All You Need to Know About Michigan

All You Need to Know About Michigan is ... such was the assignment given to college publishers (each for their own school team) by for its college football preview. For Michigan the assignment was easy -- All You Need to Know About Michigan is two words ...

All You Need to Know About Michigan is two words: Michael Hart. As Hart goes, so goes Michigan. Hart is the spiritual leader of the Wolverines, and his absence for much of last season (he missed four games with a nagging ankle injury, and went from 1,455 yards in his '04 Freshman of the Year season to 662 yards in '05) cost Michigan dearly - an unheard of five losses, in four of which they held a fourth quarter lead but couldn't control the ball. So Michigan has brought back the offensive coordinator from its '97 National Championship team, Mike Debord, to re-emphasize the traditional Michigan running attack. But with the U-M offensive line a question mark, this strategy will only be as successful as Hart is.

U-M Head Coach Lloyd Carr didn't let the defense off the hook either for those fourth quarter slides. Gone is long-time coordinator Jim Herrmann, and young defensive backs coach Ron English has been promoted to bring a simpler, less-mistake-prone, yet more aggressive approach to the Wolverine defense.

Will these coaching changes produce another Wolverine National Championship a decade after their last one? The schedule is probably too hard, with Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State all on the road. But Michigan football has become a game of 'near great' - even last season's five losses were by an average of under five points. So anything is possibly for a talented Michigan program. But one thing is for sure - Michigan needs a healthy Hart as the heart of the '06 Wolverines.

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