Brady Hoke, Year Two
By now such plays seem commonplace. We take for granted that every Denard possession holds the potential for some jaw-dropping or inspiring moment. But, as fans, we are gifted a bonus. We get a perpetual smile. We find a man who is more interested in the success of his teammates than individual accolades. We receive a presence in the community, a person celebrating with classmates at basketball or hockey, just like any other student. A person who was amazed that President Obama knew who he was.
Coach Hoke also returns three terrific offensive linemen--Taylor Lewan, Pat Omameh, Michael Schofield--with potentially good replacements in the wings for center Dave Molk and tackle Mark Huyge. Michigan will try (mostly offensive guard) Ricky Barnum at center, but last year, the offense stalled without a healthy Molk. This year, Molk's a San Diego Charger.
Running backs are intact, and the offense returns experience and talent at wide receiver in Gallon, Drew Dileo, and Roundtree. Jeremy Jackson or Jerald Robinson could break through.
On defense, the back seven all started last year. Mini-icon Jordan Kovacs returns with talented guys competing at free safety. Super frosh Joe Bolden will push (the very good) Kenny Demens at middle linebacker, and the outside players, including budding star Jake Ryan, are back. This should be the strongest back seven in many years, anchored by very solid corners, J.T. Floyd and Blake Countess. Younger, talented guys are pushing for playing time.