Can any of this work? Sure. Anything can work with the right players. But coming off last year's experience, no one is assuming it will. Moreover, it doesn't seem that Robinson has the classic nose guard for the 3-4 defense. It also seems unlikely he can find a player with deathbacking skills--a guy who can play both defensive end and linebacker is rare. As one smart poster on MGoBlog said, "After having very low expectations for 2008, I now officially have NO expectations for the 2009 season. HOPE is a four letter word."
I do not share the pessimism this time around, though I concede Michigan may have to score a lot of points to win games. If Forcier stays healthy, U-M will make it to a bowl game this year. Since there should be five "easy" wins on the schedule (Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Delaware State, Indiana, and Purdue), this is no great achievement. Still, anything beyond 7-5 should be cause for celebration this year. Anything worse than 6-6 should be cause for concern.
The game is on in 2010, when expectations return to normal in Ann Arbor.
[Originally published in September, 2009.]