Michigan Wolverines: David Molk

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Ben Braden has had to learn a lot over the past 18 months. He had to adjust to college. Needed to learn how to play college football.

And now, theoretically, the redshirt freshman has to learn a new position. Braden, who was recruited as an offensive tackle and is the potential heir apparent to Taylor Lewan, is now lining up at guard.

Making the move inside will be a transition, but it might end up helping Braden in more ways than he realizes. Moving to guard, be it for a year or even just the spring if he is beaten out for the job, gives him more versatility for his Michigan career. And for a potential career in the NFL later on.

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Depth chart analysis: Center 

January, 14, 2013
1/14/13
11:52
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Over the next few weeks, WolverineNation will look at every position on the Michigan roster and give a depth chart analysis of each heading into the offseason.

Two seasons ago, Michigan had the best center in the country, a guy with one heck of a mean streak and an edge that never really went away. Last season, the Wolverines had the opposite, a guy who might have been one of the more friendly players on the team and someone who was good in stretches and struggled in others.

For the third straight season, Michigan will have a new starting center and no matter who it is the player will have minimal to no experience.

Season anaylsis: Offensive line 

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
9:33
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It was a unit entering the season with a lot of age but questions about experience, two new starters and little-to-no depth to replace anyone who was injured or struggled.

Those issues showed throughout this season, as Michigan’s offensive line was mediocre for most of the year, strong in small spots and awful when finishing blocks in the run game.

It is a problem, though, that became a huge issue for the Wolverines in 2012, and one they hope to remedy as soon as possible.

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WolverineNation mailbag 

November, 7, 2012
11/07/12
10:25
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- We've had our first glimpses at Michigan basketball and we saw a different looking Michigan football team on Saturday in Minneapolis. But what does it all mean? Are these things we should include on our "Thankful for…" lists at Thanksgiving? Or is it time to start wishing for a Christmas miracle?

I'll try to get to some of that in this week's mailbag, and what I don't get to you can send to Mike for next week's mailbag (Twitter: @MikeRothstein, Email: michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com).

But now, on to your questions…

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WolverineNation Roundtable 

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
9:30
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Each week, the WolverineNation staff picks three issues around Michigan sports and chats about them in the WolverineNation roundtable.

With basketball starting up this week and football in the middle of the season, our staff takes on the topics of the day.

1. Michigan's running backs have struggled this season and Brady Hoke is sticking with Fitzgerald Toussaint as his starter. What would you do in this situation?

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Michigan in the NFL: Week 5

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
2:34
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Here are how Michigan's alumni fared in Week 5 of the NFL season:

