There was already chatter before the bowl game loss that there will be some changes for the Michigan football team. There are rumors of one of the coordinators changing, but that is all hearsay right now. What is clear is that something about the program must be adjusted. Maybe firings and demotions aren’t necessary, but 7-5 is not an acceptable season for Michigan football, and coach Lloyd Carr knows that. Here’s a look at some of the changes for the players:
-Wide receivers Mario Manningham and Antonio Bass will have to live up to their hype because Jason Avant graduates. Both showed flashes of brilliance, especially Manningham, but the lack of a go-to receiver hurt Michigan this season. Look for one of these guys to be that player.
-The offensive line was never really healthy this year, and it graduates three of its starters graduate (left tackle Adam Stenavich, and guards Matt Lentz and Leo Henige). After the Nebraska loss, Carr acknowledged that the Wolverines could not run the ball as effectively as they needed to, especially in late-game situations when they were trying to hold a lead. Young players will need to step up into starting roles, and it’s very possible that Jake Long will move to left tackle.
-Defensive line should be a strength for Michigan next year, provided that LaMarr Woodley sticks around. Gabe Watson needs to be replaced, but Alan Branch looks more than able to fill the hole. The Michigan line will need more performances like at the Alamo Bowl, where it produced eight sacks.
-Quarterback Chad Henne will be back and needs to show the leadership and fire that he had in the Wolverines’ final two games.