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Michigan was one of the first programs to open spring practice, meaning it will hold one of the first major spring games in college football on Saturday. After a historic 2021, all eyes will be on Ann Arbor to see how whether the program can maintain its momentum. 

Replacing seniors is never easy, but Michigan has its work cut out after losing Heisman finalist defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to the NFL. Star edge rusher David Ojabo, running back Hassan Haskins and safety Daxton Hill are also out the door, along with both coordinators. Maintaining historic production will be difficult with all the turnover. 

The Maize & Blue spring game will give fans an early opportunity to see the next generation of Wolverines players, who were drafted into either the Maize or Blue squad. New offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will lead the blue team, while defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale coaches the Maize. 

Here's what to watch in Michigan's spring game on Saturday. 

Viewing Information

Date: Saturday, April 2 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Michigan Stadium -- Ann Arbor, Michigan
Big Ten Network


1. Building staff chemistry: After putting together a historic season and winning the Big Ten, Michigan lost both coordinators. Broyles Award-winning offensive coordinator Josh Gattis opted to join Mario Cristobal at Miami, while defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald joined the other Harbaugh, John, with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Offensively, Harbaugh opted to stick with continuity. Moore, the team's offensive line coach, and quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss were promoted to co-coordinators, but now they have to rethink an offense with workhorse running back Hassan Haskins off to the NFL. On the other side, Harbaugh nabbed Jesse Minter from Vanderbilt to become defensive coordinator. Minter worked for Harbaugh's brother John with the Ravens for four years before taking the Commodores' DC job. 

Now, those three new coordinators have a critical spring to get on the same page and find the kind of camaraderie that helped the Wolverines reach such great heights in 2021. With so much key production off to the NFL, the coaching and development has to hit another level. 

2. Assessing the QB job: Michigan used both quarterbacks Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy in 2021 and appeared poised to hold an open competition in the spring. However, McCarthy was not a full participant in the spring due to arm soreness, so it was a showcase opportunity for McNamara instead. 

The Reno, Nevada, native completed 64.2% of his passes for 2,576 yards passing and 15 touchdowns while leading the Wolverines to their first Big Ten Championship in nearly 20 years. With McCarthy limited, the quarterback competition may bleed over to preseason camp. However, the upperclassman has an opportunity to learn and grow at a rate that can hold off the former five-star recruit with the extra practice time. 

3. Finding new defensive playmakers: Michigan had an elite defense in 2021, but now the bones of it are heading to the NFL. Hutchinson earned a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist and ranks No. 3 on the CBS Sports Draft Prospect Rankings. Hill and Ojabo also rank in the top 40. 

In fact, only two of Michigan's nine players with more than two sacks are returning: seniors Taylor Upshaw and Mazi Smith. This is where recruiting and development has to pay off, especially with a new defensive staff coming in. Michigan did not take a transfer on defense, so Harbaugh is putting faith in his returning roster.