As Michigan football coach Brady Hoke prepares for his second Spring Game at the helm, there are more answers than questions for the first time in quite a while for the Wolverines.

The team bounced back in a big way last season from after a three-year stretch of mediocrity under former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, collecting 11 wins and its first BCS bowl victory since the 1999 season.

Of course, Michigan has to replace several key players — chief among them, defensive tackle Mike Martin, defensive end Ryan Van Bergen and center David Molk — but unlike years past, there’s no air of uncertainty about the program.

In the run-up to spring games during Rodriguez’s tenure, there were constant questions about the defense, player attrition and, simply, the team’s ability. Even in the twilight of former head man Lloyd Carr’s time as coach, the issue of when he would be stepping down and how the Wolverines would move forward hung over the team during the spring.

Finally, the program seems to be on stable footing, and nowhere is that more evident than at the quarterback position. In Denard Robinson, Michigan has its first three-year, senior starter at quarterback since Chad Henne. And for the first time in Robinson’s career, he’ll be operating the same offense as the starter for a second year in a row.

Robinson proved last season that he could play in an adapted pro-style system, but he was inconsistent in the passing game and committed too many turnovers. In Saturday’s Spring Game, Hoke will be looking for Robinson to continue to build on the efficient play he displayed in late-season wins over Nebraska and Ohio State.

“You know, I think he’s done a good job with ball security (this spring), which he’s been pretty good (at),” Hoke said. “I think in his decisiveness and throws, I think he’s made some pretty good throws. I can’t say I’ve seen him make a bad throw, but maybe (it’s happened) once or twice where you’re going, ‘What the heck was he looking at?’ as a coach, but I think he’s done a good job.”

But if there is one weak spot for Michigan, it’s depth. The team still isn’t deep enough for Hoke’s liking, particularly along the offensive and defensive lines.

That means the Wolverines won’t be able to run a true game on Saturday. Instead, it will be more of a scrimmage, though score will be kept and there will be plenty of ones-against-ones and twos-against-twos.

The team will also run through different in-game situations, so the affair could resemble a glorified practice at times. All told, Hoke expects to run about 60 plays.

“There’ll be a blue team and a white team,” Hoke said. “I want to move the ball all over. It’s not going to be a true drive (situation). We’ll do some punt before it. We’ll work that part of the game in the stadium. We’ll do some PAT stuff. The kids have been over there doing some of that, but just to do it in the stadium (will be good).”

The Spring Game is just one event of what Hoke has termed Victors’ Weekend. The program will be welcoming back about 350 former players, beginning with a gathering on Friday night.

Before the scrimmage on Saturday, about 100 of those players will be participating in the annual alumni flag-football game. Later, the program will hold what it has termed Victors’ Night, where former coach Gary Moeller will be honored.

If it were up to Hoke, though, the weekend might look a little different. Some college coaches have floated the idea of scrimmaging other teams in the spring instead of just playing against themselves, believing it would be more beneficial for those involved.

Hoke said he’d prefer an NFL model. During training camp every summer, NFL teams are permitted to bring in an opponent for multiple days, during which they practice and scrimmage with each other.

“I think it would be a great idea, to be honest with you,” Hoke said. “I don’t know (if it’s feasible) from a budget standpoint and all those things, if you’re traveling and doing those kinds of things, (or) who you would do it with. (But) I like that model.”

In lieu of intersquad competition, the Wolverines will have to make due with their own roster. With the offseason ahead, Saturday marks the last real chance for Hoke and his staff to assess that roster before fall camp comes around.

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