Football

Redshirt junior kicker Quinn Nordin is in a competition for the starting job for the first time ever, after getting benched for Jake Moody last season.

But if there’s one player who hasn’t really faced a true positional battle in his time at Michigan, it’s redshirt junior kicker Quinn Nordin. For a season and a half, the job was his and it wasn’t really a question.

Now, though? He’s locked in a bona fide battle with sophomore Jake Moody, a battle Harbaugh called “neck and neck” on April 3.

Junior safety J'Marick Woods is known for being a hard hitter but has refined his technical ability since his freshman season and will likely replace Tyree Kinnel.

Metellus is back and will undoubtedly be a leader for the defense, as Partridge said multiple times on Thursday. But Kinnel has graduated, and that’s a void Woods will be expected to fill.

Senior tight end Sean McKeon has impressed during Michigan's spring practice.

Of course, all of this is just talk shrouded in the reputation that is Michigan’s signature offseason optimism, and the extent to which the public has seen Shea Patterson without Gentry came in a handful of 7-on-7 drills on Saturday.

But with five months until kickoff, it sure beats the alternative.

Michigan tight end coach Sherrone Moore has to adjust to a new offensive coordinator — but he has once before.

Two years later, the hiring of Josh Gattis as Michigan’s offensive coordinator has put Moore in a similar position. Talk of Gattis’ “speed in space” mantra has enveloped much of the spring oxygen, implicitly and explicitly promising more. Faster tempo. More big plays. More opportunities for skill guys. Production against the best. Maybe, oh maybe, some big wins.

So, how does the tight end — a hallmark position in Michigan’s offenses under Harbaugh — fit into that equation?

Freshman wide receiver Mike Sainristil has impressed at wide receiver during spring ball.

For now, with juniors Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins out, Sainristil is taking starting reps as the H receiver, in the slot. For someone who juggled multiple positions in high school, his game already has an unusual refinement. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis tweeted a video last week of the early enrollee running an out route and doing so with the technical ability required of a college wide receiver.

Senior running back Tru Wilson is excited for Josh Gattis' new offense.

In his meetings with the offense, Josh Gattis preaches a simple strategy: Just play football.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh gave updates on the Wolverines' depth chart and various injuries during his press conference on Wednesday morning.

By the end, Harbaugh had been talking for 10 minutes straight, touching on seven different positional groups and giving a verbal depth chart for each of them.

Lavert Hill led Michigan's elite defensive-back corps in 2018, and the Wolverines project to have another strong unit in 2019.

The secondary enters 2019 facing a lot of question marks, and not just because of how the season ended.

The early departure of Devin Bush to the NFL means that Michigan will have big shoes to fill at linebacker.

However, when Bush got injured and sat out the Peach Bowl, his absence proved that he was the true anchor of Michigan’s linebacking corps, leaving the Wolverines with a hole they struggled to fill. How others step up to fill that hole could determine how high Michigan’s ceiling is in 2019.

The Michigan football team's offensive line demonstrated significant improvement between the 2017 season and the 2018 season.

Though Michigan loses Bushell-Beatty to graduation, Runyan, Bredeson and sophomore center Cesar Ruiz — an All-Big Ten Third Team honoree — will be back to anchor the unit in 2019. Warinner returns as well, hoping to bring consistency back to a program once known for its bruising offensive linemen.