If there is one aspect of the offense that should be expected to improve for Michigan in 2014, it may be the running game’s effectiveness. The Wolverines ranked 11th in team rushing in the Big Ten in 2013. The competition for playing time in Michigan’s backfield has been taking on a bit of a spotlight this summer, with head coach Brady Hoke providing an interesting update on the status of the position on Sunday during the team’s media day.
“Right now, it would be Drake Johnson and [De’Veon Smith],” Hoke said Sunday, per MLive.com, when asked about who the top candidates for playing time this fall are right now. “So, you’ve got a No. 1 and No. 1-A (there), and then you’ve got a No. 2 with [Derrick Green].”
As noted by MLive.com, the spring saw Michigan’s running stable led by Smith and Green, so it seems as though the talented Green may have slipped a bit in the mix for the time being. Or perhaps Johnson has just really impressed in the early goings of fall camp to make it impossible not to put him ahead of the pack?
Michigan’s running backs as a unit are focused on improving pass protection this year. Johnson apparently has been excelling at pass protection, which could be another reason why he might be showing more to coaches and getting early praise from Hoke. A running back’s ability to help with pass protection could come in handy in attempting to keep quarterback Devin Gardner healthy.
“They know we can run the ball,” Green said earlier this offseason. “But you’ve got to be able to block first, and run second. Protecting the quarterback is the main thing for us. Running the ball is secondary, pass protection is first.”
Unfortunately, it appears the dreaded high-ankle sprain has bitten one of the most snake-bitten running backs in the country.
In Georgia’s Week 4 loss to Ole Miss, Nick Chubb sustained an ankle injury in the second quarter and couldn’t return. Kirby Smart has held his cards close to his vest this week when to came to Chubb’s availability for the Week 5 game against Tennessee, even as most, if not all of the signs pointed to the running back being sidelined for the key SEC East matchup.
Friday, Chubb’s father all but ended the mystery over his son’s availability, while simultaneously indicating that a Week 6 return should be in the cards — provided it’s not the usual lingering high-ankle sprain.
“I don’t think he’s going to play,” Henry Chubb told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s got that high-ankle sprain. He twisted it trying to make a cut against Ole Miss. He’s in good spirits and all. He understands it. The doctor said he’d need a couple weeks, so he’ll probably play next week.”
Chubb returned from a devastating knee injury that knocked him out for more than half of the 2015 season, rushing for career regular-season high of 222 yards in the 2016 opener in his first game back. In his three games since the opener, however, Chubb has run for just 200 yards total.
Still, his 422 yards are far and away tops on the Bulldogs. With Chubb out for at least this weekend, the running-game load will fall to Brian Herrien (184 yards) and Sony Michel (106).
The 2016 presidential election could be coming to a college football stadium near you.
According to the Kansas City Star, a women’s advocacy group, UltraViolet Action, will fly airplanes over five stadiums this Saturday to protest what the group describes as “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ‘long record of misogyny.'” The five stadiums are Michigan Stadium, Ohio Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and Wallace Wade Stadium.
The most high-profile of the five games will be in the Big House, with No. 4 Michigan playing host to No. 8 Wisconsin.
The planes that the group have commissioned to do the flyovers will tow behind them banners that read “Trump Says Women R Pigs. Disagree? Vote.” The stadiums selected reside in the so-called swing states of Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
The Star writes that “UltraViolet describes itself as a ‘powerful and rapidly growing community of people from all walks of life mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture.'”
Unfortunately, the news when it comes to Vince Biegel could actually be a little bit worse than what was originally feared.
Yesterday, the Wisconsin linebacker’s father revealed that his son would be out as long as a month after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted into his foot. In a press release, UW confirmed that Biegel did indeed undergo surgery Thursday night, and put the timeline at an ambiguous “several weeks” for a return.
The decision to undergo a medical procedure on what’s been a lingering issue was made after the player met with UW team physicians Wednesday and Thursday.
“I really hate any time a player has to miss time due to an injury, especially a senior like Vince,” head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. “Vince has such a passion for football and loves playing the game. This team is very important to him and he is very important to our team. What you appreciate is that you know he will do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
At the bare minimum, Biegel will miss the next four games, a stretch that includes matchups with No. 4 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State, Iowa and No. 15 Nebraska.
Biegel had started 29 games in a row for the Badgers. At least initially, Biegel will be replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Zack Baun.
Shortly before the start of what would become Houston’s win over UConn Thursday night, UH announced that a pair of starting linebackers, Tyus Bowser (head injury) and Matthew Adams (coaches’ decision), were among the four who would be sidelined for the AAC contest. And now we know that, when it came to those two, the head injury and coaches’ decision were intertwined.
In his postgame press conference following the win, head coach Tom Herman acknowledged that there had been what he described as a “scuffle” between Bowser and Adams on Wednesday. The former suffered a broken bone in his face in the “freak accident,” resulting in both starters being sidelined last night.
“[Wednesday], during our weekly tradition of ‘Family Fridays,’ where we go out on the field and play some silly games just to loosen the thing up, dodge ball, whiffle ball, two-hand touch football, the two got over-competitive and things briefly got out of hand during one of the games and resulted in a scuffle between Tyus and Matt, two brothers,” Herman said. “Our culture is one of love and the two are very close, remain very close and definitely consider [each other] brothers.
“They’re both very remorseful for what happened in yesterday’s incident.”
Bowser is expected to be out of the lineup “for a few weeks.” Herman said Adams, the Cougars’ third-leading tackler heading into the game, will be allowed to play against Navy in Week 6.