Ninety-nine Michigan football insights, 99 days before kick-off

Just like that, football in Michigan is close again.

Well not quite. But as of Thursday, there are less than 100 days left before the Wolverines begin their 2022 season against Colorado State. To celebrate being 99 days away from the much-anticipated Michigan season, 247Sports Michigan beat writer Zach Shaw smashing 99 thoughts he had about the Wolverines at this point.

Some are hard and fast beliefs, some are predictions in the dark, some are things he has heard from those close to the team, and some are simply thinking out loud. But Shaw goes from site to site and pitches his thoughts, then winds up with some totally utterly speculative and thought-provoking team predictions, including his own fictitious predictions for the Wolverines.

Take a look, and be sure to stick to The Michigan Insider on 247Sports for all the content related to football, basketball, and recruiting in Michigan.

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quarterback

I still feel like the quarterback’s job will eventually be JJ McCarthy. McCarthy has a superior arm and sportsmanship, which is evident every time they both enter a match. The missing spring ball didn’t help McCarthy’s development, but I still think he can bridge the gap in every advantage McNamara has over him in his summer and fall sophomore camp.

However, it will not be handed over to him. When I rewatched Michigan 2021 matches last season, I was even more impressed McNamara’s ability to avoid bags and use the scans to his advantage. He’s a leader and game director, but not in a cliched fashion. The attack moves with him constantly in the middle, and some of his best moments have been on the road and in tight matches.

Wins are a lazy, often meaningless state with two back players, but I really think it’s the only one McNamara really cares about. He showed up last season, and could keep him in a fight many (including me) expect to lose.

No, if McCarthy were better, I don’t think Jim Harbaugh would be reluctant to make the change. At least, not once heats up a conference play. We heard about a few times last season where Wolverines gave McCarthy a chance to take on the starting job in practice, thinking plays were left on the field, and Michigan happily turned to him in the Georgia game. Harbaugh loves McNamara, but realizes and the offensive coordinators they can broaden the rules of the game with McCarthy in the game.

I don’t think Michigan need any of the brokers to pull out to be the elite team this season. Obviously that will help, but Wolverines will have a top 10 backyard, offensive line, and tight final rooms in the country if these groups stay healthy. With Cady McNamara in the middle, I still think the Michigan offensive is better this season than last.

running back

If I’m going to make a concrete, bold prediction that I really believe in, 100 days later I believe Michigan will lead the country in running back to take the yards this season. The Wolverines finished 10th last season in this category and 1st in the Big Ten with 540 yards, but with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards taking more shots of Hassan Haskins, I think the two can improve on that.

It depends somewhat on how the offense changes under Shereen Moore and Matt Weiss, but I don’t think 750 yards is out of the question, and that would have ranked second last season.

Perhaps the only thing stopping Corum and Edwards from undoing their flashy receiving total is their value as ball carriers. I don’t have 40 runs or the shuttle from everywhere, but I bet this back room is the fastest and most elusive in Michigan since the 20th century. It might be a discussion to truly embody another day.

This expectation of receipt is also based on the belief that Michigan will try to reduce wear and tear on both backs, and keep them in the open field as much as possible. They will have to put up with a lot in the absence of Haskins, including some tough yards between interventions. They’ve both looked at the mission so far in their careers, but they’re also assets in the passing game if Michigan wants to give them a break from the trench.

On that note, I’m really curious to see how Michigan is calling its third, middle, third, and short plays this season. Haskins often gave that easy answer last season, leading the nation in its first touchdown stints, but he’s gone. Do Wolverines tend to have a bigger back (Tavier Dunlap, Calel Mullings, CJ Stokes?) For those carrying, hold Corum and Edwards or pass the ball more? Smart money is on a few of the three, but nonetheless, it would be great to watch.

I loved what I saw from the Mullings at the Spring Match. “A backup defensive player trying to run back when there are only three scholarships on campus” doesn’t always work out, but I think he has the skills to make it work. Remember that both Notre Dame and Wisconsin recruited him as an attacking player.

wide future

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