Previewing the 2013 Michigan Wolverines

By Jeff Beck on August 16, 2013 at 2:00p
Ah, good times.Eleven Warriors 2013 Ohio State Football Preview

As luck would have it, I’m the 11W writer tasked with the unsavory role of previewing the 2013 Maize Sun and Blue. Despite their terrible uniforms and even more ridiculous traditions, TTUN is looking to make some noise in 2013. Apparently up in Ann Arbor, an 8-5 season is reason for optimism. So let’s take a look at the 2013 Wolverines.


Gone is three time September Heisman winner Denard Robinson. Without him, the team will be lead by WR QB Devin Gardner, who burst onto the scene for an injured Robinson in the 9th game of the season against Minnesota. In that game, Gardner tallied 234 yards passing and 2 TDs with another touchdown on the ground. 

Over the next two games against Northwestern and Iowa, Gardner averaged 300 yards passing, tallying 5 total TDs with another 5 on the ground. Then came the Ohio State game where Gardner’s production saw a sharp downturn, throwing for just 171 yards and 1 TD while rushing for -28 yards and another score.

Despite the poor showing against the Scarlet and Gray, Gardner would go on to throw for 224 yards and 2 TDs against the South Carolina Gamecocks. While the Wolverines ended up losing, it's clear Gardner’s throwing game is an upgrade from the three years of Robinson arm-punts.

Unfortunately for Gardner, it'll be tough finding anyone willing to be on the receiving end of a pass. There is a significant lack of depth at the WR position, only made more dire with the move of Gardner to quarterback and the graduation of Roy Roundtree. Senior Jeremy Gallon returns (49 receptions, 829 yards and 4 TDs) as well as senior Drew Dileo (20 receptions, 331 yards and 2 TDs).

After that, it’s pretty tough sledding. All signs point to sophomore Amara Darboh (who mostly played special teams last season) grabbing the third WR spot, but the speedy redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson will push him for playing time. This group could be helped out by their TE group which returns sophomore Devin Funchess (15 receptions, 234 yards and 5 TDs) and welcomes freshmen Jake Butt and Khalid Hill. Help is on the way, but it's not there yet.

Toting the rock will be senior Fitzgerald Toussaint. While Toussaint had an impressive sophomore season, (rushing for 1,041 yards) a one-game suspension in 2012 coupled with a broken leg against Iowa limited what the RB could do. Many in TSUN have got to be asking if Toussaint is back to 2011 form. If he isn’t the Wolverines have a number of alternatives including true freshman Derrick Green (one of the top prospects in the 2013 class), Thomas Rawls (a power runner who scored four touchdowns last season), true freshman DeVeon Smith and fleet-footed sophomore Justice Hayes. A lot of question marks at this position.

Whoever is the starting RB will operate behind an offensive line that returns two starters in senior All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan and senior Michael Schofield. Expected to fill the remaining slots are sophomore center Jack Miller, right guard Kyle Kalis and redshirt freshman left guard, Ben Braden.


Defensively, the Wolverines will have to deal with the loss of LB Jake Ryan who went down with an ACL injury this Spring. Ryan led the team in total tackles (88), tackles for loss (16) and sacks (4.5). Up-front, Michigan returns junior DE Frank Clark, senior tackle Quinton Washington, sophomore tackle Ondre Pipkins and senior DT Jibreel Black. The Wolverines will lean on freshmen DEs Taco Charlton, Chris Wormley and redshirt sophomore Keith Heitzman to replace Craig Roh.

BLING!Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but these are what men treasure.

At LB, the loss of Kenny Demens and Ryan due to injury makes a strength of the 2012 Wolverine D a little less intimidating. Desmond Morgan will replace Demens at middle linebacker and James Ross will likely slide over to replace Morgan’s weakside LB spot. With that said it’s anyone’s guess who will fill Ryan’s shoes. At the moment it appears the job will go to either senior, Cam Gordon or junior Brennan Beyer.

Finally in the secondary TTUN will have to replace three-time honorable mention All B1G players J.T. Floyd and Jordan Kovacs. Junior CB Raymon Taylor (45 tackles 2 INTs) returns as well as senior safety Thomas Gordon who tied tallied 81 tackles in 2012, good enough for third on the team. The other corner position looks to be junior Blake Countess’ and sophomore Jarrod Wilson will slide in to replace Grodon at the strong safety position.

All-in-all this team has a lot of questions to answer heading into 2013. Will Gardner hold up as a QB for a full season? Who will get the majority of carries at RB? Can someone step in to replace Jake Ryan’s production? And will the loss of some good players in the secondary ultimately become a problem for TTUN’s defense? Luckily for the Wolverines, strong recruiting classes in 2012 and 2013 should help to infuse the program with talent right away.

