The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 95 RB earned a spot on the Prep Star All-American Dream Team. He was the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year as a junior, amassing 2,696 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns, including a 515-yard, six-touch- down performance in the Illinois Class 5A state championship game. While the tailbacks will be expected to carry the load, the fullbacks will also have a role, staring with redshirt junior Joe Kerridge (6-0, 247) and junior Sione Houma (6-0, 240). Their positions will be a bit different in Nussmeier's offense, Jackson said, like former H-back Aaron Shea's in the 1990s. They'll be blockers, but also receivers who can line up anywhere in the backfield or even outside or in the slot at wide receiver. They'll be much more involved in the play- action game and will touch the ball on occasion. "They both had excellent springs. They are two guys who are tal- ented with good hands. They are physical kids, who are not lacking anything in terms of toughness," Jackson said. "They are both going to try to destroy you, and that's just what you want as Michigan fullbacks. "They're going to play equally because they're both very close in talent." Houma has more "pop" and athleticism, while Kerridge has more girth and power. He showed it in de-cleating a few Ohio State line- backers in his best game in a Michigan uniform last November. "Right now, I'm trying to make these guys be 'got men' guys," Jackson said. "Every time they block somebody it's, 'I've got him and he's not going to touch my back.'" Jackson also inherits redshirt freshman Wyatt Shallman (6-3, 243), who spent his redshirt year looking for a position. Shallman has abil- ity, Jackson noted, but he's still learning. "He'll get in that mix. I haven't had him so I don't know what his capabilities are, but he's athletic and big," Jackson said. "He's played a little at U-back, a little at halfback but very little at fullback. He ran the ball in a few practices, blocked at tight end the other part and took maybe four, five snaps at fullback. "That's a tougher position to play than tight end. The fullback is five yards back meeting a linebacker head on. At tight end, the defender is right on top of you. At fullback, you've got to be tough." Jackson predicts his will be, and that will only make his tailbacks better. He knows they're past due for a big, non-Denard Robinson- aided year from the position, and he's anxious to help provide it. ❑ Michigan running backs coach Fred Jack- son always wanted to be a football coach, and his career star ted with a U-M flavor, even if he didn't know it at the time. In his first stint at Flint, Mich., Southwestern High School, he coached future Michigan four- year starting quarterback Rick Leach, and the Louisiana native notched six collegiate coaching stops before ending up in Ann Arbor in 1992. That included five years as an offensive coordinator under Dave Mc- Clain at Wisconsin and two-more at Purdue in 1989-90. "It's hard to think about what I'd be doing if I wouldn't have coached, because I always wanted to coach, all my life," he said. So he turned to a favorite hobby when prodded. "I guess maybe I'd be a bass fisherman," he said. "Have my own show, 'Fishing with Fred' on the bayou of Louisiana." It's what he does on the rare opportunities when he has spare time, fishing at different lakes around Southeast Michigan and some- times on Lake Erie. "I do it whenever I get the time because I don't play golf," he said. "I like bass fishing." — Chris Balas Fred Jackson has been coaching at U-M since 1992, but whenever he has spare time he likes to go bass fishing. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL What I Would Be Doing If I Wasn't Coaching Redshirt junior Joe Kerridge has appeared in 24 games as a fullback, making seven starts. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 91-97.RBs.indd 95 6/19/14 12:12 PM

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