Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 17, 2015

Excitement and anticipation have engulfed Michigan with the arrival of former BMOC Jim Harbaugh. The possibilities now seem limitless for a program that hasn?t won the Big Ten since 2004, as rivals Michigan State and Ohio State have run roughshod over this once-proud program.

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Harbaugh isn?t inheriting a broken ship. Brady Hoke left the former Wolverine signal-caller plenty of talent. But there are some areas that need attention.


1. Sort through the quarterbacks. This was a position that was at the root of the undoing of Brady Hoke. Jim Harbaugh needs to begin figuring out what he has. Junior Shane Morris is back along with sophomore Wilton Speight. Alex Malzone is an early enrollee. True freshman Zach Gentry will join the fray in the fall. Maybe Michigan at least leaves the spring with some type of pecking order. Houston transfer John O'Korn will have to sit out one season per NCAA rules.

2. Figure out the offensive line. This was another continual sore spot during the Hoke regime. But the unit looks to be poised for a breakthrough with every starter back along with lots of promising talent. In fact, there are eight to nine legit guys who could play. The tackle tandem of sophomore Mason Cole and junior Ben Braden should be formidable. Junior Erik Magnuson and senior Graham Glasgow also return, along with senior center Jack Miller. A guy like sophomore center Patrick Kugler and junior guard Kyle Kalis also could earn starting spots. And sophomores David Dawson and Chris Fox also are emerging. New offensive coordinator/line coach Tim Drevno has a great rep for developing fronts. And he should like the talent he finds here.

3. Search for pass rushers. Who will bring the heat? Frank Clark did a good job of rushing the passer last season until getting booted from the team. Junior Taco Charlton and senior Mario Ojemudia could be the next rushers to emerge. At least there are few worries on the interior, as Michigan has eight tackles back who have played. Overall, this could be a pretty good d-line if it can get pressure off the edge from a few guys. Former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was retained and will work with the line, so his familiarity with the personnel should help.


Record: 5-7 overall; 3-5 Big Ten
Spring ball starts: February 24
Spring game: April 4
Key players lost: DE Brennen Beyer; DE Frank Clark; WR Devin Funchess; QB Devin Gardner; P Will Hagerup; LB Jake Ryan; CB Raymon Taylor; K Matt Wile.
Key players returning: LB Joe Bolden; OT Ben Braden; TE Jake Butt; S Jeremy Clark; OT Mason Cole; CB Blake Countess; WR Amara Darboh; G Graham Glasgow; DT Ryan Glasgow; RB Derrick Green; G Kyle Kalis; CB Jourdan Lewis; C Jack Miller; LB Desmond Morgan; DE Mario Ojemudia; CB/S Jabrill Peppers; LB James Ross III; RB De?Veon Smith; S Dymonte Thomas; S Jarrod Wilson; DT Chris Wormley

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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