The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 25 der pads. Technique has to get better. "[No.] 1-C involves the tenacity and attitude with which we execute. I saw too many times when Michigan offensive linemen had a good block going, had an opportunity within the whistle to put somebody on the ground and finish a block with your belt buckle in their face, smearing them into the turf, and yet we didn't. "I would like to see more aggres- sion and swagger from an offensive line that takes control of a football game up front." The second component, for Skene, also involves blocking, this time by Michigan's running backs. "The running backs have got to figure out a way to sacrifice their body and when a blitzer is coming off the edge — whether it's a de- fensive lineman or a linebacker — you've got to find a way to channel your inner Mike Hart and put your body into the chest and throat of that defender," Skene stressed. "You put your nose up in there and stop the blitz, and flat-out pass block or run block. "I know the freshman fullback [Ben Mason], he's going to be a good one. I don't worry about him. He's shown a desire to engage and embrace vio- lence on the football field. "But our tailbacks, [junior Karan] Higdon and [sophomore Chris] Ev- ans, they've got to get better at it. Those two have got to learn to pass block, so we can keep our quarter- backs upright. … The 2017 Michigan backs were among the worst block- ing backs I've ever seen wearing the uniform. That's got to be fixed." The third element showed a little, but has to continue to grow, Skene insisted. "The wide receivers have to con- tinue their blocking skills, which I thought were decent," he said. "I thought [freshman Donovan] Peoples- Jones' and [freshman Nico] Collins' blocking efforts were pretty good … "But they've got to develop those bodies and have the physical ability to get open. They've got to figure out a way to get off these press-man coverages, get separation and catch the football." Skene himself pointed out what he did not mention — quarterback play. "I did not say anything about quar- terback play because I believe if those other three things were to the level they need to be, we would not have had two quarterbacks leave stadiums in ambulances," he offered. The overhaul has begun, and will be picking up steam as spring prac- tices approach. Harbaugh talked about the need to get better, and he's throwing the switches he feels are necessary to achieve that goal. ❏ Former All-Big Ten offensive lineman Doug Skene noted that progress on offense begins with improved play up front at his old position. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Former U-M All-Big Ten offensive lineman Doug Skene "If a former captain at Ohio State can come coach at Michi- gan — my head coach [Gary Moeller] — I'm all right with a former Spartan coming to help Michigan win. … I want Mich- igan to win, and if Dan Enos can come help us do that, that's fine with me. I don't have a problem with it."

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