Football Michigan Monday The Rivalry

Michigan Monday: Spring Game Thoughts

Michigan Monday

The Michigan Wolverines held their spring game on April 15, just like the Buckeyes did, so I did not get to watch the game live. In fact, I went all week without watching it. On Sunday, however, I decided to sit down and subject myself to a second spring game. And to be honest, it wasn’t all that bad.

At this point, I’m still learning the depth chart, and Michigan may be too. When you only return a small batch of experience on defense, a depth chart cannot be done in ink until about the third week of September.

This being a spring game, I can’t sit here and pass any judgment on the offensive line or defensive line or the secondary because various units are split and the cohesion isn’t yet there. What I ended up doing is simply jotting down some notes on the players who will ultimately make up that defensive line or secondary or offensive line.

Since this is spring football for me as well (and also because I’m hungry and want to get this posted as quickly as possible so that I can go eat lunch), today’s Michigan Monday will be presented to you in vibrant Bullet Point Format.

+ Middle linebacker Devin Bush Jr.
Bush is listed at 5-foot-11 and 232 pounds, so he’s not your prototypical middle linebacker. Though, to be fair, what is “prototypical” for a Don Brown defense, other than electrified sinew and unbridled intentions, of course. Bush was a terror on the blitz up the middle, but don’t get too excited about that because the offensive lines are still being settled. I’m told that he is a better run stopper than blitzer, and I was also given permission to shame this person publicly if he turns out to be wrong. So what if he’s great at both, but just slightly better at blitzing? Oh, you better believe there will be some shaming going on. Anyway, with what Michigan had at this spot a year ago, this could be one of those areas where a new starter actually improves the position, even as a true sophomore. Here he does a nice job of avoiding the guard and making the tackle.

+ Peppersbacker Khaleke Hudson
Hudson was one of the more impressive players on the day. On one play he would line up on the edge close to the line of scrimmage as an outside blitzer, and a play or two later he would be defending a tight end in the slot, and doing it all rather well. He’s listed at 6-foot and 205 pounds, so he sort of looks like a much, much, much taller Jabrill Peppers. Just a sophomore, there is reason for Michigan fans to be excited here.

+ Sam Linebacker Noah Furbush
Furbush was at the Sam, which is the same position that Khaleke Hudson played, but they look very different doing it, as Furbush is listed at 6-foot-5 and 238 pounds. Former Wolverine Marcus Ray said that Furbush could be the Sam on running downs and Hudson the guy on passing downs, but I was impressed with Furbush in coverage as well. This position may be more specialized than it was a year ago, but don’t expect it to be any less versatile.

+ Quarterback Wilton Speight
It was not a good afternoon for Speight, who completed just 9-of-26 passes for 78 yards with two interceptions. It was pretty windy, however, and as Buckeye fans have seen, wind is scary for quarterbacks. I’m not going to put much stock in a spring game performance, especially considering what we’ve seen from him in the past. He did look like he was trying to place footballs instead of simply throwing the ball, but that’s also kind of just how he throws. My big problem with him, however, is that even with a season of starting under his belt, he is still fully capable of some very bad reads and throws.

+ Quarterback Brandon Peters
The redshirt freshman Peters looked like the better quarterback on the day, going 9-of-17 for 160 yards and a touchdown and interception. He impressed me and surprised me with his mobility. He’s not a stiff. He’s got a Trace McSorley vibe about him, but he’s taller. I know some are already putting him into a quarterback controversy with Speight, but that seems like too much excitement for an offense that likes things very, very calm. And anyway, Peters threw an interception just as bad as Speight’s. I’ll believe this isn’t Speight’s offense when I see it.

+ Cornerback Keith Washington
Washington is either a sophomore or a junior, I’m not looking it up. I’m tired of dealing with Michigan’s roster practice of not listing redshirts until they decide if they want the player around for a fifth year. It’s like they’re not even thinking of people like me. Washington hasn’t played much so far in his career that I have seen, but I was impressed with his run support in this game. He was also solid in the slot. I have no idea where he is on the depth chart, but he made some plays.

