The Wolverine

April 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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48 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2020 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan fifth-year senior run- ning back Chris Evans returned to the team this winter after miss- ing last season due to an academic- related suspension, and he was wel- comed back with open arms. Evans was initially suspended at the start of spring practice last year before Jim Harbaugh announced June 2 that Evans would miss the entire season, though the coach left the door open for his back's return. Evans worked out at Xplosive Per- formance Academy in Southfield, Mich., to stay in shape and wrote an eight-page letter to the university to appeal the decision. Harbaugh re- ported Nov. 2 that Evans' petition was successful. "When he gets back in school, he'll be able to participate full-on in football again," the coach said. "My knowledge of the situation is he had a meeting — a scheduled meeting — to see if he would be reinstated back into school. It's my understanding that he will be for the winter term, and we will welcome him back to the football team." Evans racked up 1,722 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in his three years playing at U-M, in addition to 40 career receptions for 392 yards and two scores. "He's come back, and he's been highly motivated," running backs coach Jay Harbaugh said in a Febru- ary podcast with former U-M All- American offensive lineman Jon Jan- sen. "He's been a leader; he's been, by all accounts, really impressive in the workouts and been on top of his business. That's great to see. "As a coach, you love having that kind of veteran leadership, especially with a guy like him who hasn't had the smoothest, most perfect ride. But that's now a strength for him." Evans will at least add depth to a position that boasted a solid one-two punch last year with then-freshman Zach Charbonnet and redshirt frosh Hassan Haskins. "Football-wise he's a guy who will be great to have, because he has a certain type of elusiveness to him that not many other guys on our ros- ter have, and it's pretty special in the scope of our conference and na- tionally," Jay Harbaugh added. "Just what he can do in tight spaces with his feet, with his hips … it will be a nice added weapon for us." DON BROWN TALKS OHIO STATE AND MORE Michigan has some work to do to catch Ohio State on the football field, especially defensively. Coordinator Don Brown's group got gashed for 359 yards on the ground in a 35-14 loss in Madison Sept. 21 before re- sponding with several outstanding performances, including three points allowed to Iowa, 14 to Notre Dame and 10 to Michigan State in wins. "I thought the response from the Wisconsin loss was what you'd ex- pect from a Michigan football team," Brown said. "Guys went to work, played hard, got it right and we went on a scenario there where we won seven of eight games and gave up less than 300 yards in all those games." Even Indiana was 24th in the coun- try offensively when the Wolverines shut them down in the second-to-last game of the year. But Brown realizes his unit needs to be better than it has been in the last two games with the Buckeyes. The defense gave up 62 points two years ago and 56 last season, both in losses. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the job done in the Ohio State game, and that will be something that we have to deal with, and we are dealing with and we are preparing for [it]," he said. "Bottom line is we just shut up and go to work." He was pleased with how his   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Chris Evans Returns Rested And Ready Evans compiled 1,722 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in his first three seasons as a Wolverine, plus he notched 40 catches for 392 yards and two scores. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 2020 MICHIGAN SCHEDULE Date Opponent Sept. 5 at Washington Sept. 12 Ball State Sept. 19 Arkansas State Sept. 26 Wisconsin Oct. 3 Penn State Oct. 10 at Michigan State Oct. 17 at Minnesota Oct. 24 Purdue Nov. 7 Maryland Nov. 14 at Rutgers Nov. 21 Indiana Nov. 28 at Ohio State

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