Hart, Kevin Grady and Max Martin, are doing a good job. Michigan will run some formations putting two of them on the field at the same time -- there is too much ability at running back not to. And, like Anthony Thomas in his senior year, there will also be formations where these guys can-and-will be used out in the passing lanes. All three can catch the ball -- watch for Martin in passing situations particularly."

"I would have been nice to have a settled fullback situation ... it'll be interesting in 2-a-days in the fall when Roger Allison (neck/shoulder) is hopefully 100% again. Brian Thompson and Obi Oluigbo are competing there as well. Michigan needs fullback to help with the blocking ... who will it be."

"The other blockers, the tight ends, are fine with Tim Massaquoi and Tyler Ecker both back. The tight ends have to have big season. The year Michigan won champtionship, '97, tight end was important. Well, Michigan again has a quarterback in Chad Henne that can run the bootleg/drag play to the tight end."

"Which brings us to the wide receivers. Speaking of 'formations', now that Steve Breason is healthy look for 'some formations' for Breaston as well. Michigan would've done it last year but for his chronic foot problems ... those should be over now. To get Breaston involved as much as possible they need to spread it out so he can have space to operate. So they will get him in space -- even at QB."

"At wideout, Jason Avant and Breaston could both be All Big Tenners. The next two coming out of the spring are Carl Tabb and Doug Dutch. Bug with three receivers on the field at times, Michigan likes to go 6 deep in wideouts. Adrian Arrington is #5. Will incoming frosh Mario Manningham play in the fall? It's a tough transition for a small wideout from high school -- Dutch found that out last year (that's why I'm a little surprised Eric Campbell gave up Morgan Trent to the defense ...)."

"Finally, there's Chad Henne. I don't have to say much there. He'll get better and better -- and he finally has the whole playbook at his command to use out there."

"Michigan's offensive coaches will be creative out there, because they have a lot of talent. We'll see a lot of different sets, different formations, different groups of guys on the field. That's why I say they won't miss Braylon -- they won't be in a situation this year where nothing is working EXCEPT throwing the home run to Braylon."

"This offense will score a lot of points -- 30+, 4+ Touchdowns a game. Which they are capable of doing -- and which they are going to HAVE to do."

"I believe they'll score 30+ points a game ... will they be able to stop a certain 2-3 teams from doing likewise?"

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