Michigan season preview part III: special teams and outlook



By H. Jose Bosch

Part III of my “epic” season preview of Michigan is supposed to focus on the special teams.


The sad thing is Michigan’s best special teams player, arguably the best player in terms of how he plays his position, is the punter, Zoltan Mesko. Great guy. But it’s not good when the punter is the only player excelling at his position.

As for place kicking, who knows what to expect. KC Lopata was the go-to guy last season. If he was the starter last year with his numbers (10-15) that means the other kickers must have been sitting in a corner, gnawing on their kicking shoes while being distracted by a set of keys.

Freshman Brendan Gibbons will likely be the kicker this year and since he’s a freshman the only thing I have on him is this run down from MGoBlog. Brian Cook may be the only man on earth willing to give that much space to an incoming kicker. But that’s why he’s Brain Cook and I’m actually blogging from my parents’ basement. (That’s a lie, they don’t have a basement).

On the return side the key will be to just catch the damn ball and then worry about returning. Martavious Odoms and Boubacar Cissoko carried most of the retuning load last season and both are back. But nether really developed into a fearful return man, one that affects the punter’s/kicker’s performance every time out. If Michigan wants to help its offense out this season, whoever returns punts and kickoffs will have to do a much better job.

Season outlook:

Where to start with this team?

The first four games are against Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan and Indiana at home. On paper these are all winnable games. In reality I’m not sure what to think.

toldeoWhen the Wolverines lost to Toledo last season, the Rockets were a pretty mediocre MAC team. Western and Eastern aren’t MAC powerhouses, but as a fan I’ll be heading into those games gun shy. Same goes for Notre Dame, who roughed up the Wolverines pretty well last season. And there is no way Indiana is better than Michigan.

I’m going to be an optimist and say Michigan goes 3-1 to begin the year, with the lone loss coming to the Fighting Irish. After that the schedule gets much tougher.

@ Michigan State—loss

@ Iowa—loss


Penn State—loss


Purdue—win (let’s say they want revenge for last season’s debacle at Purdue)

@ Wisconsin—loss

Ohio State—miserable loss

So, the 2009 Wolverines will be 5-7 this season. It could easily be 4-8 and not so easily 6-6.

Considering all that has happened surrounding the program, I can’t be too sure that 5-7 will keep Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor. I would personally see it as an improvement, albeit a small one, and give Rich Rodriguez one more year to get the team bowl eligible.

Now that all the prognosticating has ended, it’s time to finally sit back and watch the season unfold.

Sure, there will possibly be an NCAA investigation going on in the background and we may find out that it was Rodriguez, and not Michael Vick, who founded Bad Newz Kennels. But we can’t foresee any of that. All we can do is see Saturday, September 5 and praise the Lord, or Allah, or Buddha or Vishnu, or whoever else we worship or don’t worship.

College football is upon us!

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  1. Paul Schmidt says

    So….seriously…the odds of Michigan being on probation at this time next year are off the books in Vegas, right Bosch? Hello? Is this thing on?

  2. Paul Schmidt says

    5-7 is probably right. There’s not a lot of in between games on that schedule…that being said it wouldn’t stun me to see them upset Illinois in Champaign. The Illini play AWFUL against them at home…

  3. HEY HEY! I think Rich Rod, as every coach deserves 3 or 4 years at minimum to see what he can do with his guys in place. it’s not fair otherwise.

    Mesko rules! indeed. smart funny guy. I hyperlinked to the interview.

    I think 5-7 sounds about right

  4. H. Jose Bosch says

    There is no way Michigan goes on probation. Unless Rich Rod is found guilty of using whips on players and peeing on a picture of the Pope.

    The NCAA doesn’t have the cajones to give Michigan anything more than a slap on the wrist. And I don’t even think it’ll be that bad. Again, it’s difficult for the NCAA to find violations based on their own ambiguous rules.

    As for the game at Illinois, I think Michigan would have a better chance to win that game if it had been early in the Big Ten season. But a.) it’s later in the year and the Illini will be a well-oiled machine and b.) they will probably have blown a game or two they should’ve won by then. So they’ll make Michigan their whipping boys.

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