  • Jay Feely, K, Arizona: Made 1 of 2 field goals in a 17-3 loss to St. Louis. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati: Had two tackles (1 solo, 1 assisted) and a pass defended in a 17-13 loss to Miami. Next up -- vs. Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jeff Backus, OT, Detroit: Idle. Next up -- vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay: Made eight tackles (7 solo, 1 assisted) and two passes defended in a 30-27 loss to Indianapolis. Next up -- vs. Houston, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Tim Jamison, DE, Houston: Did not make a tackle in a 23-17 win over the New York Jets. Next up -- vs. Green Bay, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville: DNP in a 41-3 loss to Chicago. Next up -- OFF
  • Steve Breaston, WR, Kansas City: Did not catch a pass in a 9-6 loss to Baltimore. Next up -- vs. Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jake Long, OT, Miami: Started at left tackle in a 17-13 win over Cincinnati. Next up -- vs. St. Louis, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Tom Brady, QB, New England: Completed 23 of 31 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown along with four rushes for minus-2 yards in a 31-21 win over Denver. Next up -- vs. Seattle, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Zoltan Mesko, P, New England: Punted three times with a 43 yard average and one inside the 20-yard line in a 31-21 win over Denver. Next up -- vs. Seattle, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • David Baas, C, New York Giants: Started at center in a 41-27 win over Cleveland. Next up -- vs. San Francisco, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Stevie Brown, DB, New York Giants: Had three tackles (2 solo, 1 assisted), a pass defended and an interception in a 41-27 win over Cleveland. Next up -- vs. San Francisco, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • David Harris, LB, New York Jets: Had nine tackles (5 solo, 4 assisted) and a pass defended in a 23-17 loss to Houston. Next up -- vs. Indianapolis, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia: Had three receptions for 34 yards in a 16-14 loss to Pittsburgh. Next up -- vs. Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia: Had one assisted tackle in a 16-14 loss to Pittsburgh. Next up -- vs. Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Larry Foote, LB, Pittsburgh: Had eight tackles (5 solo, 3 assisted) and recovered two fumbles in a 16-14 win over Philadelphia. Next up -- vs. Tennessee, Thursday 8:20 p.m.
  • LaMarr Woodley, LB, Pittsburgh: Had no tackles in a 16-14 win over Philadelphia. Next up -- vs. Tennessee, Thursday 8:20 p.m.
  • David Molk, C, San Diego: Played in a 31-24 loss to New Orleans. Next up -- vs. Denver, Monday 8:30 p.m.
  • Jonas Mouton, LB, San Diego: Was inactive in a 31-24 loss to New Orleans. Next up -- vs. Denver, Monday 8:30 p.m.
  • Jonathan Goodwin, OL, San Francisco: Started at center in a 45-3 win over Buffalo. Next up -- vs. New York Giants, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Mario Manningham, WR, San Francisco: Had four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown in a 45-3 win over Buffalo. Next up -- vs. New York Giants, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Alan Branch, DT, Seattle: Had two tackles (1 solo, 1 assisted) in a 16-12 win over Carolina. Next up -- vs. New England, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Seattle: Had one catch for 10 yards in a 16-12 win over Carolina. Next up -- vs. New England, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Steve Hutchinson, OG, Tennessee: Started at left guard in a 30-7 loss to Minnesota. Next up -- vs. Pittsburgh, Thursday 8:20 p.m.
  • Mike Martin, DT, Tennessee: Had five tackles (3 solo, 2 assisted) and a sack in a 30-7 loss to Minnesota. Next up -- vs. Pittsburgh, Thursday 8:20 p.m.

Michigan in the NFL: Week 4

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
11:06
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Jay FeelyJennifer Stewart/US PresswireJay Feely's field goal in overtime on Sunday pushed the Cardinals to a surprising 4-0.
Here are how Michigan's alumni fared in Week 4 of the NFL season:

  • Jay Feely, K, Arizona: Made a field goal all three extra points in a 24-21 win over Miami. Next up -- vs. St. Louis, Thursday, 8:20 p.m.
  • Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati: Was inactive due to injury against Jacksonville. Next up -- vs. Miami, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jeff Backus, OT, Detroit: Started at tackle in a 20-13 loss to Minnesota. Next up -- Idle
  • Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay: Made 11 tackles (8 solo, 3 assisted) in a 28-27 win over New Orleans. Next up -- vs. Indianapolis, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Tim Jamison, DE, Houston: Made one assisted tackle in a 38-14 win over Tennessee. Next up -- vs. New York Jets, Monday 8:30 p.m.
  • Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville: DNP in a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati. Next up -- vs. Chicago, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Steve Breaston, WR, Kansas City: Had one catch for 12 yards in a 37-20 loss to San Diego. Next up -- vs. Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jake Long, OT, Miami: Started at left tackle in a 24-21 loss to Miami. Next up -- vs. Cincinnati, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Tom Brady, QB, New England: Completed 22 of 36 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns along with one rush for four yards and a touchdown in a 52-28 win over Buffalo. Next up -- vs. Denver, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Zoltan Mesko, P, New England: Punted three times with a 39.7 yard average and three inside the 20-yard line. Next up -- vs. Denver, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • David Baas, C, New York Giants: Started at center in a 19-17 loss to Philadelphia. Next up -- vs. Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Stevie Brown, DB, New York Giants: Had eight tackles (7 solo, 1 assisted) in a 19-17 loss to Philadelphia. Next up -- vs. Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • David Harris, LB, New York Jets: Had 11 tackles (8 solo, 3 assisted) in a 34-0 loss to San Francisco. Next up -- vs. Houston, Monday 8:30 p.m.
  • Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia: Had two receptions for 30 yards in a 19-17 win over the New York Giants. Next up -- vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia: Did not have a tackle in a 19-17 win over the New York Giants. Next up -- vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Larry Foote, LB, Pittsburgh: OFF. Next up -- vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • LaMarr Woodley, LB, Pittsburgh: OFF. Next up -- vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • David Molk, C, San Diego: Played in a 37-20 win over Kansas City. Next up -- vs. New Orleans, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Jonas Mouton, LB, San Diego: Was inactive in a 37-20 win over Kansas City. Next up -- vs. New Orleans, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Jonathan Goodwin, OL, San Francisco: Started at center in a 34-0 win over the New York Jets. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Mario Manningham, WR, San Francisco: Had three catches for 47 yards and one rush for 28 yards in a 34-0 win over the New York Jets. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Alan Branch, DT, Seattle: Had one tackle and one pass broken up in a 19-13 loss to St. Louis. Next up -- vs. Carolina, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Seattle: Had no catches in a 19-13 loss to St. Louis. Next up -- vs. Carolina, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Steve Hutchinson, OG, Tennessee: Started at left guard in a 38-14 loss to Houston. Next up -- vs. Minnesota, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Mike Martin, DT, Tennessee: Had one assisted tackle in a 38-14 loss to Houston. Next up -- vs. Minnesota, Sunday 4:25 p.m.

