The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 28 of 67

OCTOBER 2022 THE WOLVERINE 29 Saturdays are surprising to me, because that's something we see every day here on State Street. To see the work he puts in on a daily basis, I'm glad and happy for him that that pays off for him in that sta- dium. So, it's not a surprise to me at all, based on everything that he's done in the dark in spring ball, fall camp and all that." The downside so far? Senior quarter- back Cade McNamara experienced insult and injury. Booed at home while strug- gling against the Warriors, McNamara left the UConn game with a lower body injury that Harbaugh says will keep him out several weeks. His numbers through three games: a relatively pedestrian 14-for-25 for 180 yards, with a touchdown, an interception and 3 sacks. His injury means grad student Alan Bowman (6-for-7, 60 yards, 1 TD) or walk-on sophomore Davis Warren (3-for-6, 70 yards) will slide in as the backup quarterback. OFFENSIVE LINE Early shakeups and cracks in the armor characterized this group in the early go- ing. The starting line was supposed to consist of grad Ryan Hayes at left tackle, senior Trevor Keegan at left guard, grad transfer Olu Oluwatimi at center, ju- nior Zak Zinter at right guard and senior Trente Jones at right tackle, with senior Karsen Barnhart as a top backup. Hayes sat out the first game with an injury, while Barnhart got nicked up in the opener. That brought on sophomore Giovanni El-Hadi for extensive time in a sub role and some shuffling up front. Add in the sacks — including the in- jury-producing one on McNamara — and there's been concern about what Har- baugh termed the "leakage" up front. On the other hand, the same group paved the way for the massive scoring outburst. "It's a process," Moore said. "We've got to go through the same process ev- ery week, and it's going to change. We're going to play better players, play bet- ter competition in the Big Ten, and we know that. We're just excited for the challenge. "I've seen the progress in practice. I can see it in the game bit by bit. It takes time. The line we had last year wasn't what they were in Week 12 at Week 1. It takes some time for those guys to build that rhythm and chemistry. They're starting to do it, so we see the process going and see the process rolling." WIDE RECEIVERS Michigan sorted through a host of tal- ented veterans in the early going. Senior captain Ronnie Bell and junior Roman Wilson stood out the most in the pro- duction department. Bell showed early he'd recovered fully from the opening-game knee injury he suffered last season. Through three games, Bell had racked up team highs in catches (14) and yards (181) with 1 touch- down. Meanwhile, Wilson provided some se- rious big-play ability. He accounted for 171 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 6 catches, including a 61-yard touchdown. Wilson also added a 21-yard TD on the ground. Johnson led the Wolverines in receiv- ing last year and hasn't gone anywhere. He collected 5 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown in the early going. Junior A.J. Henning snagged 5 catches for 88 yards, while a host of tight ends and running backs also caught passes. Notable by their early statistical ab- sence — sophomore Andrel Anthony (1 catch, 5 yards) and Michigan's trio of tal- ented freshmen. Darrius Clemons, Tyler Morris and Amorion Walker each made 1 catch in the opening three games, with Walker seeing more time on the defen- sive side, Harbaugh dubbing him a two- way player. RUNNING BACKS Junior Blake Corum asserted himself as the bell cow early, piling up 34 rushing attempts for 235 yards (78.3 per game and 6.9 per carry) and 7 touchdowns in the opening three games. Corum's 5 rushing TDs against UConn tied the Michigan single-game record. Sophomore Donovan Edwards (15 carries, 90 yards, 2 TDs) sat that one out with an undisclosed injury. But that opened the door for freshman C.J. Stokes, who demonstrated quick feet and cutting ability. Stokes stepped in for 114 yards and a touchdown on 22 tries, giving a preview of coming attractions. Michigan slipped several others into action, given the blowouts, but those three appear ready to handle the bulk of the work. TIGHT ENDS Michigan hasn't needed heavy use of the tight ends as receivers early on and has kept that weaponry largely quiet. Se- nior Erick All (3 catches, 36 yards) and senior Luke Schoonmaker (3 receptions, 45 yards) kept their Harbaugh-assigned status as best tight ends in the nation largely under wraps. In fact, freshman Colston Loveland (4 catches, 33 yards) notched the most grabs in the nonconference campaign. Sophomore Max Bredeson — with 2 catches for 59 yards, including one for 56 — led in the yardage department. This group will not remain untapped for long. As the games grow closer and defenses assert themselves, Michigan's talent at tight end should rise to meet the challenge. Overall, it's been a three-game stretch of dramatic change for Michigan's of- fense. The McCarthy takeover and getting used to the absence of Hassan Haskins in the backfield have been the most noticeable. Harbaugh likes this team, and this offense. It won't likely remain a near Point-A-Minute crew, but it should pile up plenty along the way. ❏ Graduate student receiver Ronnie Bell led the team in catches (14) and yards (181) while scoring 1 touchdown through the non- conference portion of the U-M schedule. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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