Monday, April 3, 2023

Michigan Monday: Spring Game Thoughts

Michigan held its Spring Game on Saturday in cold and windy Ann Arbor.  The temperatures and limited seating in the Big House (due to the new video boards going up) kept a lot of the fans away.  With all of that, Michigan did put on an entertaining game.  

Many folks did not play including Will Johnson, Blake Corum, AJ Henning, Tyler Morris, Drake Nugent, Myles Hinton and Zak Zinterand Donovan Edwards.  As you know Blake and Donovan are coming off surgeries.   JJ did play and even though he made some nice throws, was also a bit inconsistent with a bad overthrow for a pick on the first drive.  We didn't see him at all in the 2nd half.  


RB: Mullings looks much more comfortable now as a full time RB and made some nice runs.  One of two surprises of the day was true freshman Ben Hall from Georgia, who was a bit of a controversial recruit.  He struggled during his senior year but Mike Hart saw something and honored his scholarship.   He looked like a nice combo of speed and power and played a ton in the 2nd half with a couple nice runs and a TD. 

CB: We heard a ton of hype out of camp on Walker going from WR to CB and he is still very raw and needs a ton of work this summer.  At this point, I do not consider him a starter at CB.  We saw better play from Berry and McBurrows who has been injured most of his college career.  

TE: No need to worry about depth at TE.  IU transfer AJ Barner is an instant starter and Schoonover replacement.  Hibner had a nice catch and run but the turf monster got him before he got into the end zone.  AJ is a natural ball catcher and will be a great addition to the offense.  

WR: The surprise of the day was walk-on junior Peyton O'Leary who ran great routes and showed great hands catching the ball.  Michigan's WR room is loaded but my guess is Peyton will see the field a ton this Fall.  Peyton had over 100 yards receiving and scored the winning 2-point conversion for the win.  Maybe a Ronnie Bell "move the chains" role. 

Edge: I was most impressed by transfer Josaiah Stewart who is slim but very fast off the ball. He is going to make a ton of plays next season.  Jaylen Harrell also had a very nice game and was always in the backfield.  Look for Derrick Moore to be very good before he leaves Ann Arbor.  I have a feeling about that kid.

LB: Had a bit of an up and down day.  I saw Nebraska transfer LB Ernest Hausmann makes some nice speed plays but also missed some tackles.  Nice to see NHG back but he gave up the big Hibner play.  There were pluses and minuses with this group but lots of talent. 

Back-up QB: Continues to be a mystery.  Jack Tuttle got the start and looked really good early running the ball.  The issue is, he is not very good under pressure and turned the ball over a few times.  Liked his running and throws a good ball, but turnovers really concern me.  Orji has really improved and is not just a running QB, he can throw and looks to be an option at back-up and probably some short yardage situations.  Warren knows the offense very welll and would be a safe pick for the back-up role. 

Both lines are deep and talented: The offensive line opened up holes for the RB's and the defensive line was stout at times.  Love the run stopping ability of Grant and Goode playing next to each other.  That is a ton of humanity in one place!!  Kris Jenkins had a nice TFL early as well.   

The game was fun and sloppy at times. The Maize won the steaks and Blue had the hot dogs but I believe everyone left the field healthy.  Tuttle got hit pretty hard on a running play but got up and headed to the sideline on his own.  

Butt and Gardner were in the booth for the Big Ten.  Devin is really good in the booth but needs to dial it back a little bit.  

The thing that stood out to me was the talent and depth.  Michigan always had limited talent but now there is talent everywhere and even with the back-ups.

  • Juwan is going to need some warm bodies for next season as both Hunter and Kobe left the program this weekend.  They're also going to need scoring, as all their offensive scoring either transfered or headed to the NBA.  Juwan is going to need to find that 1st year transfer portal magic. 
  • Speaking of heading to the NBA, former Wolverine Frankie Collins is heading to the draft. 
  • Nice to see coach Fisher in the stands and congrats to Brian and SDSU, even though they beat my son's FAU team at the buzzer.  My son did make it to Houston and had a ton of fun, even though it was a tough loss.  
  • Brandon Naurato was finally named the full-time head coach of the hockey program.


Cormac said...

Bob, you really thought DG was good in the booth? On the contrary, I thought he was awful. In fact, I often resorted to hitting the mute button when DG would run his mouth. He talked too much and giggled like a little girl. Someone on FB said he won an Emmy, but they forgot to mention that the emmy was for interviewing.

Chas said...

Great "color" commentary, but where was the play-by-play - they seemed to have forgot that there was a football game going on out there and left the audience mystified with respect to who was carrying the ball / making plays, etc.

Thom said...

Cormac, you are correct. Devin should have been in the stands watching. For some reason he thought it was all about him.

Cormac said...

Thom, thank you! From my observation, he seems fine discussing plays or players in other forums, like the Michigan Insider.

JCB said...

The split screen was annoying, also. I don't want to see the announcers and rather have a larger view of the field of play, especially since Devin and Jake were not describing the action very well.