Michigan in the NFL: Week 3

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:40
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Here are how Michigan's alumni fared in Week 3 of the NFL season:

  • Jay Feely, K, Arizona: Made both his field goals and all three extra points in a 27-6 win over Philadelphia. Next up -- vs. Miami, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati: Was inactive due to injury against Washington. Next up -- vs. Jacksonville, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Jeff Backus, OT, Detroit: Started at tackle in a 44-41 loss to Tennessee. Next up -- vs. Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay: Made three tackles (2 solo, 1 assisted) in a 14-12 loss to Seattle. Next up -- vs. New Orleans, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Tim Jamison, DE, Houston: Made one tackle in a 31-25 win over Denver. Next up -- vs. Tennessee, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville: DNP in a 22-17 win over Indianapolis. Next up -- vs. Cincinnati, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Steve Breaston, WR, Kansas City: Had one catch for two yards in a 27-24 win over New Orleans. Next up -- vs. San Diego, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jake Long, OT, Miami: Started at left tackle in a 23-20 loss to the New York Jets. Next up -- vs. Arizona, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Tom Brady, QB, New England: Completed 28 of 41 passes for 335 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 31-30 loss to Baltimore. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Zoltan Mesko, P, New England: Punted four times with a 38.3 yard average and two inside the 20-yard line. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • David Baas, C, New York Giants: Started at center in a 36-7 win over Carolina. Next up -- vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Stevie Brown, DB, New York Giants: Had an interception in a 36-7 win over Carolina. Next up -- vs. Philadelphia, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • David Harris, LB, New York Jets: Had nine tackles (8 solo, 1 assisted) in a 23-20 win over Miami. Next up -- vs. San Francisco, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia: Had three receptions for 38 yards in a 27-6 loss to Arizona. Next up -- vs. New York Giants, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia: Had four tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted) and a half-sack in a 27-6 loss to Arizona. Next up -- vs. New York Giants, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Larry Foote, LB, Pittsburgh: Had seven tackles (5 solo, 2 assisted) in a 34-31 loss to Oakland. Next up -- OFF
  • LaMarr Woodley, LB, Pittsburgh: Had four tackles, all solo, and a sack in a 34-31 loss to Oakland. Next up -- OFF
  • David Molk, C, San Diego: Played in a 27-3 loss to Atlanta. Next up -- vs. Kansas City, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jonas Mouton, LB, San Diego: Was inactive in a 27-3 loss to Atlanta. Next up -- vs. Kansas City, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jonathan Goodwin, OL, San Francisco: Started at center in a 24-13 loss to Minnesota. Next up -- vs. New York Jets, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Mario Manningham, WR, San Francisco: Had five catches for 56 yards in a 24-13 loss to Minnesota. Next up -- vs. New York Jets, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Alan Branch, DT, Seattle: Had no tackles in a 14-12 win over Green Bay. Next up -- vs. St. Louis, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Seattle: Had no catches in a 14-12 win over Green Bay. Next up -- vs. St. Louis, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Steve Hutchinson, OG, Tennessee: Started at left guard in a 44-41 win over Detroit. Next up -- vs. Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Mike Martin, DT, Tennessee: Had five tackles (3 solo, 2 assisted) in a 44-41 win over Detroit. Next up -- vs. Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.

