Could Michigan Use Ambry Thomas on Offense?

ambry thomas michigan returner touchdown

Could Michigan Use Ambry Thomas on Offense?

Football

Could Michigan Use Ambry Thomas on Offense?

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Michigan cornerback/kick returner Ambry Thomas got the Wolverines back in the game on Saturday, returning a kick for 99 yards to the house, bridging the deficit to 21-10 early in the second half.

With electric speed, the offense would love to use some of his skills. Specifically, his speed.

According to fellow second-year player Nico Collins, there’s no one that can compare to Thomas when it comes to how fast he is.

“Nobody – that dude’s explosive!” Collins said. “He’s fast. He’s a great dude.

He continued: “We got a couple players on our team that’s fast, too. But Ambry’s like different. He’s a fast dude.”

Asked about his availability on offense on Monday at his weekly press conference, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh couldn’t rule out the possibility that the defensive back could end up with the ball in his hands.

“I think we could,” Harbaugh said. “Consider all things.”

Thomas has worked at offense before, yet we haven’t seen it take place in a game.

He spilled in a media availability last year in October that he had spent some time getting the ball in his hands during practice.

“We’ve got a little something,” Thomas said. “We’re working on something right now, I can’t really say nothing. We’re working on something right now, they’re seeing what I can do with the ball in my hands on kick return and they’re trying to make something happen.

“I’m trying to go both ways. I’m a playmaker. I like the ball in my hands. I believe I can help this team no matter where I’m at on the field.”

That never coalesced — probably in part due to his revelation — but after the electrifying return on Saturday, the possibility is seeming more like a probability.

Michigan wide receivers coach Jim McElwain certainly is open to the idea, citing another Wolverines defensive player who used to get the ball in his hands just a few short years ago.

“I think everywhere we’ve been, if there’s a guy with a skill set that can help you, it doesn’t matter what position they are,” McElwain said. “He’s done it before – I think they put six or seven O-linemen in there. So I think it’s definitely something that could happen with anybody.

“The precedent’s been set, because I think before they did it with a pretty decent guy by the name of – Peppers did some things?”

But would cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich be willing to let him go over and work on the other side of the ball?

As he said on Wednesday, if that’s what the head coach wants, he has very little say in the matter.

“Would I be willing? I don’t think I have a choice!” Zordich said. “Hey – the more he can do!

“If you think about it, if he’s returning kicks, that’s out of my court. Out of my court. If Coach Harbaugh wants to take him, he can take him!”

We don’t know at this juncture if Thomas already has been working with the offense or not.

When asked if he’s been practicing with the receivers or on that side of the ball in preparation for Saturday’s Western Michigan game, McElwain demurred, saying that that’s a secret that the team doesn’t want to divulge at this juncture.

“Yeah, let’s go pin that on the Western board, right?”

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