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WolverineNation mailbag

10/23/2012

Ann Arbor is pretty exciting right now. Michigan football has ended the losing streak to the team from East Lansing and is undefeated in the Big Ten. The basketball team has been practicing for more than a week now and grabbed a top-10 preseason ranking. And spring seems to be thinking it fits between fall and winter (I'm not complaining).

Plus, it's Wednesday, which should make everyone more excited because the weekly WolverineNation mailbag is here. We love hearing from our readers so keep sending your questions in any time you have them. Next week Mike will take care of this so email him at michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or tweet him @mikerothstein.

Now, on to this week's questions…

1.) Lena, Washington, D.C.: How big was Denzel Ward's commitment this weekend?

A: It was 6-foot-9 because he is 6-9. But really, it was pretty big. Michigan has been getting great commitments on its offensive line the past few classes, and Ward is another one of those. He's under the radar only because he has played just a season of football, but he was picking up interest from other big schools. As this year finishes up and he goes to a few combines and camps, expect his offers to explode. I imagine him being one of the top 2014 offensive linemen in the country by the end of his senior year. His learning curve is really steep, and his background in basketball means he has great hands, feet and athleticism. Plus, he has a frame the Wolverines love and he’s only going to get into better football shape.

Also, fun fact about Ward's height: For most of his recruitment he has been saying he was 6-10, but he met Michigan basketball player Mitch McGary this weekend (who's a legit 6-10) and realized he was an inch shorter. So, he has now accepted the sad truth that he's only 6-9.

2. Craig D. Barker via Twitter: Will Michigan need to do anything different to prep for a night game in a new stadium? Not great in night games this year.

A: During Monday's news conference, Brady Hoke said they pretty much have their system down for how to do what they want to do. And no, they haven't been great in night games this season, but I don't know how much them not playing great is correlated to them playing at night. In both of the Wolverines' losses to Alabama and Notre Dame, I think the better team won. Had they played both those games at noon or 3:30, I really believe the outcome would've been the same. Against Notre Dame, Denard Robinson clearly tried to do too much, and that was a big part of why the Wolverines lost. Most likely that was because of his past with the Irish or something else, not because it was a night game. And well, Alabama was Alabama.

3. James, Grand Rapids: It's never too early to look ahead to next season. Keeping that in mind, is next year going to be a rebuilding season considering the number of seniors we have starting?

A: I think any year that you transition from one quarterback to another, there's some rebuilding. Robinson has been running this offense for two-plus years and next season it'll be up to Devin Gardner, Russell Bellomy or Shane Morris. Any of those three players will have to take time to get adjusted. On top of that, look at the seniors/graduated/possibly leaving early players on the offensive and defensive lines. The D-line will lose Craig Roh and Will Campbell, while the O-line will have to replace Elliott Mealer, Ricky Barnum, Patrick Omameh and possibly Taylor Lewan. That's a lot of turnover in the trenches, which is never a good thing, either. So yes, next year will be interesting to see how Michigan can fill gaps at skill positions and on the lines.