College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Michigan Wolverines season with what you need to know.
5. College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan Wolverines Offense 3 Things To Know
– The offense wasn’t bad over the first half of the season, but it stalled a bit too often. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and Jim Harbaugh, though, were able to flip things a bit, and it seemed to come at halftime in the loss to Penn State.
All of a sudden, the running game got nastier when it was time to pound, Shea Patterson and the passing attack was far more effective, and the team went on a run before dropping the dates to Ohio State and Alabama.
Overall, the O was okay – averaging just over 400 yards and 32 points per game – but it needs to be more consistent, and it starts with getting more out of the quarterback.
CFN in 60 Video: Michigan Wolverines Preview
– It’s not that Patterson was bad, but he wasn’t accurate enough game-in-and-game-out. On the plus side, the Wolverines were second in the Big Ten in downfield passing – averaging 14.3 yards per completion – and now with Dylan McCaffrey leaving and out of the mix, it’s up to either Joe Milton or Cade McNamara to take over and do more.
Milton is a mobile 6-5, 245-pound sophomore with a huge arm, but he’s missing the experience – he’ll have to hit the ground running.
The receivers are there to keep the big plays going, but losing Donovan Peoples-Jones to the NFL, and Tarik Black to Texas doesn’t help. Ronnie Bell led the team with 48 catches, and senior Nico Collins led the was with seven touchdown grabs averaging close to 20 yards per catch. Considering Collins opted out, there’s a problem with developed depth not quite there.
The hope is for star recruit AJ Henning to be ready to go right away, and sophomore Cornelius Johnson will play a bigger role – with big being the key word. Johnson is 6-3 and Black is 6-3 – this is a large group of targets.
– The offensive line might need a little bit of time after losing four starters who were drafted, but it’ll be good again. Sophomore Jalen Mayfield is a veteran at one tackle, and then it all fills in from there.
Talents like 6-7, 334-pound Andrew Stueber on the inside and 6-7, 299-pound Ryan Hayes at tackle are good – Stueber is back after being out last season – but they just need time. Making things easier is a deep group of backs that should rock in a rotation.
Zach Charbonnet is coming off a fantastic freshman season with 726 yards and 11 touchdowns, and 6-1, 220-pound Hassan Haskins is back after finishing second with 622 yards and four touchdowns.
Those two are good enough, but throw in Chris Evans – who ran 1,722 yards and 14 scores over three years, but was suspended last year – and this might be the best stable of backs in the Harbaugh era.