Special thanks to all the members of MM, you guys did an excellent job, this should be a fun segment.
1. What are your expectations for Michigan football this year?
Hulk: My expectations for Michigan football this year is to improve. I think most people would be satisfied with the football season if we can see marked improvement ranging from such things as not giving up first downs on 3rd and 30 at a 75% clip, all the players seeming to know where to be at all times, and many less "oh shit" moments. I expect to get back to beating up on MACakes and lesser B10 schools. I expect we won't be blown out of games before the second half, as has happened many times in these past two years. I expect a bowl appearance at the very least, even if its the Little Caesars 5 dollar hot n ready pizza with a order of chicken fries and a cold big gulp bowl.
JC: Michigan needs to get back to doing that it does best. Beating the likes of Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State, and consistently being able to compete against Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, and ultimately Ohio State. The offense needs to be able to grin and take time as well as score quickly. Defensively, the Wolverines need to stop the run. There is no getting around that. Limiting the big play will not only help the team's morale, but reduce the stress on the offense to score and win shootouts.
SCS100: I would expect Michigan to go at least .500 during the regular season, with a 7-6 or 8-5 record being the most likely depending on the bowl opponent. Many games this season are toss ups, and a few close wins/losses will ultimately define this season.
Seth9: Offense: The offense is an interesting situation this year. First of all, improvement on the line (assuming that Molk doesn’t disappear for the year again) and at QB seems virtually guaranteed, which makes the future look much brighter. With a supposedly much improved Denard and a stronger line, the offense should be much more versatile. We can also expect excellent play once again out of our slot receivers. On the other hand, I’m worried about production from our running backs and wideouts. We’re likely to see regression from the wideout position with Stonum replacing Matthews and Hemmingway’s injury history is worrisome. Meanwhile, while we have a relatively solid core of RBs, I don’t see Smith, Shaw, Cox, or anyone else on our roster that can replicate the production of a healthy Brandon Minor. That all said, the increased versatility of the offense and improvement from the QB position should lead to moderate improvement.
Defense: The defense is now going to start a redshirt freshman converted WSR at deep safety. Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren are gone. Even with fairly significant improvement from all returning players thanks to more than one year with a defensive coordinator, the pass defense is going to be bad.
Special Teams: We lost Zoltan Mesko. They are getting worse.
Overall Expectations: The presumed improvement from the QB position should lead to some mild improvement, although the pass defense could really sink us this year.
Dark Blue: I am an eternal optimist, so I’m going to go way out on that stupid limb and say 9 wins this year. The offense is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Look out Big Ten because its going to be ugly as fuck for you.
Shredder: My exceptions are always high. I think that's in anyone's nature when you are a die hard. But saying that I see the low being six wins and the high being eight wins. The end of the schedule is pretty brutal and saying we get through the first four with out any issues could be tough as well. Six wouldn't make me happy but for some odd reason seven would. Not sure what the one more game does for me. Eight would have running around with my pants off. I rather see a up and down year as appose to the 2009 up up down down down... oh god down year that is was.
I expect a very good Offense, not great but very good and hoping for a average defense. If the Defense is even worse than 09 then Rich Rod maybe out of time and luck. Lets hope some fresh new faces on the D can turn the team around.
2. Who do you anticipate having a breakout season, on both offense and defense?
Hulk: I'll give you 2 names on offense that I think will have outstanding years. Lewan and Shaw.
People seem to be really down on Shaw because he hasn't been able to put it together and have a breakout year. I think it's a little too soon to rule Shaw out of being a homerun back that this offense needs. Last year, Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor were both Seniors that brought more to the table than Shaw. There's no shame in being a backup to a good back like Minor. Many have stated that they think Shaw lacks the vision to be able to find the holes in this offense. The beautiful thing about this offense is once the QB decides who is taking the ball, it is a one cut and get up the field offense. There's not much dancing around and if Shaw hits a crease, there's not too many defenders that have the speed to keep Shaw out of the endzone.
Then there's Lewan. The last few years we have seen the rock bottom of OL play. On several plays, I swear we would have been better not trying to block at all. That should all come to stop this year. Lewan is good. And when I mean good, I mean he has the potential to be WOAH good. Just take one look at Lewan and tell me he's not primed to anchor that side of the line for 4 years. Excellent size, long arms, athletic build, quick feet. He has a nasty streak and should have no problem getting to the 2nd level. He has been praised for his quick feet and excellent technique. He should be able to slide step to maintain leverage and use his long arms to negate counter moves. He has a chance to go down in history as one of the greatest LT's to ever strap on a Winged helmet.
