There have been many changes since last season.
Gone is long time defensive cooridinator Jim Herrmann, Also gone is offensive coordinator Terry Malone.
There are even rumblings that Head Coach Lloyd Carr is on the hot seat.
A 7-5 record will do that at a place like Michigan where expectations are high every season.
But sitting in the eye of the storm is Michigan Quarterback Chad Henne. Henne, who swept in to Ann Arbor in 2004 as the surprise starter when incumbent Matt Gutierrez went down with a shoulder injury. He took the Big Ten by storm but struggled last season as the offense suffered through injuries to offensive linemen, receivers, and running backs.
Chad Henne- Superstar?
When considering Chad Henne it’s difficult to reconcile his stellar 2004 season with his dismal 2005 performance. In retrospect, he wasn’t as good as his 2004 statistics nor as bad as his numbers in 2005.
In 2004 he benefiited greatly from all-world receiver Braylon Edwards.
Many are quick to crticize Edwards for occasionally dropping “easy” passes but considering the acrobatic catches that he was forced to make due to Henne’s inaccurracy he was probably shocked to see a ball actually come right to him.
In 2005, the roof fell in around Henne but he showed great resiliency if not great results as the Wolverines suffered, by their standards, a horrible season.
So what of this season?
Chad Henne is the focal point of Michigan’s hope for this season.
With the transfer of Matt Gutierrez the Wolverines are paper thin at the quarterback position.
A severe injury to Henne will almost insure a .500 (or worse) season. A poor season by him will mean almost the same thing.
You can replace an injured offensive lineman or two. The Wolverines have talented if unproven running backs and wide receivers but there is NO ONE to replace Chad Henne. It would be like 1984 all over again when Jim Harbaugh broke his arm and the Wolverines struggled to finish 6-6.
So watch Chad Henne as he plays this season, and hope that he gets up after every play.
Not only does Chad Henne hold the Wolverine’s prospects for a great season in his hands but perhaps Lloyd Carr’s future as well.