Michigan's season opener against Hawaii is just days away, but with Jim Harbaugh's unwillingness to release a proper depth chart, fans are left in the dark as to who will take the field with the starters in the team's debut. Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com knows this better than anyone and, as a result, he weighed in with a full projection of the depth chart on Wednesday.
While there are several noteworthy items to explore, the quarterback position has received the headlines during camp and Baumgardner joins the parade of experts predicting Wilton Speight will win the job over John O'Korn:
There's been nothing to suggest that O'Korn has passed Speight in fall camp. In fact, plenty have explained that Speight hasn't only kept his narrow lead achieved this spring, but he's followed it up with more positive work in camp. Either way, Michigan should have two capable options at quarterback.
Speight is, by all accounts, the "safer" option and with Harbaugh's tutelage, the 6-foot-6 quarterback could certainly develop into an upper-tier Big Ten option as a junior. At this point, the team is fully aware of who the quarterback will be, but the rest of us will likely find out at noon on Saturday.
Elsewhere on the depth chart, Michigan's offensive line has been unsettled this month, even if four starters (Ben Braden, Mason Cole, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson) are penciled in as starters. Still, the left tackle job is an open competition between freshman Ben Bredeson and sophomore Grant Newsome, and Baumgardner is going young with his projection:
I'll buy Bredeson right now, even though it's probably pretty close — and I could be wrong. But the true freshman appears to have hung in there throughout the entirety of fall camp, enough to not only give Newsome a push — but so much of a push that he was moved from guard to tackle. I think both end up playing, though, regardless of how it shakes out.
The Wolverines are one of the few teams in the country that regularly use sets with six offensive linemen on the field, leaving plenty of work for the "loser" of the left tackle battle. With that said, it would be highly impressive if Bredeson was able to capture the job at this young stage in his career.
There are a few additional nuggets, including the fact that true freshman (and top overall recruit) Rashan Gary made the cut as a starter, even if Baumgardner rightly indicates that "starters don't matter here" when it comes to the defensive line. That group is as deep and talented as any in the country, and there will certainly be a free-flowing rotation on game days.
The game against Hawaii probably isn't the best way to evaluate Michigan's future prospects, simply because they are vastly superior than the Rainbow Warriors. Still, we will know much more about the depth chart after the opener kicks off and that will be pleasant.
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