Ty Isaac

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No. 8 Michigan still shows room to improve on offense in win vs. Cincinnati

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A week after the defense set the tone in a season-opening win against the Florida Gators, No. 8 Michigan (2-0) once again could count on the defense to get the job done in their home opener against Cincinnati (1-1). In a 36-14 win in The Big House, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh still has some work to do to get the offense in gear.

Michigan’s defense accounted for two touchdowns, with Tyree Kinnel and Lavert Hill each recording a pick-six. Wilton Speight had a nice day in the box score with 221 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, but there is still some passes that were off the mark and could use some polish. Ty Isaac led all players with 133 rushing yards, with 53 coming on one run. Of the 192 rushing yards Michigan compiled as a team, 97 of those yards came on two separate runs. The Wolverines converted just five of 15 third-down conversion attempts, and Michigan was flagged for seven penalties.

But defensively, the Wolverines have not skipped a beat this season. Through two games, the Wolverines have showed some of the best defense in the nation, thus putting to rest any concerns about the roster turnover from a year ago. That defense will see better tests coming their way though, as neither Florida or Cincinnati was expected to do much on offense against Michigan in the first two weeks. Air Force will present a different offensive style, but Michigan should have the depth to preview once again even if the offense is not clicking as desired.

Cincinnati hung around into the second half, cutting a Michigan lead to 17-14 in the third quarter, but the Bearcats simply could not keep any momentum with their own shaky play going up against a solid Michigan defense.

Michigan will stay home next week for a game against Air Force. Cincinnati will remain on the road but will stay in state to face Miami Ohio.

Status of Michigan RB Ty Isaac is none of your business according to Harbaugh

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It can be difficult to read between the lines at times when it comes to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, but it sure seems as though running back Ty Isaac is not thought of particularly fondly by the Wolverines head coach. That assumption can be made given Isaac’s gradual drop off the Michigan depth chart and Harbaugh’s lack of information regarding his status when pressed about the situation Monday.

“That’s an internal matter,” Harbaugh said Monday (per MLive.com) when asked about Isaac’s absence from the depth chart this week. “I’ll keep you posted. (It’s) none of your business … that’d be another way to say it.”

Isaac transferred to Michigan from USC last year. Michigan, with Brady Hoke as the head coach, filed for an NCAA appeal to have him eligible to play immediately in 2014, but that was denied by the NCAA. ISaac sat out the 2014 season with the hope of getting to play in 2015. Isaac is currently second on Michigan’s roster in rushing with 205 yards in seven games. He rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown against UNLV in mid-September byt has carried the football more than twice in a game just once since then, and his high rushing total since that UNLCV game is 17 yards against Maryland on six carries.

Isaac’s last action was seen three weeks ago against Michigan State, when he carried the football twice for a gain of five yards. He traveled but not play at Minnesota this past weekend.

Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley describes his ideal running back

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Former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatly is back in Ann Arbor this season. The former Wolverine is a running backs coach for Jim Harbaugh, and he is getting to work on figuring out how to get the most out of the running game in 2015 as the Wolverines have opened spring practices. As he gets acclimated to his new position on the staff, he is taking the spring to evaluate what he has to work with before making any hard decisions with Harbaugh.

Michigan has a good stable of running backs, which adds USC transfer Ty Isaac and welcomes back Derrick Green from a collarbone injury this season. With some talented options to work with, Wheatley says he is unsure just how the ball will be distributed this fall.

“You would like to say you want one back, but right now you really can’t tell,” Wheatley said in an interview published by Michigan’s athletics website. “We don’t know who’s going to emerge; we don’t know what’s going to emerge. You want great competition and every one to rise to the top. You want the decision to be the hardest decision to ever make.”

The decision may be a difficult one by the end of the spring, but Wheatley did expand on the characteristics he is hoping to see from his most ideal running back.

“A smart guy that handles not only the ball but can handle the game. Meaning that the game never gets too big, and that he can basically be a coach on the field, make corrections, see the game and make the game slow down for himself, understand the ebb and flow, situations,” Wheatley explained. “Sometimes a three-yard run is the best one you can have in a game — not always looking to hit the home run. And pass protection — just a real well-rounded back that is going to play within his talent level and take care and manage the game.”

Does Michigan have a running back that meets that criteria? It would seem so.

In a year that could be huge for running backs, Michigan has two players potentially worthy of national recognition. Green is a former five-star recruit. His season was brought to a premature end when he broke his collarbone in a game against Rutgers. He has returned to practice this spring and has put in some good early work according to Wheatley. Isaac is also a former five-star recruit who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Drake Johnson is recovering from knee surgery but is using his time on the sideline to observe and learn. And do not forget about De’Veon Smith, last season’s leading rusher. He could still fill a role in the running game as well.

Wheatley says there is pressure to get the running backs going this spring, but there is no pressure now to figure out which running back, if any, will be the one that carries the bulk of the action in the fall. He has plenty to evaluate before getting to that point.

With appeal denied by NCAA, Michigan RB Ty Isaac will sit out 2014

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The chance for transfer running back Ty Isaac to see the field was already slim after the running back’s initial request for a medical hardship waiver was denied back in August, but that chance has slipped down to none after his appeal was denied by the NCAA this week.

Head coach Brady Hoke confirmed the news on Wednesday.

“He’s handled it great,” Hoke told the Detroit Free-Press. “He’s our scout running back, one of the two guys who fill that role and he had a great day yesterday. From an attitude standpoint and everything, he’s been awesome.”

Isaac originally enrolled at USC and rushed for 236 yards and a touchdown on 40 carries as a freshman in 2013. He moved closer to his home near the Chicagoland area after his mother underwent hearing loss surgery.

Without Issac, Michigan ranks 30th nationally in rushing at 242 yards per game in this young season, and averages a 14th-best 6.26 yards per carry. Derrick Green leads the club with 50 carries for 332 yards and three touchdowns, and fellow sophomore De’Veon Smith has added 24 attempts for 189 yards and two additional scores. With the addition of Isaac, Michigan should have a formidable stable of runners for the next couple years.

Isaac will have three years of eligibility remaining when his career resumes in 2015.

USC transfer Ty Isaac has waiver denied; Michigan files appeal

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It doesn’t appear Ty Isaac will be available for Michigan in 2014, but the Wolverines aren’t going out without a fight.

Head coach Brady Hoke confirmed Wednesday that the running back’s initial appeal for a medical hardship waiver has been denied by the NCAA.  However, the school is appealing that decision, hoping that Isaac will be declared eligible to play immediately at UM.  The second appeal occurred last week; there’s no word on whether an answer will come prior to the season opener against Appalachian State Saturday.

The appeal is based on the health of his mother, who is having complications after undergoing a surgical procedure to correct a hearing loss.  Because of the complications, she is unable to fly.  Isaac’s mother lives in Joliet, Ill., and Isaac transferred  from USC in order to be closer to her.

Isaac also considered Illinois after leaving the Trojans in May before landing at Michigan a month later.

If Isaac were to be granted immediately eligibility, he possesses the kind of talent that would allow him to contribute immediately.

As a true freshman in 2013, Isaac rushed for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 40 carries. Coming out of high school, Isaac was a five-star recruit rated as the No. 4 back in the country and the No. 27 player at any position in the country.