Thursday, April 11, 2013
By Chantel Jennings, Michael Rothstein & Tom VanHaaren
Spike Albrecht's first half for the ages Monday is a pleasant memory that will stick with Michigan fans despite the loss to Louisville in the national title game.
Every Thursday our writers sit down to chat about three topics surrounding Michigan sports. This week, they take a look at the past national title game, the ensuing spring game and the 2014 recruiting class.
1) What will you remember most about the Michigan-Louisville game?
Tom VanHaaren: Man, what a tough question. It was such a great game it's hard to pinpoint one thing that I'll remember the most. I honestly think I will remember the excitement from the fans and everyone around the program. Hearing how loud Crisler was, that it was packed and the way Michigan fans were talking was pretty cool. That hasn't happened at Michigan in 20 years, and all the emotion and drama had built up to that moment. I think the energy around the program, even after the loss, was something that will stick with me.
Michael Rothstein: Probably Spike Albrecht because it was so unexpected and he might not have a better half than that the rest of his career. Albrecht electrified the Wolverines for a half and became the sole reason Michigan was in the game when Trey Burke went to the bench with foul trouble. The challenge for Albrecht is to show it wasn't a one-game wonder over the next three seasons.
Chantel Jennings: I’ll snowball off Mike’s and say that while Albrecht was an unlikely and entertaining hero, I don’t think I’ll forget seeing Trey Burke gnaw at his nails from the bench. So many things have gone his way recently between big shots and awards and then he picks up two quick fouls in the national championship game? It was crazy to me. And I think we could all sort of relate to that feeling of having no control over something and just having to watch.
2) We hear a lot from coaches and players over the course of a spring season but don't see any real play until the actual spring game. So what do you think they've overhyped or undersold in the press conferences so far?
VanHaaren: I think these coaches undersell more than they overhype on purpose. I think they know there’s still a lot of work to do and there are still holes within the defense. I think the offense is probably being undersold, because I think it has a chance to really take form with Devin Gardner at the helm. The new offense, in my opinion, will surprise some people this season.
Rothstein: That's a tough question because we haven't seen much of anything this spring, but my guess would be they have undersold how good Taco Charlton can be -- and that he can be an immediate contributor. He’s going to be Michigan's next great defensive lineman if he stays healthy, but they haven't really discussed him much. As far as overhyping, through no fault of their own, probably Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson. Both have the potential to be good receivers, but they haven't played a meaningful down between them.
Jennings: We’ve heard so much from Al Borges and Taylor Lewan about how this offensive line is coming together, and while we won’t really see them in a game situation, I think we’ll be able to read into their chemistry a bit during the scrimmage.
3) Which position group doesn't Michigan need to have a haul at in the 2014 class?
VanHaaren: It depends on how you define the word haul. I think linebacker and wide receiver are the main focus for the 2014 class as far as filling holes and adding depth. Running back is a spot that probably isn't a huge deal in the 2014 class because of who the coaches landed in 2013, but they are still targeting some top prospects at running back. There isn't really a situation that allows a team not to continue recruiting big-time players each year, so it's a tough question to answer.
Jennings: Just in comparison to recent years in how this position group has described "haul," I'll say the offensive line. Obviously, the Wolverines will want to grab some big names and big guys there, but if they miss on one or two, it'd be less bothersome from a recruiting perspective than to miss on guys at wide receiver or running back.