Michigan in the NFL: Week 1

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
10:34
PM ET
Here's a look at how former Michigan players fared during Week 1 of the NFL season:
  • Jay Feely, K, Arizona: Made both his field goals and extra points in a 20-16 win over Seattle. Next up -- vs. New England, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati: Had four tackles (all solo) and two pass deflections in a 44-13 loss to Baltimore. Next up -- vs. Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jeff Backus, OT, Detroit: Started at tackle and blocked for 429 yards of offense in a 27-23 win over St. Louis. Next up -- vs. San Francisco, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay: Had five tackles (3 solo, 2 assisted), two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and 1.5 sacks in a 30-22 loss to San Francisco. Next up -- vs. Chicago, Thursday 8:30 p.m.
  • Tim Jamison, DE, Houston: Had one tackle and one sack in a 30-10 win over Miami. Next up -- vs. Jacksonville, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville: DNP in 26-23 loss to Minnesota. Next up -- vs. Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Steve Breaston, WR, Kansas City: Had two catches for 30 yards in a 40-24 loss to Atlanta. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Junior Hemingway, WR, Kansas City: DNP (Practice squad) against Atlanta. Next up -- vs. Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Jake Long, OT, Miami: Started at left tackle and blocked for 275 yards of offense in a 30-10 loss to Houston. Next up -- vs. Oakland, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Tom Brady, QB, New England: Completed 23 of 31 passes for 236 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions along with two rushes for one yard in a 34-13 win over Tennessee. Next up -- vs. Arizona, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Zoltan Mesko, P, New England: Punted four times with a 33.5 yard net average, including a long of 51 yards and three inside the 20 in a 34-13 win over Tennessee. Next up -- vs. Arizona, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • David Baas, C, New York Giants: started and helped block for 269 yards of offense in a 24-17 loss to Dallas. Next up -- Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1 p.m.
  • Stevie Brown, DB, New York Giants: had two tackles in a 24-17 loss to Dallas. Next up -- Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1 p.m.
  • David Harris, LB, New York Jets: Had seven tackles (4 solo, 3 assisted) and three assisted tackles in a 48-28 win over Buffalo. Next up -- vs. Pittsburgh, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia: Had four catches for 27 yards in a 17-16 win over Cleveland. Next up -- vs. Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia: Had one tackle in a 17-16 win over Cleveland. Next up -- vs. Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.
  • Larry Foote, LB, Pittsburgh: Had eight tackles (7 solo, 1 assisted), a sack and a pass defended in a 31-19 loss to Denver. Next up -- vs. New York Jets, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • LaMarr Woodley, LB, Pittsburgh: Had three tackles (1 solo, 2 assisted) in a 31-19 loss to Denver. Next up -- vs. New York Jets, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • David Molk, C, San Diego: He played, but did not start, in a 22-14 win over Oakland. Next up -- vs. Tennessee, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Jonas Mouton, LB, San Diego: Listed as inactive against Oakland. Next up -- vs. Tennessee, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Jonathan Goodwin, OL, San Francisco: Started at center and blocked for 377 yards of offense in a 30-22 win over the Packers. Next up -- vs. Detroit, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Mario Manningham, WR, San Francisco: Had four catches for 29 yards in a 30-22 win over the Packers. Next up -- vs. Detroit, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
  • Alan Branch, DT, Seattle: Had three tackles (1 solo, 2 assisted) in a 20-16 loss to Arizona. Next up -- vs. Dallas, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Seattle: Had five catches for 43 yards in a 20-16 loss to Arizona. Next up -- vs. Dallas, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
  • Steve Hutchinson, OG, Tennessee: Started at left guard and blocked for 292 yards of offense in a 34-13 loss to New England. Next up -- vs. San Diego, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
  • Mike Martin, DT, Tennessee: Had one solo tackle and two assisted tackles in a 34-13 loss to New England. Next up -- vs. San Diego, Sunday 4:25 p.m.

