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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
WolverineNation mailbag

By Chantel Jennings

Keshawn Martin
Michigan opening the B1G season with Michigan State in 2015 and 2016 raises eyebrows.
Just when we thought sporting excitement would be over for Michigan fans until September, the softball teams goes and upsets No. 9 Louisville and advances to the NCAA Super Regional.

We didn't get any softball questions this week, but if you have some lingering thoughts on the season, please send them in next week because we love hearing from our readers!

Mike will be taking care of next week's mailbag so email (michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com) or tweet (@mikerothstein) your questions to him! But now, on to this week's questions…

Kevin, Chicago: With the 2015 and 2016 Big Ten schedules being released, what were your first impressions? Anything surprise you?

CJ: I was pretty surprised that Michigan starts off both conference seasons with Michigan State. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I think teams always prefer a few Big Ten games to prepare themselves for rivalry games.

Other than that, there weren't really any surprises, but I was struck with how well placed the open weeks are for the Wolverines. In 2015 it's four weeks into the Big Ten season, so Michigan will probably want a bit of a rest then. And in 2016, it's three weeks into the season, but also, it's the week before the Wolverines play at Wisconsin, which will give Michigan a little extra time to prepare to play in Camp Randall Stadium.

Jason Barczy via Twitter: What's happening with U-M's linebackers? Any chance of knowing who'll start and where? Any freshmen making the jump?

CJ: What's happening? Well, they're recruiting like mad and getting great talent. And as far as knowing who will start, well, that's impossible, but I can give some educated guesses.

I would say the closest "lock" in the linebacker corps is <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/381801/kenny-demens">Kenny Demens</a> in the middle. And I think we’ll still see <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/476845/jake-ryan">Jake Ryan</a> on the strong side. It’s the most difficult to guess who’ll be starting at weakside linebacker. With Brennan Beyer moving up to the line, I think <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/511701/desmond-morgan">Desmond Morgan</a> will make a push for the starting spot, though I also think he could face some serious competition from <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/481428/brandin-hawthorne">Brandin Hawthorne</a>.

Freshmen I could see making the jump: definitely <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/player/_/id/119542/joe-bolden">Joe Bolden</a>, possibly <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/player/_/id/116255/james-ross">James Ross</a> and <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/player/_/id/112572/royce-jenkins-stone">Royce Jenkins-Stone</a> (depending on what their fitness level and size is coming into camp).

James, Pittsburgh: *Should we worry about [quarterback] <a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/480237/denard-robinson">Denard Robinson</a> not having any competition at this point in his career? What drives him when he knows he's going to be the starter? He has so much to improve on still.

CJ: With some quarterbacks, I think you might have to worry about that. But I don't think Robinson is one of those guys. He seems to want to do his best for Michigan, the coaches, the team and the school. I assume he has heard the rumblings that this will be his last season as a quarterback, and I believe that'll put a significant enough chip on his shoulders that he'll want to come out and prove someone wrong.

Robinson is humble. The hype hasn't gotten to him yet. I don't think it will now. Don't expect that kind of complacency from the senior.