1. As the saying goes, the quarterback gets too much praise and too much criticism, and Devin Gardner falls somewhere in between. Gardner, working with his third offensive coordinator, has seven turnovers (six interceptions and a fumble) this season. Might there be a quarterback change as Big Ten opens play Saturday?
2. Don’t be so sure Shane Morris, the backup quarterback, is the answer, either. Morris actually looks like he moves better in the pocket than Gardner and can look more comfortable, but he has been turnover prone, as well. That might be from lack of playing time, of course.
3. A team can’t win with turnovers, and Michigan has made those a habit. The Wolverines are tied for last nationally in turnover margin at minus-10. While they’ve outgained Notre Dame and Utah in losses, there’s no way a team can overcome the number of turnovers they’ve had.
4. There’s been little special about Michigan’s special teams. Matt Wile missed two important field goals at Notre Dame, punter Will Hagerup had a punt returned for a touchdown against Utah, and on that play it appears, based on video from the game, Michigan had just 10 players on the field.
5. Michigan coach Brady Hoke doesn’t like to publicly show anger, but it was hard to miss his heated exchange Saturday with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison after Michigan was penalized five yards for sideline interference. Coaches bicker all the time, but this was fiery. Hoke called it a “discussion.”
6. While receiver Devin Funchess clearly can be a weapon, and at 6-foot-5 a matchup nightmare, he can’t be the only target — even though he wears No. 1 — of the quarterbacks. But he seems to be the locked-in favorite. That’s not going to cut it going forward. Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson and tight end Jake Butt have to be more targeted.
7. Michigan is still without a dynamic, well-rounded tailback. Derrick Green has been steady and accounted for 85 total yards against Utah, but the Wolverines still don’t have a back who can carry the team on his … back.
8. The offensive line took most of the heat last year. While some of that has dissipated, concerns remain. UM gave up four sacks against Utah and eight for the season. One sack last Saturday came from a complete breakdown at right tackle. Michigan is ranked 83rd of 125 teams in tackles for loss allowed.
9. It’s probably a good idea for the quarterbacks coach to be on the field during games, but it’s also probably a better idea for the offensive coordinator to be in the press box. Doug Nussmeier has been on the field through four games. Michigan is ranked No. 78 nationally in total offense. Calling the game from the box might not be the solution, but it might help.
10. Michigan’s main issues are on offense, but the defense, which has had to deal with shortened fields because of turnovers, has had its moments. The most glaring was the secondary in the Notre Dame, burned by quarterback Everett Golson. Utah, which entered the game third nationally in scoring, scored on a punt return and four field goals, but the 28-yard touchdown pass to open the second half culminated an 87-second drive and was deflating for the defense.