Key to 2012: No. 2 Ricky Barnum 

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
8:45
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Ricky BarnumLeon Halip/Getty ImagesRicky Barnum has big shoes to fill, replacing Rimington Award winner David Molk.
Over the next two weeks, WolverineNation will break down the 10 players who need to play to the peak of their abilities for Michigan to have its best possible season, going from 10 all the way to No. 1.

Replacing David Molk is not going to be easy, no matter how much confidence fifth-year senior center Ricky Barnum says he has in himself. Molk was the Rimington Award winner as the nation’s best center last season and was a seventh-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers.


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Key to 2012: No. 4 Taylor Lewan 

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
9:57
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Taylor LewanAndrew Weber/US PresswireLeft tackle Taylor Lewan is the Wolverines' best NFL offensive line prospect since Jake Long.
Over the next two weeks, WolverineNation will break down the 10 players who need to play to the peak of their abilities for Michigan to have its best possible season, going from 10 all the way to No. 1.

Taylor Lewan is Michigan’s most experienced offensive lineman and the best professional prospect the Wolverines have had along the offensive line since another dominant left tackle played for the Wolverines, Jake Long.

Lewan, though, still has a lot of room to improve. While he is one of the best overall blockers in the Big Ten, he has never had to be the leader of the offensive line, having Stephen Schilling around two seasons ago and David Molk last season. Both now are with the San Diego Chargers, leaving Lewan to do more than just play his position. And with a first-time starter next to him at left guard and fifth-year senior Ricky Barnum still growing into the center slot in his first season starting there, it will be up to Lewan to work on the cohesiveness of the unit.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Contact with players is minimal during the summer and since he can’t go on the road to recruit, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke is taking time to evaluate.

As the second-year coach begins to put together his plan for August’s preseason practice, he is looking at what worked and didn’t from last year’s 11-2 season that ended in a 23-20 win over Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

“You start with a big template of what you did a year ago,” Hoke said before the Griese/Hutchinson/Woodson golf outing Sunday. “There’s always changes in the course of that year. You go back and you write everything down and you look at it and say did it help you win and did it help you develop your team or didn’t it. You’re always looking for new ideas.”

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Michigan spring wrap

May, 11, 2012
5/11/12
10:00
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Michigan

2011 overall record: 11-2

2011 conference record: 6-2 (2nd, Legends Division)

Returning starters

Offense: 6; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

QB Denard Robinson; RB Fitzgerald Toussaint; WR Roy Roundtree; WR Jeremy Gallon; LT Taylor Lewan; RT Michael Schofield; DE Craig Roh; LB Jake Ryan; LB Kenny Demens; LB Desmond Morgan; CB J.T. Floyd; CB Blake Countess; S Thomas Gordon; S Jordan Kovacs.

Key losses

WR Junior Hemingway; WR Darryl Stonum; WR/KR Martavious Odoms; TE Kevin Koger; C David Molk; RT Mark Huyge; DT Mike Martin; DE/DT Ryan Van Bergen; DT Will Heininger.

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Denard Robinson* (1,176 yards)

Passing: Denard Robinson* (2,173 yards)

Receiving: Junior Hemingway (699 yards)

Tackles: Kenny Demens* (94)

Sacks: Ryan Van Bergen (5.5)

Interceptions: Courtney Avery* and J.T. Floyd* (2)

Spring answers

1. Quarterback accuracy: Denard Robinson played one series in the public spring scrimmage, but coaches raved about his improved leadership, decision-making and accuracy throughout the spring. The latter two were major issues for Michigan last season. While it is unknown whether Robinson will truly be more accurate until Sept. 1 against Alabama -- Michigan closed all of its practices to the media this spring -- offensive coordinator Al Borges was very confident in Robinson’s potential for his senior season.

