There are many places where this knowledge will come in helpful. Such venues could be, the office watercooler, the local sports bar, neighbor's backyard bbq, a friend's basement, or the pregame tailgate.
In this edition, we'll look at two vital roles in the offense...the receivers and the offensive line.
Offense Part 1 lives here.
Incoming 2009 freshman not yet enrolled are in italics.
83 Jon Conover, Jr.
3 Justin Feagin, So.
Cameron Gordon, Fr.
Thomas Gordon, Fr.
21 Junior Hemingway, So.
84 Elias Kos, Fr.
13 Greg Mathews, Sr.
9 Martavious Odoms, So.
37 Ricky Reves, Jr.
7 Terrance Robinson, Fr.
18 James Rogers, Jr.
12 Roy Roundtree, Fr.
82 LaTerryal Savoy, Sr.
20 Michael Shaw, So.
Je-Ron Stokes, Fr.
22 Darryl Stonum, So.
49 Benjamin Sutton, Jr.
We have a ton of receivers. As we should. When you regularly need to line up 4 or 5 receivers with each formation, having at least a dozen, or more, on the roster is absolutely necessary.
There are a few names that most Michigan fans will recognize coming back. Greg Mathews is maybe the last standout receiver left from the Carr administration. He will most certainly be counted on this year at the wideout position. He's tall, has good speed and has the most game experience of any receiver we have. Among some of the younger ranks, guys like Darryl Stonum, Martavious Odoms, Terrance Robinson and Roy Roundtree are the standouts that will be counted on to "catch the baton" so to speak.
Last year was a very odd year, receiver-wise, for the Wolverines. We had sub-par QB play, coupled with WRs learning how to play in a totally foreign offense than what they were used to...led to less than ideal output for what we're usually accustomed to (Arrington, Breaston, Manningham, etc).
We're always going to need tall receivers who can outrun a corner or safety...but in today's modern spread-option, smaller more agile slot-type receivers are where the rubber meets the road. Guys like Martavious Odoms, Justin Feagin, Michael Shaw, Terrance Robsinson, Roy Roundtree...those are the typical slot-type WRs that this system needs in order to thrive. Taller, more traditional WRs still need to pull their weight in order to keep defenses guessing. Darryl Stonum, Greg Matthews, LaTerryal Savoy, James Rogers, Junior Hemmingway, Jon Conover...these guys are just as vital as their slot counterparts to making this offense tick.
But no position is more important than the...
56 Ricky Barnum, Fr.
61 Zac Cuillo, So.
79 Perry Dorrestein, Jr.
74 John Ferrara, Jr.
72 Mark Huyge, So.
63 Rocko Khoury, Fr.
62 Tim McAvoy, Sr.
57 Elliot Mealer, Fr.
50 David Molk, So.
60 David Moosman, Sr.
70 Bryant Nowicki, Jr.
65 Patrick Omameh, Fr.
71 Mark Ortmann, Sr.
91 Tom Pomarico, So.
52 Stephen Schilling, Jr.
Michael Schofield, Fr.
Quinton Washington, Fr.
64 Kurt Wermers, Fr.
The 2009 edition of the Michigan offensive line is oddly much better than most skeptics will say. First of all, every guy from 2008 is back. They are bigger, stronger, faster and better. And not to mention, smarter and more experienced. And also not to mention some younger guys will likely see their way into the starting rotation throughout the season.
A lot of times when a team struggles, it has to do with lack of production from the OL...and that might have been the case last year...at least a little bit. But it was never the lack of blocking or protection that really hurt Michigan in 2008.
The spring game was our first real look into who's going to probably be the starting 5 up front.
Of course so much can and will change between the spring game and September 5th, but this seems like the package that Michigan is going with right now.
It's interesting to note the changes from 08 to 09 in terms of playing weights. Ortmann went from 294 to 284. Schilling went from 295 to 304. McAvoy from 288 to 297. Not huge numbers of course, but noteworthy. Most of the other guys stayed pretty much the same. And, these are roster weights...not always the most trustworthy or honest.
The OL is a position where there is usually quite a bit of shake-up early in the season. Any one of those 10 guys probably can play any of those positions...and some already have. I think we had something like 3 guys playing center last year.
Injuries can and will happen. If we just get to Sept. 5th injury free, we'll already be doing much better than we did last year.
Perry Dorrestein, Tim McAvoy and John Ferrara will likely see quite a bit of playing time again this year. One thing that was nice about 2008 being so awful, was that a lot of these guys got great experience. Stephen Schilling was injured last year, actually...so were most of the other starters...so experience is a huge benefit for this group.
Also making their way into the conversation will be freshmen Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury. Red-shirt sophomore Dan O'neill decided a few weeks ago he was no longer interested in playing competitive football, and left the team. Not such a big blow. The highly touted recruit from 08 really never panned out to be the kind of lineman the coaches had hoped he would be. He was still quite young, but his prospects for playing time were nil at best with so many good guys ahead of him.
No doubt that 2009 will be that much better due to the further development of the offense and how well the skill players can adapt to the 2nd year of the spread. But one thing that did not change with the new scheme was the importance of consistent OL production. For the first time since I can remember, Michigan brings back it's entire offensive line, intact. Couple that with the experience that the backups gained last season, and Michigan is looking very good up front.