By Tyler Fenwick @Ty_Fenwick on March 11, 2014
Michigan is on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big 10, but that doesn't mean the Wolverines are out of contention. As the third best team in the East Division, there are a few things that would to fortunately fall into place. Do not dismiss this team, though. With returning talents like Devin Gardner and a new offensive coordinator in Doug Nussmeier, a Big 10 title is possible. Here are five reasons this team could pull it off.
Michigan's offensive line in 2013 was atrocious, and that might be putting it lightly. However, there will be a load of experience on that line this season. Graham Glasgow started all 13 games a season ago, and Kyle Kalis started nine. Kyle Bosch, Chris Bryant and Erik Magnuson all received beneficial tastes of live college ball, too.
It's tough to say how much improvement will come, but I'm expecting something fairly significant.
Michigan didn't have a statistically awful year on defense in 2013, but there were some very obvious flaws, especially in the young secondary.
Juniors Blake Countess and Ramon Taylor will return to a secondary that will feature a better Dymonte Thomas and incoming freshman standout Jabrill Peppers.
Dare I say this unit may be a strength on the Michigan defense?
I believe the firing of former Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges saved Brady Hoke's job. The offense was laughable at times under Borges, and it was clearly time to relieve him of his duties. Doug Nussmeier is a young coordinator who steps in with a proven track record and very specific goals for this Wolverine offense. He has to be excited about the talent he'll be able to sculpt.
Michigan's situation at running back last season was almost dreadful, but 2014 will give sophomore Derrick Green the chance to come out from Day 1 and give the Wolverines what they severely lacked a year ago, a consistent ground attack. He's going to have a monster year if the offensive line can give him some holes to work with.
This is where Michigan can really get itself going in a conference race. That unteachable instinct to just go out and make a play is found in abbundance in Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess. Their roles are both going to be vital this season.
These two Wolverines are going to be very excited to watch, and they'll have a heavy hand in their team's success.
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