Brian Gillis told us on monday that Michigan will lose 16 starters on offense this year. No more Jake Butt, Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh, and De’Veon Smith. And the entire offensive line is gone. It looks like Wilton Speight will be the QB with Chris Evans as the featured back and Eddie McDoom as a wide receiver.
How do you think Michigan’s offense will fare in 2017?
LPW: I’d like to see if Harbaugh starts playing exclusively the players he recruited at this point in tenure besides the aformentioned Speight. I think they’ll be just fine on offense. Also, I think McDoom is a cool last name.
GF: There is just no easy replacement for the playmakers that graduated. How many times did Darboh and Chesson and Butt make clutch catches last year? The answer is all the time. I can imagine the offense taking a step back, although the QB position will be improved with Speight’s experience and the solid depth behind him.
One (obvious) note: Michigan started 2016 against a relatively easy schedule that allowed a greasing of the gears before the PSU game. Florida, right off the bat, followed by Cinci and Air Force, will not allow for any “warm-up” time. They need to be ready asap. Bam. First quarter of the first game. Let’s go.
WSR: I think they’ll take a noticeable step back without Heisman Trophy contender Jabrill Peppers. There’s just no way to replicate his contributions.
Stew: How’s the OL going to be? Yeah, they lose big playmakers on the outside, and that’ll hurt. But, to me, the OL is generally the key to a successful B1G team, non-OSU division. Taking a quick peak at Phil Steele’s Returning OL Starts, it seems that Michigan is in the middle of the conference pack, and below average, nationally. Considering the talent that’s been recruited, I’ll give them a bit of a bump. It seems like the best offensive units are the OL and RB, and think that’ll suit Harbaugh just fine. They may not light up the scoreboard, busting out big plays, but I expect them to be pretty damn efficient, at eating up yards, time, and scoring on most drives.