Woof. Wow I’m glad that’s over. Play us off, keyboard upset cat...

See you guys on 11/30.


Comments Show All Comments

Buckeyejason's picture

Gone is three time September Heisman winner Denard Robinson.

Got a good chuckle out of this.


TatumRuled's picture

I still get a chuckle out of that ForcierForHeisman website a few years back..

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

Sgt. Elias's picture


"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

awlinBrutus's picture

lets see how well they do without Lil Denard breakin 80 yarders.  I see them limping into the  "GAME" 8-4.. Coach Meyer and our bucks roll the BIG. There is only 1 coach that can compete with Meyer in the BIG and thanks to Joe Pa we don't have to worry about him for another 3 years at least, by then he will be in the NFL.


Jdadams01's picture

That look of sheer terror will never stop being funny.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Yep. I still laugh when I see his eyeballs enlarge a split second before his mouth gapes open.  This is comedy at its highest levels.

I like cookies.

M Man's picture

Was Will Hagerup the best punter in the B1G last year?  I think so.
Anyway, you don't have to worry about him for the present.  He's suspended for the season due to a violation of team rules, quite possibly recreational cannabis-related.

LeftCoastBuck's picture

You are probably going to have to throw up a few times to get the taste of "Pure M*ch*gan) out of your mouth.
With that said, I really think that Hoke's strength has been recruiting. Unfortunately, his greatest weakness is not just "a hankerin' for donuts" but his lack of skill as a top football coach. The guy has never won a championship anywhere, and in any league as a Head Coach.
As I look at scUM today, I just dont see the personnel on the coaching staff (strength & fitness, position coaches, idiots like Borges) and the total focus on competition that I see at Ohio State. I think Hoke will do OK against the lesser members of the B1G...but will be UFM's bitch for a very long time.

"Have a Coke and a smile!.....along with $150 in UM football tickets"

UrbanDreamz's picture

So you are basically saying Hoke is the TTUN's version of Cooper + "a hankerin' for donuts"?

"Twelve months ago on Jan. 9, my mom's birthday, I made the decision to come back. I had one goal in mind and that was to win a national championship."  ~Mike Doss

LeftCoastBuck's picture

Interesting point. Coop never got the rivalry, but might have been able to do something about it if he did. Hoke does get it, but isn't good enough to do anything about it.

"Have a Coke and a smile!.....along with $150 in UM football tickets"

GoBucksOSU's picture

Credit to Greg Mattison though. He is a great DC. Anyone who can turn around the awful defense of the Rich Rod years in a year would be a great DC anywhere.

LeftCoastBuck's picture

Mattison saved Hoke's ass. He is a great coach

"Have a Coke and a smile!.....along with $150 in UM football tickets"

BED's picture

I still wish that Appy State LB had scored the TD there.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

TBDBITLinWIScantSON's picture

Does anybody know what time it is?



It's 3:05 pm and TTUN still sucks!

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Smanpoint10's picture

it was actually 3:06

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

It's some time around 3pm in Ann Arbor and OSU just beat TTUN to go undefeated in the 2013 season.

vtbuckeye's picture

I don't know what time it is, but M!ch!gan still sucks.

rekrul's picture

What is the difference between a Michigan Cheerleader and a 747???
Everyone has not been on a 747...

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

Buckeye5000's picture

That's not the way I heard it. I heard it:
"What's the difference between a Michigan cheerleader and a 747?"
About 10lbs. :)

2014 Undisputed National Champions!

BuckeyeSouth's picture

I am a bit surprised to see Gardner's numbers while at quarterback.  I've re-watched a couple of their games, including the bowl game against SCar, and his mechanics were terrible.  Here's to hoping they haven't improved over the summer.

Champions.  Undisputed.  

Hovenaut's picture

They're going to be better, and should flirt with the Legends Division title.

But I don't think their o-line is up to snuff....Lewan was beaten by Adolphus for a sack in last year's game....and it's not going to help an already unproven passing game.

That defense should make strides, but think they really miss Ryan early on.

Make or break time for Hoke, I don't believe that fanbase will, uh, stomach less than double digits in the W column.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

stomach... I see what you did there!

Jabba the Hoke's picture

I think the fanbase all actually believe he is a good coach, then again most of them thought RichRod's 3-3-5 was appropriate in the Big Ten.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

The B1G should watch out! Gardner and his boys have been working on their chemistry during the offseason by playing video games and going to movies and stuff...
... those silly Buckeyes worked on their chemistry by working out, playing football, and studying game film.

buckguyfan1's picture

Lets see...

