The Michigan Wolverines have a lot of veteran talent on their roster this season. In this edition of the No Huddle Breakdown, we take a closer look at some of the impact players who will put their pants on one leg at a time like all of the others.
Jabrill Peppers #5
An all-around athlete, Peppers is 3rd in the Big Ten in Tackles For Loss (16) and the NCAA leader in Punt Return Yards (305 yds/15.3 Avg.) in 2016, and was recently named a semifinalist for the Lott and Thorpe awards. The Michigan star is a physical player with a thick frame and very good speed and agility. Peppers makes plays defensively due to his superb ability to key and diagnose plays, while using his speed to pursue the ball carrier. He is utilized as a spy versus the quarterback to guard against scrambling when the defensive line applies pressure. Peppers struggles shedding blocks, and often looks into the backfield trying to make a big play while in coverage.
Peppers is used offensively in Jet Sweeps and in ‘Wildcat’ formations, though rarely hands the ball off when aligned as a Quarterback. Peppers runs predominately to the right edge out of the Wildcat, so the Buckeyes can leverage against this alignment so long as they maintain backside discipline, guarding against a throwback.
Peppers is most dangerous in the return game as he possesses dangerous change of direction and agility.
The Buckeyes will need to play disciplined, assignment football when guarding against Peppers out of the Wildcat. He will likely attempt a pass and/or throwback in this game. Furthermore, the Buckeyes need to kick away from Peppers to avoid any momentum gains through the return game. When attacking Peppers on defense, the Buckeyes will find success by running directly at the Michigan star to limit his effectiveness in pursuit of the ball carrier.
Taco Charlton #33
Taco Charlton is among the sack leaders in the Big 10 with 7 in just 9 games thus far in 2016. Charlton shows very good upfield burst to go along with good speed off the edge and the agility to bend underneath the Tackle to disrupt the pocket. The Senior from Pickerington utilizes a complete repertoire of pass rush moves, including a very effective spin move to pressure the Quarterback. Against the run, Taco is able to shed blocks to make a play in multiple gaps. His speed can be used against him at times to create a running lane. The Buckeyes offensive line, primarily Isaiah Prince, will have to be fundamentally sound against Charlton to keep Barrett clean. Prince will have to maintain good balance, utilize his arm length to engage his hands and slow down Taco’s pass rush.
Chris Wormley #43
Another star on the Wolverine defensive line, Wormley has tallied 8 Tackles For Loss thus far in 2016. Chris possesses a very good combination of speed and strength on the edge. Wormley displays very good use of his hands when engaged and good cornering ability to disrupt the pocket. He shows solid mental awareness and discipline on the edge to guard against the read option and the range to pursue the ball to the sideline. Jamarco Jones will primarily draw Wormley in pass protection on Saturday afternoon.
Amara Darboh #82
The leading receiver for the Wolverines, Darboh has totaled 758 yards receiving on 44 receptions thus far in 2016, good for 4th in the Big Ten. Darboh has a long frame and good speed to gain leverage in his route tree. The redshirt Senior is a deep threat in the Wolverines downfield passing attack, while also showing success in bubble screens. Darboh is able to utilize his size, strength and arm length to consistently win contested catches. Amara does not possess change of direction to be effective in the open field, but rather uses play strength and an effective stiff arm to shed tacklers. Look for Gareon Conley to shadow Darboh through much of the game as the Buckeyes can match size and length to limit the success of Amara Darboh.
Ben Gedeon LB #42– Leading tackler, physical LB with good instincts versus the run. Shows good range and the ability to run sideline to sideline.
Jake Butt TE #88– Good all around TE (think Jason Witten) utilized in short and intermediate routes. Has great hands and consistently wins contested catches. Displays good awareness when settling in a zone and providing his QB with a good throwing lane.
Jourdan Lewis CB #26– A smart player who displays good key-and-diagnose traits. Excels in Man Coverage with good use of his hands and possesses good closing speed. Is good against the run by setting the edge on outside and making tackles in the open field.
De’Veon Smith RB #4– Probably the most improved running back in the Big Ten in 2016. Got better by improving his ability to gain yards after contact. Runs more aggressive than ever before and has the strength to break arm tackles. Wants nothing to do with pass blocking.