It is recreation week for Michigan soccer: This is what we’re watching


Free Press sports activities author Orion Sang appears forward to Saturday’s season opener for Michigan soccer towards Minnesota:

Subsequent up

Matchup: No. 17 Michigan (9-4, 6-3 Huge Ten in 2019) at No. 21 Minnesota (11-2, 7-2 in 2019).

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, TCF Financial institution Stadium, Minneapolis.

TV/radio: ABC; WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050).

Line: Wolverines by 2½.

Know the foe

Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan drops back for a pass in the first quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan drops again for a go within the first quarter towards the Indiana Hoosiers at TCF Financial institution Stadium.

The Golden Gophers completed 11-2, second within the Huge Ten West, in P.J. Fleck’s third season and ranked No. 10 within the remaining AP ballot. A mix of an explosive offense and veteran protection carried Minnesota to a 9-0 begin. The Golden Gophers return quarterback Tanner Morgan, who had the Huge Ten’s second-best go effectivity ranking and averaged over 10 yards per try, and star receiver Rashod Bateman, who caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns; in addition they misplaced loads of key items, together with No. 1 receiver Tyler Johnson, operating again Rodney Smith, star security Antoine Winfield Jr., edge rusher Carter Coughlin, defensive finish Sam Renner and linebackers Kamal Martin and Thomas Barber. Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca left for Penn State. It is truthful to marvel how the new-look protection will carry out, and whereas arguably the 2 most necessary gamers on offense return, might there be some transition prices as Mike Sanford takes over as play-caller?

[ Michigan football’s 2020 depth chart: Our final projection ]

3 issues to look at

Michigan’s cornerback state of affairs: Due to Morgan and Bateman, Minnesota had one of many nation’s most explosive passing assaults, with two receivers who eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards. This appeared like a better matchup when Bateman initially opted out of the 2020 season — however then he opted again in, which creates a headache for Michigan’s secondary. The Wolverines are changing each beginning cornerbacks and a three-year beginning security; two of these positions seem like settled, whereas the seek for a No. 2 cornerback continues. There will not be any alternative to ease into the schedule with non-conference opponents — Michigan’s secondary must be prepared instantly.

Michigan quarterback Joe Milton high-fives fans as he runs down the tunnel before the Middle Tennessee State game at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, August 31, 2019.
Michigan quarterback Joe Milton high-fives followers as he runs down the tunnel earlier than the Center Tennessee State recreation at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, August 31, 2019.

All eyes on Milton: Michigan hasn’t formally named the beginning quarterback but, however the assumption is redshirt sophomore Joe Milton will take over underneath heart. Milton is seemingly extra fable than man: He has performed sparingly as a backup quarterback and really rushed extra occasions than he has handed, but these throughout the program swear by his bodily expertise and have praised his development this offseason. Milton does have an enormous arm, and has proven he can run the ball effectivelyt; if he can wonderful tune the opposite areas of his recreation, who is aware of what’s in retailer for Michigan’s offense? The Wolverines have not had a star quarterback throughout coach Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, they usually’re certainly hoping Milton can emerge as that kind of transcendent participant.

SUPERMAN: How Joe Milton might be Michigan’s model of Cam Newton

MORE: Why Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh wants Joe Milton to be one thing particular

Staying wholesome: Michigan has not launched the testing outcomes of the soccer program, however the Wolverines’ total testing numbers — culled from the athletic division as a complete — have revealed few constructive outcomes. Michigan was one of many few Huge Ten applications that did not must shut down offseason exercises attributable to an outbreak. It will need to hold that over to the season — already, we have seen plenty of groups from different Energy 5 conferences adversely affected attributable to COVID-19. Soccer is already considerably of a recreation of attrition because of the bodily nature of the game; groups that keep away from outbreaks (and the absences that happen together with them) will discover themselves with on-field benefits over groups that do not.

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Comply with him on Twitter @orion_sang. Learn extra on the Michigan Wolverines and join our Wolverines e-newsletter.

This text initially appeared on Detroit Free Press: It is recreation week for Michigan soccer: This is what we’re watching





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