The Wolverine

November 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Sophomore Thomas Rawls appeared in four of Michigan's first eight games in 2012, carrying 25 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL "He can run good routes," Jack- son said. "He's not as knowledge- able about the offense yet, which is why you see more of Vince, but when he does pick it up, we're going to play him as much as we can because he's very talented. Fitz is more of a slasher and Thomas is more a power runner, but Justice can do a little bit of both. had done nothing to demonstrate he couldn't handle the job. He said immediately after the Purdue game he'd by lying if he wasn't somewhat concerned about the lack of produc- tion, though, but he backtracked a bit after seeing film of the Boilermakers' game plan. "He's an excellent athlete, prob- ably the best I have. He's a versatile kind of guy. If I have to play with him the whole game, he's going to be successful. He will stick his nose in there to block you. He has a lot of qualities of a 200-pound back, but he's 185, so he's got a bright future, too. You have three different, very unique guys, so I like that situation." PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE The key now is getting them on track for Michigan's final four games in a quest for the Legends Division ti- tle. Hoke said he had no plans to de- mote Toussaint, noting his No. 1 back FINISHING STRONG, Any lack of running back success should be at least partially attributed to the offensive line, fifth-year senior right guard Patrick Omameh said after the Nebraska loss. "I haven't had a chance to look at the film and see what any blown as- signments are, but I feel like if we get it done up front and we're mov- ing the line of scrimmage, then that should be taken care of," he said. In that case, any of the backs should be able to find success. They haven't had the breakout game yet, however — not a single 100-yard game between them — and that might remain the case if other backs start to get involved. Borges wouldn't guarantee that would be the case. "The biggest thing is there is only one ball," he said. "Our quarterback runs the ball, too, so it goes beyond just the normal distribution in the run game. Way beyond. "But all our backs are a little more experienced now, which is cool. Last year they were all learning the sys- tem and all that. You had to be care- ful who you put in there. But now all our guys have played a little bit, and they're getting more and more solid, which is how you build a football team. It takes time to build that posi- tion and others, to get them comfort- able and where you're comfortable with them." are new starters on the line, includ- ing the tight ends. It takes time, too, to jell when there "That's going to come," Jackson said. "Remember, those guys haven't played together that much." Eight games into the season, though, they're still trying to figure it out. The sooner it clicks, the better Michigan's chances of pulling out a Big Ten title. u NOVEMBER 2012 THE WOLVERINE 35

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