Edit: F Meat Chicken... Sorry, I really hate those bastards:)

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

And for good measure, Toledo beats Michigan, 13-10.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Ah yes, that brings back some really good memories!

westlaneavenue's picture

Anyone else forgetting that we barely beat Michigan last year?  That was essentially an evenly played game, and this year we have to go on the road.  Still think we beat them, but think it's a mistake to underestimate this team.  They are one injury away (Gardner) from being absolutely god-awful though.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

I'm not underestimating them. They will be good and it's never easy to beat them (except for DickRod's first and last years in the Shoe). I just love to poke them in their arrogant rear ends.

yrro's picture

For all that the score was not that different... we dominated all phases of that game. They scored on a fluke play with Denard, but couldn't move the ball otherwise. We marched the ball up and down the field and then didn't punch it into the end zone. Definitely a game that we could have lost, but not a game where I felt the overall ability was as similar as the score.

Buck Wild's picture

Think you forgot scUM never crossed the 50 yd line in the 2nd half...

"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987

wolfman's picture

I am curious...what are some of Meat Chicken's traditions?  (This seems like the appropriate place to ask.)  I couldn't tell what they were doing in that linked picture.
Having spent some time in Texas, most of the traditions at Texas A&M were pretty annoying.  When I met someone, I could almost tell right away if they went to UT or A&M.

wolfman's picture

Nice article, Jeff!  The one thing that always drives me crazy about Michigan's roster is seeing all those highly rated Ohio kids.  I understand they all can't play for the Buckeyes, but it still drives me mad.  I still haven't gotten over Grbac and Howard "defecting".

blueinsconsin's picture

May want to add Charles Woodson to that list as well...

Not here to troll...Go Blue

4thandinches's picture

So why do a lot of people have them winning their division this year?

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

blueinsconsin's picture

The schedule is A LOT easier than last years and the running game should see an uptick over 2012, even with 3 new interior linemen (although I do worry about the 3 youngsters against ND's DL in week 2).  The WRs have 2 very sure-handed options with Gallon and Dileo and 2 unknowns with Darboh and Chesson, although many expect them both to be very good.  Funchess as a TE/WR combo whatever you want to call him, creates a lot of mismatches and will have a huge year.  Passing game should be a strength.   
Yes, the loss of Jake Ryan hurts, but he is expected to be back sometime in October if everything with his recovery stays on track as it is now.  The brunt of the schedule is in November when he returns.  Cam Gordon, Beyer or whoever should be serviceable enough to fill in while Ryan is out.  I think Mario Ojemudia should have a fairly impressive year as rush end as well.  This will be a top 20 defense and it will keep getting stronger as the year goes on, but hopefully the pash rush improves over last season, which I think it will.  
At the end of the season, I think Michigan is a 9-10 win team and will play in the B1G Championship game and set themselves to be very dangerous in 2014.

Not here to troll...Go Blue

4thandinches's picture

How do they fair though against Nebraska and Northwestern?

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

blueinsconsin's picture

I'm nervous for the Nebraska and NW games but both of their defenses are SOOOOO bad, I think the offense should be able to control the pace of both games.  Nebraska at home helps too.

Not here to troll...Go Blue

BeijingBucks's picture

Even though UM is our hated rival I mean no actual disrespect when I say 'Prove it on the field'.
We've heard, 'This is the year!' out of UM fans for a decade it seems (barring a couple where the Big Blue fans went ominously silent).  At some point it starts to ring hollow.  Hoke's 5-7 as an away record is astoundingly awful.  Yes the defensive coaching is a strength now that Mattison is at the helm and strong recruiting classes will help in a couple years to compete with the Bucks,  but I seem to remember Hyde daring them to stop him in the second half last year and they had no answers.  no tricks.  no Buckeye speed.  Just good ol fashioned smash mouth and they were found wanting.  Also their offensive playcalling had UM fans screaming after (and during) the game.  If they couldn't get past the 50 vs last year's defense?! comes the pain train baby!
Denard was a real threat to go to the house every time he touched the ball (though he did add 'arm punt' to the glossary of terms as well).  There is a reason he won every September Heisman... *cough* FCS *cough* This is what helped Gardner be even as effective as he was.  Even if they weren't on the field at the same time all the time, teams still had to spend time preparing for those no shoelace cutback slippery, dammit-someone-get-him runs.
Pro style sounds awesome.  If you have pro players and coaches. otherwise... not so much.
Prove it on the field or keep eating Buckeye sawdust.

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

buckeyedude's picture

I think Michelin has lost some key players from a very mediocre 2012 team. They may have pulled in some good recruiting classes, but it will take a couple of years to see that help.
Never underestimate your rival on their home turf, though.