ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan did not provide a roster for its spring game Saturday and a list of their players with numbers for the 2017 season isn’t on their website. And coach Jim Harbaugh did not speak to reporters after the game.
Harbaugh, though, couldn’t hide Brandon Peters from the 57,418 who showed up at the Big House for the intra-squad scrimmage. The quarterback that created a buzz behind the scenes this spring showed he’s capable of competing for playing time.
Peters threw a 40-yard pass to Nate Schoenle to set up Kyle Seychel’s 31-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Maize over the Blue 31-29.
After redshirting last season as a freshman, the 6-foot-5 Peters did his best to show he has the potential to push returning starter Wilton Speight in the fall.
“Coach Harbaugh is always making it a competition, so there’s always that chance,” Peters said. “I just go out and compete. Wilton is a really good competitor and he’s really good, too.”
Peters was 9 of 17 for 160 yards with a 55-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Gentry and an interception that was returned for a score by Brandon Watson.
Speight, meanwhile, struggled behind a sieve-like offensive line that couldn’t block players such as Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson. Speight was 9 of 26 for 78 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned 100 yards by Jordan Glasgow.
“I’d like to have those two throws back because I was trying to force it into a small window and trying to make a play when there probably wasn’t a play to be made,” Speight said. “But yeah, there were times I had to improvise.”
Here are some other things of note from a warm, windy and sunny day for spring football:
HELP WANTED: Michigan may have as many as 19 players drafted by NFL teams later this month, including 10 starters from last season’s defense led by projected, first-round picks Taco Charlton and Jabrill Peppers.
“I don’t think we’re trying to have another Taco or another Jabrill,” Bush said. “We’re going to have another Rashan Gary and another Khaleke Hudson.”
Linebacker Mike McCray, the only returning starter on defense, insisted this year’s unit can be better in Don Brown’s second season as defensive coordinator.
“We’re in the same system again,” he said “In the past, we’ve had different systems every year. Everybody is more comfortable and they’re not thinking as much.”
BACKFIELD OPTIONS: The Wolverines appear to have a few, solid options to carry the ball without De’Veon Smith, who had a team-high 846 yards rushing and ran for 10 TDs last season.
Ty Isaac ran for 47 yards on five carries, including a 28-yard score in the spring game for the Maize. Karan Higdon had 12 carries for 81 yards rushing and his second TD put the Blue up 29-28 with 1:38 left. Chris Evans had just three carries for 10 yards, but showed what he could do last season as a freshman with 7 yards per carry and a total of 614 yards rushing.
DYNAMIC DUO: The best players on Michigan’s defense appeared to be Hudson and Bush, who combined for three sacks. Hudson is in the position vacated Peppers. Bush may have a chance to replace linebacker Ben Gedeon, who had 30 more tackles than anyone on last year’s team.
“They’ve had a great spring,” McCray said. “Real fast. Athletic. Aggressive. Expect a great season from both of those guys.”
O-LINE, OH NO: Michigan’s offensive line gave up a total of five sacks and it could’ve been worse in a real game because defenders weren’t supposed to hit quarterbacks. Even though the unit has to replace three starters, Mason Cole said he and his teammates will be better than they looked in the spring game.
“There were times that we had different guys in there,” Cole said. “And guys were lined up with guys they normally don’t play next to, which makes things difficult.”
A RARE ROAD TRIP: Michigan’s football team will fly to Rome next week for three practices and sightseeing. The Wolverines have the Italian and U.S. flags on the back of their helmets.