College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Michigan season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Keys To The Season
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Michigan Schedule Analysis
– Michigan Wolverines Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Michigan Wolverines College Football Preview 2021: Offense
– The O just couldn’t find a groove. It’s been one of the strangest aspects to the Jim Harbaugh era that the guy who came into the gig as a brilliant quarterback coach hasn’t been able to get dominant play out of his passing game – more on that in the Keys To The Season – and last year everything sputtered and coughed.
The passing attack wasn’t awful – it averaged 250 yards per game – but it wasn’t consistent, the O as a whole averaged just 382 yards and 28 points per game, and there wasn’t enough consistent production. It couldn’t move the chains, couldn’t control the clock, and it at times the whole thing just stopped.
– The offensive line was a plus. Michigan led the Big Ten with the fewest tackles for loss allowed per game, and the pass protection was more than good enough.
In some configuration, four starters are expected back. There weren’t any top all-stars in the bunch – OT Andrew Stueber received an honorable mention All-Big Ten nod – but that’s going to change this time around. There’s enough depth and versatility to play around with the starting five.
Zach Charbonnet left for UCLA, but 220-pound senior Hassan Haskins was the best back of the bunch averaging over six yards per carry with six touchdowns. The ground game should have a strong rotation with Blake Corum a talented enough back to get the ball more in a variety of ways.
And then there’s …
– The quarterback situation. Harbaugh has yet to get this quite right, but once again there are a slew of talented options ready to give it a go.
Joe Milton is a Tennessee Volunteer now, and Dylan McCaffrey is long gone to Northern Colorado. That leaves Cade McNamara as the main man after hitting 61% of his passes for 425 yards and five touchdowns.
However, because it’s Michigan and it’s always complicated, in comes Alan Bowman from Texas Tech. He’s the triggerman who can make the passing game go … when he’s healthy. Staying in one piece was his issue in Lubbock, but if the guy who hit 67% of his throws over three seasons for well over 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns lights it up in fall camp, this will get fun.
The receivers are fine. They’re experienced – three of the top four wideouts return, only losing 15-catch Giles Jackson to the transfer portal – and they were able to make big things happen when the quarterbacks could actually get them the ball. Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson each averaged over 15 yards per grab.