The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 101 and I know he tore his ACL, but it didn't even seem like that. He didn't even care. He just focused on getting healthy again. I commend him for that." Alone, the four backs realize they might have trouble helping the team reach the lofty goals they've set heading into the season. Together they just might. There's strength in numbers after all, and even more when it's your friends next to you in the foxhole. "Justice Hayes' locker is right next to me. Drake is down the same aisle," Smith noted. "We all get along very well, all look to help each other out every step of the way. It's great competition, getting each other better, competing with each other in the weight room and on the field." At the end of the day, Hayes added, they'll all be the better for it, and so should Team 135. ❑ Doug Nussmeier's Leading Rushers Michigan first-year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is a quarterbacks coach first, but he's had plenty of outstanding running backs in his years as an OC. Here's how they fared under his tutelage: Ryan Mathews and Lonyae Miller, Fresno State, 2008 Mathews was ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA in rushing after four games, with two games of more than 160 yards, before suffer- ing an injury against UCLA in game five. He missed five games but still finished the season with 606 yards on 113 carries with eight touch- downs. Miller was also slowed by different in- juries but still managed to rush for more than 800 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry and finishing 68th in the NCAA in rushing average. His yards-per-carry average ranked third in the Western Athletic Conference. Chris Polk (RB) and Jake Locker (QB), Washington, 2009 Polk enjoyed the best season by a freshman tailback in Washington history, becoming the school's first rookie to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season (1,113 yards on 226 carries). College Football News named him a second-team Freshman All-American. Locker was nearly a 1,000-yard rusher in 2007 (986), but he ran less under Nussmeier. He still finished as the team's No. 2 runner with 112 carries for 388 yards in 2009. Chris Polk and Jesse Callier, Washington, 2010 Polk started all 13 games at tailback and was named to the All-Pac-10 second team, finishing the regular season ranked No. 17 in the nation and No. 2 in the Pac-10 with 103.17 rushing yards per game. He concluded the season with 1,415 yards, the second-most in Washington history. Callier played in all 13 games, starting four, and finished the regular season with 433 rushing yards on 77 carries and 98 receiving yards on 18 catches. Chris Polk and Jesse Callier, Washington, 2011 Polk again started all 13 games at tailback and was named first-team All-Pac-12 and hon- orable mention All-American by Sports Illus- trated after finishing with 1,488 yards on 293 carries with 12 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 332 yards in passes, a high under Nuss- meier. He's now with the Philadelphia Eagles. Callier finished with 47 carries for 260 yards and one touchdown. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, Alabama, 2012 No team in the country boasted the wealth of riches at running back Nussmeier enjoyed with Lacy and Yeldon. Both were 1,000-yard rushers that averaged more than 6.0 yards per carry. Lacy managed 1,322 yards with an average of 6.5 yards per carry and scored 17 touchdowns, while Yeldon ran 175 times for 1,108 yards (6.3- yard average) with 11 scores for the national champions. T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake, Alabama, 2013 Yeldon followed up his big freshman cam- paign with 207 carries for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Drake complemented him with 92 rushes for 694 yards and eight scores. — Chris Balas Under Nussmeier's guidance in 2012, Eddie Lacy powered his way to 1,322 yards, 6.5 yards per carry and 17 touchdowns while helping Alabama win the national championship. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 98-101.Green/Hayes/Smith.indd 101 6/18/14 4:00 PM

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