I guess you want my breakout player on defense as well. I believe that JT Floyd should be a pretty good player come this fall. Last year Floyd looked slow, flat footed and out of place most of the time. WOTS is JT put in a ton of time to prepare himself to lock up the CB spot opposite Woolfolk. CB is a amazing position when you take time to study it. While it helps to have the closing speed if you do get beat, it isn't something that is necessary. CB's that are very techniquely advanced when it comes to footwoork, hand position, and a general feel for the game have a good chance to diagnose what the WR is trying to do and position himself in the best place to defend it. It also helps that we will probably see alot of cover 3 and Floyd might get a chance to play bump this year, where he can use his physicality to dictate where the reliever releases to.
JC: Craig Roh will reach double-digit sacks as the team's only legitimate pass-rushing threat. On offense, Roy Rountree will catch 50+ passes and be named to one of the All-Big Ten teams.
SCS100: I anticipate breakout on offense, if nothing else for the fact that the offense will be a lot less turnover prone. I don’t anticipate seeing Denard or Tate making as many poor decisions when it comes to arm punts or fumbles via the way the ball has been held.
Seth9: Offense: Taylor Lewan may not be the second coming of Jake Long, but by all accounts he looks to be the frontrunner for the LT spot and a strong offensive lineman next year.
Defense: Will Campbell is my selection here, as he’ll be given every chance to start at nose tackle so that Mike Martin can shift out to defensive end and the most talent possible on the line. He also is definitely the most hyped guy on the defensive side of the ball not to have established himself yet.
Dark Blue: I’m thinking that Denard will have the breakout year on offense. We got a small taste of what he could do during the spring game, and I think he builds on that and ends the year as an All Big Ten performer. On Defense, I’m going to say Obi Ezeh has an All American caliber year. Its time for Obi to step it up and be the player we all think he’s capable of being.
Shredder: On offense it has to be one of the two. Either a QB or a RB. If one doesn't break out than I think the season will be a bust and Rich Rod will be out. I don't even care who at this point. Someone just needs to step up. It's no secret I like Michael Shaw and I think Mike Cox seems good if he can get his head straight. Those would be my two guess for RBs and for QBs.... Just flip a coin because I am as clueless as the rest of Michigan nation on who will emerge.
On Defense I see Roh to continue to get better and become a decent leader. Roh may have a "meh" year in the stats area but his leadership will help this team more than his play on the field. I expect a true blow up year his JR year. It couldn't hurt if Will Campbell or someone at safety stepped up as well.
3. Toughest opponent? Opponent that we can't overlook?
Hulk: Toughest opponent should be Ohio State. Once again, Ohio State adds alot of good players in this past recruiting class to a very talented, experienced team. It obviously all starts with Pryor. He can show up on one day and look like Vince Young reincarnate, and the next look like he should be playing pee wee football. Ohio State's season will depend on how consistent Pryor can be. Pryor, Herron, and Saine all return to a pretty potent rushing attack. Devier Posey and Dane Sansenbacher are good targets. Most of their offensive line is back, which should help protect Pryor. Then there is OSU's defense. The only big loss is Kurt Coleman. They return almost everyone from the number 1 overall defense in the B10 last year. If they can get past Miami (YTM) the schedule looks good for them until the final stretch where they play PSU, Iowa, and Michigan.
I also think Iowa deserves a mention here.
Teams we shouldn't overlook. Every single last stanking one of them. I don't think that it should be a problem because I believe we are significantly better than the teams below us and you can't overlook the teams that should be better than you.
I guess I'll throw out a caution sign for the UConn game even though I don't believe it will be that close. First game of the season, all the BS of the offseason, having a chance to redeem yourselves. Shouldn't be a problem but UConn is probably the biggest unknown when it comes to how good or bad they are.
JC: Ohio State will probably be the best team Michigan faces. They are extremely talented all over the field and will be well-coached. But don't overlook Wisconsin. They return 10 starters from the Big 10's best offense and will be strong on both sides of the ball.
SCS100: Toughest opponent is Ohio State. We win = Cleveland getting LeBron back. Opponent that should not be overlooked is UCONN. A fast start to this season is key, and thinking that UCONN is another Big East team that Rich Rod will flatten could prove fatal (think back to 2007 and complacency).
Seth9: Toughest Opponent: Ohio State. This needs no explanation.
Opponent not to overlook: Indiana. First of all, we are playing them on the road and they are going to be exceptionally motivated after narrowly losing to us last year. Secondly, they return eight starters on offense, including two talented receivers in Tandon Doss and Damion Belcher. Their defense looks to be poor this year, but between a reasonably strong passing attack and home-field advantage, they could win this game that looks to be a shootout.
Dark Blue: Toughest opponent with out any doubt is Ohio State, The Buckeyes are once again poised to make a Big Ten Championship run. I think that beating them is still probably a year away, but that is why they play the games, anything can happen. As far as opponents we can’t overlook, I would have to say Indiana. This was a team who stuck with us for 59 minutes last year, and they return their whole offense. This good easily be a trap game. Don’t overlook the Hoosiers.