2. Cornerback has depth:
Two seasons ago, cornerback was the biggest question on Michigan’s team because of youth, inexperience and a lack of talent. That is no longer an issue. The Wolverines have as many as six players they could feel comfortable with come the fall, and that doesn’t include incoming freshman Terry Richardson (Detroit/Cass Tech), the highest-ranked player in Michigan's incoming signing class. Sophomore Blake Countess could turn into a star, and fifth-year senior J.T. Floyd is the most consistent corner the Wolverines have. They’ll be the likely starters.

3. A featured back is set: Borges made no hesitation: Redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint is going into the fall as his top tailback -- a marked change from what the Wolverines endured last spring and through the first half of last season. Toussaint rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last season, giving Michigan a dynamic dual running game with Robinson. With major questions at wide receiver and tight end, expect a lot of running from Toussaint and Robinson, especially early in the season.

Fall questions

1. Who is catching the ball: Michigan’s coaches spoke highly of Jeremy Gallon, Jerald Robinson and Roy Roundtree during the spring as their top three receivers, but Robinson has never caught a pass, Gallon has had one season of consistent productivity, and Roundtree saw his numbers plummet last season, where he had 19 catches for 355 yards. Tight end isn’t much better, as the position group has two career catches. Denard Robinson’s two best safety valves -- Junior Hemingway and Kevin Koger -- graduated so even if Denard Robinson is improved, he might need to hunt to find a reliable receiver option. Incoming freshman Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) could be an option at tight end.

2. Who is pressuring the quarterback: Michigan took its biggest hits on the defensive line, which saw three starters graduate -- Mike Martin was a third-round draft pick, Ryan Van Bergen signed a free agent contract and Will Heininger graduated -- and its fourth starter, Craig Roh, switch positions. Michigan insists it’ll be OK there. Will Campbell and converted end Jibreel Black will likely start inside, and either sophomore Brennen Beyer or sophomore Frank Clark will start at rush end. The success of Michigan’s defense last season relied on pressure the front four created. With an almost completely new group there, how they fare against opponents will be interesting to see.

3. Punting problems: Somewhere along the way last season, Will Hagerup lost his mojo, much like kicker Brendan Gibbons the year before. A strong-legged punter, Hagerup wasn’t connecting with the ball well and eventually lost his job to freshman Matt Wile. Now entering his junior year, Michigan hopes either Hagerup regains his form or Wile becomes more consistent. The Wolverines’ offense should be fairly prolific, but with a defense searching for pressure early on, it needs to be able to control field position with the punter.
The three-day NFL Draft came and went over the weekend with few surprises for Michigan players. Three players -- Mike Martin, David Molk and Junior Hemingway -- were drafted.

Many more were not.

The three players drafted equaled the 2010 NFL Draft, which had Brandon Graham go in the first round, Zoltan Mesko in the fifth round and Stevie Brown in the seventh.

In this year’s draft, Martin went to Tennessee in the third round, while Molk and Hemingway were selected in the seventh round by San Diego and Kansas City, respectively.

Hemingway, the last Michigan player taken, joins Steve Breaston as a wide receiver in Kansas City.

(Read full post)

David Molk to San Diego

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
6:20
PM ET
The Rimington Award winner has a professional home.

Former Michigan center David Molk, who was named the best center in college football last season, was selected by San Diego with the No. 226 pick in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft on Saturday.

“There are always obstacles that I’ve had to face," Molk told Chargers.com. "There’s always limitations that people put on me and there’s always something that people can say that I don’t do well enough and something that I don’t have that sets me back, and it’s just proving them wrong over and over and over again until finally there’s nowhere else to go.”

Three of the last four players drafted from Michigan have gone to San Diego, joining Jonas Mouton and Stephen Schilling last year.

Molk, one of Michigan’s captains, anchored an offensive line that had one of the best rushing offenses in college football in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, Molk’s experience helped the Wolverines transition to more of a hybrid offense under new offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Previous five players picked at No. 226: 2011 -- Greg Romeus, DL, Pittsburgh (New Orleans); 2010 -- George Selvie, DE, South Florida (St. Louis); 2009 -- A.Q. Shipley, C, Penn State (Pittsburgh); 2008 -- Chaz Schilens, WR, San Diego State (Oakland); 2007 -- C.J. Wilson, CB, Baylor (Carolina)

For more on Molk:

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