- First, yikes. The offense was on some 2008 ish and it doesn't look like they're anywhere near where they need to be. Watching pulling guards run into other linemen during the I-formation power play was painful. Granted, the offensive line wasn't at full strength, but this could be supremely ugly.
- The defense looked... above average? Without Woolfolk and Floyd, the secondary didn't look like a crater and the defensive line/linebackers all looked OK against the run (the huge exception being Michael Cox's long touchdown run where he bowled over one of Michigan's defenders).
- If the game highlighted anything, it's that Michigan needs a new quarterback. Shocking though it may seem given Denard's production last year and Devin Gardner's upside, but neither of them are going to work in this offense. Michigan will have a new starting QB next year, book it.
- Specific problems with the quarterbacks: Denard had trouble making many of the throws. He still doesn't have much touch, especially on deep balls, and had trouble throwing over the offensive/defensive lines, sailing a lot of passes. Devin, who has the size, still has little or no technique. Watching him fling a 40-yard pass from his off foot was the most Pryor-Armpunt thing I've ever seen him do. Unless the new staff can drastically improve his fundamentals, Gardner won't ever see significant playing time at Michigan, and that's disappointing.
- Your running backs are still just guys that have legs and hold the football when it's given to them. Mike Shaw probably had the best day, making the right reads and getting into space. But even he was unimpressive. The others were all hit or miss with Fitzgerald Toussaint and Stephen Hopkins getting most of the other touches.
- Will Campbell looked like a large man that was able to stand straight up and not move when offensive linemen ran into him. He has zero technique but will be a functional plug for most of the season.
- Other defensive notes: Holy Blitzes. Michigan is going to be aggressive this year on defense, play lots of man coverage (yay!), and throw a lot of different looks at quarterbacks.
- People that impressed: Jake Ryan was as advertised in his recruiting profile: the archetypal linebacker with a nose for the ball. He'll see playing time this year. Carvin Johnson played well at free safety. Tony Anderson held his own against the first team offense, though I suspect he won't see much playing time when Woolfolk and Floyd return.
- Mike Martin: I know he had a pick-6 during practice, but he needs to not be used as a linebacker. I can see literally no benefit to having Martin line up on the outside, standing up, and dropping into coverage. This is worse than using Craig Roh as a linebacker. If you want Martin to take a zone drop from his nose tackle position, fine, but using him how they did in the spring game is a recipe for easy completions.
This is going to be a difficult year. Despite implementing plays for Denard to run the ball, it's clear that Michigan's offense is going to struggle mightily. They're not built for this system and it showed. The offense is going to be similar to 2008 when it was disjointed and the players spent most of the year just trying to figure out the basics. Fortunately, the defense should be able to make up for some of those shortcomings. It's going to be a blitz-heavy defensive front that will put pressure on the opposition to execute. So long as they can tackle well (still yet to be seen), the defense should look a lot like it did under the Carr years: force teams to march down the field and wait for them to make a mistake. With the caveat that this is just the spring game, it's difficult to see Michigan doing more than treading water this year.