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Big Questions on Offense Looming for Wolverine Football in Spring


Wolverine Football in Spring
© Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan's off-season has not been a typical one, for a team coming off a national championship. Michigan fans watched long-time head coach Jim Harbaugh leave for the NFL and he took many of his defensive coaches with him. Sherrone Moore became the new head coach at Michigan, after the hiring of his staff, and after making it through the transfer window Moore can now focus on getting ready for Wolverine football in spring.

 


Michigan spring practice is set to kick off March 18 and end April 20 in the Big House at the annual spring game. Michigan did not only lose their head coach, but they had several starters leave for the NFL, setting a record with 18 players being invited to the NFL combine. Most of the productivity that departed came on the offensive side of the ball, leaving Moore with 3 big questions that will need to be answered during spring practice.



 

Quarterback

 

New offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell, who is also the quarterbacks coach, will need to figure out who will be replacing JJ McCarthy under center. The most important position on the field comes with the most question marks for the Wolverines heading into the 2024 season.   

 

Michigan's most experienced returning quarterback is Jack Tuttle who is entering his 7th season in college football. In those 7 years, Tuttle has attempted 199 total passes and completed 119 of them, in comparison JJ last season attempted 322 passes and completed 240 of them.  

 

Michigan will now have a quarterback battle that will play out during spring ball and will continue almost right up to the start of the season. It looks to be a four-house race as spring practice approaches, between Sophomore Jayden Denegal, Sophomore Alex Orji, True Freshman Jadyn Davis, and Senior Jack Tuttle.  

 


Many believe the race will come down to Jayden Denegal & Alex Orji to see who will finish first and win the starting job. Experience is not an advantage when it comes to Denegal or Orji, last year the two combined for a total of 5 passing attempts and 1 TD. The five pass attempts were solely by Denegal, who attempted 5 passes, completed 4 of them, and had 1 touchdown, Orji did not attempt a pass all year. Alex Orji, when he was brought in was for designed running plays, he carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards in 2023.  

 

If Moore and Campbell do not see what they were hoping for in spring practice, at the quarterback position their only option will be to try and find one in the spring transfer window. 

 


 

Wide Receiver


Who will step up in 2024 with both Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson heading to the NFL draft, leaving the top 2 spots wide open? Last year Wilson and Johnson combined for a total of 13 touchdowns whereas the rest of the wide receivers combined for 5 touchdowns. Ron Bellamy coached wide receivers in 2023 and will coach the same position group under Moore, keeping continuity inside the wide receiver room.    

 


Two players from last season's team that many believe are set and ready to take the top spots are sophomore Semaj Morgan and Junior Tyler Morris. Both Morgan and Morris made big plays for the Wolverines in 2023, Morgan's biggest came on special teams with an 84-yard punt return in the Big 10 championship where he took the ball inside the 5-yard line. Morris made his ability known when he pulled in a JJ McCarthy pass in the semi-finals of the CFP, took it 38 yards to the endzone, and put Michigan up 13-7.  


Michigan will be breaking in not only a new quarterback but also five new starting offensive linemen, will offensive coordinator Kirk Campbell be able to get the ball into these two playmakers’ hands?


 

Offensive Line 

Michigan's new offensive line coach Grant Newsome is faced with the considerable task of replacing over 4000 snaps along the o-line from the 2023 season. To not expect a drop-off from a line that won the Joe Moore award 2 of the past 3 years is just not realistic. Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore was the offensive line coach in 2023 so he will be able to help newly promoted Offensive line coach Grant Newsome, who coached the tight ends last season at Michigan.  

 

Michigan will need to replace all 5 starters from their offensive line in 2023, the challenge for Newsome, is how do you replace players like Zak Zinter, Trevor Keegon, and Drake Nugent just to name a few. It’s a tall task but luckily for Newsome, he inherited players who not only saw playing time last season but also have starting snaps because of injuries on the line last season.

 

The two names that come into spring as the favorites to-be starters are Myles Hinton and Josh Priebe. Hinton transferred to Michigan before the 2023 season from Stanford and Josh Priebe transferred this offseason from Northwestern. At 6-6 340 pounds Hinton should start at right tackle while Priebe should start next to him at Right Guard.  



Wolverine Football in Spring
© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

 

The battle for center, left tackle, and left guard could be just like the quarterback competition, meaning it could take up to August 31 to finally know who wins. Three names’ fans should keep their eyes on to take those spots are Greg Crippen, Andrew Gentry, and Giovanni El-Hadi.

 


 

Recap - Wolverine Football in Spring

The first chapter of the Moore era at Michigan will begin to be written right here in spring practice. March 18 will be the official end of the offseason and the start of the 2024 season for new head coach Sherrone Moore. Michigan is coming off a national championship and 3 Big 10 titles in a row under Jim Harbaugh and the expectation is for Moore to keep the winning going heading into the 2024 season.  

 

Moore's first step will be to answer the biggest questions at spring ball with the players that are already on his roster. If Moore can not find those answers he will need to look at the spring portal for reinforcements so he can. Moore will be under immense pressure to find the right answers because, unlike Harbaugh, Moore will not be given 7 years to try and get it right.

 



 

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