Traverse City Record-Eagle


Ready for some football

By Mark UrbanEven though the lockout didn’t really prevent much in the NFL, the long wait is over in terms of actual games — even the preseason ones. College football players are also reporting to campus. On Monday (even Sunday at midnight for some), the prep football season got under way with the first day of practice.

Are you ready for some football? Yes, I most definitely am — especially with Fantasy Football draft season rapidly approaching.

Besides the decision of whom to pick with the No. 10 and 11 selections in Fantasy Football, here are a few questions that need answering soon.

DETROIT LIONS: How many of their top players will actually make it to the start of the season? Already the Lions have lost one of its top draft picks for the season (Mikel Leshoure) and another for most, if not all, of the preseason (Nick Fairley), one has to wonder the next to fall.

I keep waiting for Matthew Stafford’s shoulder to go out while attempting a pass.

Sure, it’s the pessimistic approach to take. But I’ve been following the Lions for a long time. Speaking of a long time, did the Lions learn nothing from “Another One Bites the Dust” when trying to come out with a nickname for its defensive line? As Jimmy “Spiderman” Allen learned, a catchy song or nickname is often the kiss of death. Detroit started out 4-0 in 1980, the song hit the airwaves and the Lions went 2-10 the rest of the way.

MICHIGAN STATE: How will the co-Big Ten champions (one can argue the outright title winners after the Ohio State forfeits) follow up its 2010 campaign?

The Spartans return a lot of talent on offense and a lot of scary, yet inexperienced pieces on defense. If their offensive line gels and MSU can survive the scary October stretch of at Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and at Nebraska, it could be another special season in East Lansing. It could also be another 8-4 or 7-5 season.

MICHIGAN: What will the fourth-choice head coach Brady Hoke do in his first season in Ann Arbor?

The Wolverines got a ‘Michigan Man’ and he seems to have reeled in a strong recruiting class. But simply qualifying for a Mediocre Bowl won’t do any more.

And what will happen to the offense if Denard Robinson struggles in a system he’s not suited for? Whether U-M goes 8-4, 4-8, a little better or a little worse, it’ll be fun to see things unfold this season.

MICHIGAN MAC: Since another coach left Central Michigan for bigger and better things, the Chippewas have rejoined Western and Eastern Michigan in irrelevancy.

One of these teams need to reclaim the title of third-best (or possibly second-best) Division I team in the state?

PREPS: There were a number of good stories in the 2010 prep football season. But who will make a run — a serious run — at a state title in 2011?

No team from the area made it to the semifinals last year and most of the area was gone by the second weekend of the playoffs.

We need a better showing this season. That doesn’t mean it will be a failure without a state trophy, but let’s get a few more postseason runs going.

  • Gene

    Michigan State’s Mark Dell made a v. nice catch last night in the first preseason game for the Denver Broncos. I hate to jinx him, but he is one to watch.

  • Faygo

    How ’bout them Lions Friday night?  If Stafford isn’t Mr. Fragile, they are going to be something finally, and I am a fan of 49 years (starting with the Thanksgiving beatdown of the Packers in 1962, at Tiger Stadium.  I was there, and 11).  Yes, it’s been tough.  But nobody wants to play them now. Terrible about Mikel Leshoure; he was a great pick.  Reminds me of Steve Owens, a number 1 pick  and Heisman  Trophy winnner who was the Lions’ first thousand yard rusher.  Never came back.  Doubt that Leshoure will, too.  Anyway, I enjoyed this, but it was too short.  Please dig deeper next time, and GO GREEN!!

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