+ Receiver Eddie McDoom
It was good to see Eddie McDoom used down the field and not just on sweeps and end arounds. Of course, he was hurt on one of those downfield plays, so maybe his ligaments are trying to send him a message. Or maybe it was just cramps from running so far.

+ Defensive end Carlo Kemp
Kemp is probably a redshirt freshman and he was one of the guys who stood out for me. He was fine in pass rush, but I was more impressed by his discipline and run defense. He did a nice job defending the zone read, and here he is diagnosing a screen play almost immediately.

+ Tight end Nick Eubanks
I’m just going to assume Nick Eubanks redshirted last season as a true freshman, but at 6-foot-6, he looks like an interesting target, and one who can get down the field. Keep an eye on him down the road.

+ Running back Chris Evans
Evans was the punt returner, which is interesting to me. I think he could do well there. He didn’t do much in this game, but you should really only judge tailbacks in spring games if they do something to stand out. I expect he will be the starter this year as a sophomore, but Karan Higdon is going to have something to say about that.

+ Running back Karan Higdon
Higdon was one of the rare running backs who looked good in a spring game. He finished with 81 yards on 12 carries, with two touchdowns. I don’t know if he can win the job, but I bet the No. 2 will have some games with more carries than the No. 1.

+ Running back Ty Isaac
I have no idea. He looked good in this game, but I have seen enough to know that Isaac can disappear for long stretches. Anything they get from him is a bonus, but it could be a big bonus. I’m just not going to hold my breath waiting.

+ Running back Kareem Walker
After sitting out last year, the former Ohio State commit finally got some action. He had a good moment or two, including a 10-yard touchdown run that was called back for an illegal formation. He might need all of 2017 just to get back into a groove. I’m not sure how many carries there are for him, but we have seen Jim Harbaugh use a deep committee before. Though I wonder how deep that committee would go if he could actually find one guy to rely upon.

+ Receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones
DPJ was in the slot quite a bit, which I’m not sure is where he’ll end up, but whatever. He’s an elite athlete, so wherever he is, he should be able to make something of it. He was covered well in this game, catching a pair of short passes. If I recall, he was defended well by Keith Washington. We should never expect too much from a freshman receiver in the spring, but just know that he’ll be much better for it in the fall.

+ Receiver Tarik Black
Black is another early enrollee and he definitely looks the part of a Michigan wideout. He’s around 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds. He caught some passes, including a short touchdown down the sideline. He could have had another on a deeper route with a better pass. Black looks like he’s going to be a problem for teams in the red zone eventually, and maybe even this season. Michigan needs to find replacements for Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson, and Black looked like a guy who might want to volunteer.

+ Defensive end Rashan Gary
Gary is the only guy ever listed at 6-foot-5 and 287 pounds who looks like he could be a linebacker. It’s going to be fun to see what he can do with more snaps this year. I expect the hype to be very annoying for the rest of the Big Ten.

+ Safety Josh Metellus
Metellus is a true sophomore and I’m not sure at all about him yet. There were some iffy moments in the spring game — including getting beaten deep one-on-one by a walk-on, but then when you watch his range coming over from the far hash here, you can see the potential.

+ Cornerback Benjamin St. Juste
A true freshman, St. Juste is a 6-foot-3 Canadian with long arms who had some nice battles with Tarik Black. He faded a bit at the end, but it’s easy to see why Michigan is excited about him. He seems more fluid than Jeremy Clark used to at 6-foot-4.

+ Cornerback Ambry Thomas
Thomas is another true freshman corner who looks like he’s got a nice future ahead of him. I don’t actually have any notes written down about him, but he stood out to me a couple of times. He looks physically ready to compete right now.

+ Defensive end Donovan Jeter
Jeter is an early enrollee and he looks like a future strongside defensive end/three tech who can move. He had a nice third quarter, flashing into the backfield a couple of times. I had to look him up to see who he was. I won’t have to do that anymore.

+ Kicker Quinn Nordin
Nordin was the top kicker in the 2016 class and didn’t play last year. The kid looks like he has a pretty big leg. I think he made like a 48-yarder or something. I fast-forwarded a bit through the special teams, so I apologize.

One Response

Comments are closed.