Shredder: Toughest is a toss up between OSU and UW. I can see UW trucking us with their monster line and human bull dozer John Clay. I can also see OSU and the shoe over whelming a young QB in Tate or Denard. At least those two games are back to back.... ugh.
We can't over look Indiana. We haven't been good on the road for many reasons and the pistol is a different offense that did give us fits last year. The Hoosiers are more than capable of beating us if we show up and don't take them serious. Seems like this team would after last years scare.
4. What can MM do to help U of M rid the world of demons in 2010?
Hulk: We can only do what we have been doing since the start of the site. Provide a place for people to vent about almost anything, discuss almost anything (except Harry Potter or Boxxy) , and fraternize. We have a bunch of art and even make fun of Cindy Crosby alot. Baseball gets tempers flaring. We have people with football experience and knowledge, life experience help, and general wackiness. We are a bunch of Michigan fans that bleed Maize n' Blue through and through. We even have a resident Domer fan, even though we usually shun him.
MM is a special site. We are like a beacon in the never-ending night. MM tries to stay objective and fair, while being loyal to the university that we love.
JC: I don't know if any of us are 6"2, 220+ lbs or so and can play linebacker like Lamarr Woodley or Davis Harris, but that would sure help
SCS100: Not post Tater’s bullshit. In all seriousness, just post rational thoughts, and don’t go after sensationalist material. And if said material appears elsewhere and needs to be countered, do it thoughtfully.
Seth9: Engage in non-vegetarian practices or make MS Paints
Dark Blue: At MM we have a duty to keep the MGoIdiot in line. That is what we can do for U of M. Idiots beware.
Shredder: Hunt them with special gear, capture them and sell them to the highest bidder to help pay for a better CBOX.
5. What can we do to help save the Melmets? If you don't know what a melmet is refer to MM 171, towards the end of it.
Hulk: I think we can save the melmets by not having TLP drunk typing at LBs or DB not running around like a tard every time someone makes a dumb mistype.
Seth9: The Melmets are doomed. There is nothing to be done
Dark Blue: To help save the MELMET, we must convince Seth9 to post more, every time Seth posts something a MELMET gets its wings. To further save the endangered MELMETS Michigan must score more and win more because every time The Victors is played a MELMET is birthed.
Shredder: If we rid the world of helmets than teams will be forced to buy melmets... Which have been proven to be safer.
6. How many trips are you playing on making to Michigan Dtadium this year?
Hulk: Oh how I would love to make it to every home game. Alas, I now work 3rds and overtime is a given on this job. Its so complicated I actually have to plan which Saturdays I get off. Damn Commies making people work on weekends. I know I will make it to at least one and am hoping for 2. I'm looking at buying UConn tickets and will start looking for MSU tickets shortly ( /winkwink CMR)
JC: Hopefully a few games. I'll probably be at the Ohio State game at worse, but that will be in the cesspool that is Columbus Ohio.
SCS100: Student tickets pay off
Seth9: Eight—Seven football, one hockey game.
Dark Blue: Only 2 to MSU and Wisky.
Shredder: I dunno, thought about skipping a game this year and pooling my money for ND 2011 but... I always crush under the pressure and the Dtadium calls me from Grand Rapid and I show up. Maybe catch a crappy cheap game.
7. How many wins?
Hulk: I think we will go 7-5 this year. I think we should be good enough to win 8-9 games this year, but I just don't trust the defense or youth to not lose a game that we should win.
JC: 7 wins and a bowl victory.
SCS100: 7 Regular season victories, plus bowl game win.
Seth9: Seven—I’m predicting wins over Connecticut, UMass, Bowling Green, Indiana, MSU, Illinois, and Purdue. I give us a decent chance of beating Notre Dame, Iowa, and Penn State (thanks to their QB issues) too, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost some games we shouldn’t too.
Dark Blue: I’m going to be the most optimistic here and say 9 wins, whether that is 8 regular season wins and a bowl win, or 9 regular season wins and a bowl loss I have yet to decide.
Shredder: Seven. I will go right in the middle of my high and low. Anything lower will be a Episode III Darth Vader: NoOOOOOOOOooooooooooOOOoooooo moment and anything higher will be a Ewok episode VI party moment full of Storm troopers melmets being used as musical drums.
8. Finally Is Rich Rodriguez finished?
Hulk: I just checked facebook and indeed, RR just finished his PBJ sandwhich with the crust cutoff. I'll check back later and let you know if he finishes anything else.
JC: Hell no.
SCS100: No. Anything higher than 7-6 and he stays
Seth9: Since I’m betting on seven wins, no. A bowl bid and winning season should be enough to keep his job.
Dark Blue: As long as he wins 7 games he’ll be back in 2011.
Shredder: My crystal ball says... No. A good solid seven wins with a nice bowl showing saves him. But is that just the die hard in me wanting that to happen? It's hard to tell the two apart these days.