Leaders and Best: Inside Michigan Football (6/29)

Leaders and Best: Inside Michigan Football (6/29)

Football

Leaders and Best: Inside Michigan Football (6/29)


Inside information on the Michigan Wolverines football team.


Leaders and Best: Inside Michigan Football (6/29)

It’s the offseason, so new information is few and far between.

And, we were out of the game for a minute (end of spring ball until two weeks ago) so some of this material might be a little dated, but we’re going to go ahead and delve in, anyways.

Let’s start with the defensive side of the ball:

If possible, the defense looks better and faster than it did before.

After speaking with multiple sources close to Michigan, I’ve heard that the defense looks absolutely unstoppable. And faster. It was noted that the defense somehow looks even more dominant than it did last season.

If you’re looking for players, some of them are the usual suspects that I don’t even have to name (Bush, Gary, Winovich). But, some others have been equally as impressive.

Khaleke Hudson has taken a major, major step forward at the VIPER position. He came on strong late in the year in 2017, but he’s taken his game to yet even another level this offseason. He’s been absolutely unstoppable from what WolverinesWire is told.

Speaking of unstoppable, remember Mo Hurst? Well, third-year defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour has aptly followed Hurst in being a force in the middle. I’m told that the offensive line (more on them in a minute – but we’re told they’ve improved significantly) cannot stop him at all, which is what we were hearing about Hurst at this point in the offseason this year. We’ll see about Aubrey Solomon, because he was out a bit of the offseason after having an emergency appendectomy (as he posted on social media).

We’re told that the safeties have absolutely loved having Chris Partridge and Devin Bush Sr. and have fully bought into what he’s selling. It’s much more nuanced than what was going on with Brian Smith – and that’s not a knock on Smith. Like at linebacker and as the former recruiting coordinator, Partridge is a perfectionist and demands attention to detail. That’s paid off in a big way. As far as what our source says, Josh Metellus and Jaylen Kelly-Powell have taken massive steps forward. Metellus, in particular, has looked like a different player – which jibes with what some players said this spring. We’re told that his ability to cover has increased significantly, and he found himself giving up barely anything when targeted as such. For Kelly-Powell, we’re told that he’s been in rotation with the ones, and that, after moving around all offseason, he’s focused on honing the safety position as of current. The other player to watch is Brad Hawkins who is still getting acclimated. Once he does, expect him to be a factor. Since arriving this summer, German Green has shown some things. Be on the lookout.

A lot of the cornerbacks missed time with injury – as reported this spring. David Long and Lavert Hill, when able to go, are lockdown. Ambry Thomas is a player we’ve been hyping, and it’s well-deserved. He has a chance to play this year, even though Brandon Watson has continued to impress. Our source noted that in the secondary, if Long and Hill are in, the other players know they’re likely to be targeted, and it’s made a huge difference having some of the best cornerbacks in the nation in the defensive backfield.

The offense is still a work in progress, but…

It was looking better and better as it went along, which is a testament to how the staff has prioritized that side of the ball. It’s difficult to judge them accurately given the nature of the defense, but there have still been standouts.

It’s been said before, but reiterated: the offense looks very different with Shea Patterson in at quarterback. It’s obvious that he’s gifted. Though we downplayed it in last week’s mailbag, when Patterson is at the helm, Michigan is more likely to go with more RPOs. Brandon Peters has taken a step forward, per our source, but multiple sources have indicated how amazed they were by Joe Milton, the true freshman early-enrollee. Notable was his strong arm, and how, in the spring scrimmage, he through a skinny post nearly 70 yards – on a rope. He’s going to be more special than originally envisioned.

We didn’t cover the running backs very much, but both Karan Higdon and Chris Evans have both really bought into what Ben Herbert has been preaching, with Higdon up to 203 (from 190) and Evans up to 217 (from 210).

Speaking of Ben Herbert’s influence, our source said that it’s been evident with both Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, which we reported earlier. We’re told that Peoples-Jones looks elite, yet, Black still might have a very slight edge. We also heard that Oliver Martin was impressing. We’re also told the Jake McCurry hype is absolutely true.

About the oft-reported offensive line: this isn’t new information at this juncture, but we’re told that offensive line coach Ed Warinner has really done a great job with the unit. When he arrived, the calls were obviously too complicated. He simplified them, and now the entire unit is performing at least ten times better, our source said.

One more note:

While much of the offseason talk has centered around Ben Herbert and the strength and conditioning staff, our source said that nutritionist Abigail O’Connor‘s influence has been just as valuable. She’s strict and the players know exactly what and how much to eat for every meal, based off their goals.

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