The Wolverine

December 2015 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 162 of 162

that's why I think recruits should be lining up to come play here — if the want is there, look at how much these coaches can get out of their talent." So, who has improved the most and which coach has done the best job? Clark, Houma and Allen have come the furthest, playing little in 2014 — or in Clark's case, a differ- ent position entirely (safety) — to develop into key contributors this season. However, Allen is the pick. The Fenton, Mich., native was the Wolverines' kickoff specialist in 11 games in 2014, but he had never seen the field in a critical situation during his career, handling a lone punt in a 59-9 blowout of Central Michigan in 2013. When he lined up for a 29-yard field goal against Utah in this year's season opener, Allen was a complete mystery. When he missed a 44-yarder later in that game, it would have been fair to expect he might follow in the footsteps of Jay Feely (1997), Phil Brabbs (2002) and Jason Gingell (2007) — kickers that began the year but were quickly re- placed within a few games. Instead, Allen has proven to be one of the Big Ten's most reliable kickers, connecting on 14 of 18 since his opening-game error, includ- ing a streak of six straight before a gusting wind pulled his 37-yard first-quarter attempt versus Rutgers wide left. Michigan had scored 29 red-zone touchdowns through 10 games this season, but its overall success rate of 95.2 percent (third nationally) would not be what it was without the consistency of Allen. Among position group coaches, Zordich and Jackson work closely together and merit recognition for their efforts. U-M's pass defense ranked sixth nationally in yards allowed per game (165.5) through 10 contests and second in pass efficiency de- fense (93.37 rating), improving on last year's numbers of 193.7 yards per game and a 127.24 rating that ranked 64th. Junior Jourdan Lewis has become the nation's best cover cornerbacks, one season removed from inconsis- tency, while Clark and junior Chan- ning Stribling are legitimate No. 2 corners after being cast aside by the previous staff. Redshirt freshman Jabrill Peppers is the key to the defense because of his versatility, and safety play has been an asset this year with the chance to improve even more with the emergence of Thomas. "We've talked about this before, but if you're willing to put in the work, you know these coaches are going to give the very best of what they have to each player," Simpkins said. "That's an awesome opportu- nity to come develop and be the best player you can be." ❏ Associate Editor Michael Spath has been with The Wolverine since 2002. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Spath_Wolverine.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - December 2015 Issue