Michigan Football: Notes, observations from 2017 spring game

Here’s what stood out during Michigan football”s 2017 spring game. Is an invite to take part in College Football Playoff in the cards?

Michigan has had tremendous success under Jim Harbough, winning 10 games in both of his seasons at the helm. But, an invite to the College Football Playoff has proved elusive so far. Is this the season where Harbough is able to get Michigan to the big dance.

Here are some of the things that jumped out while I was watching Michigan’s Spring Game:

  • Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarick Black have speed to burn. Good. Lord. These two speedsters are going to give Michigan’s QB a lot of speed and athleticism to play catch with during games. Both have big-play potential every time they are on the field. Black has great hands, too.
  • I love how intense Jim Harbaugh gets over a spring game. That kind of passion rubs off on his players in a great way.
  • Wilson Speight looks fully healthy after injuring his collarbone last season. There was one underthrown pass, but besides that, Speight was on the mark the rest of the scrimmage. One thing I noticed is that Speight had to scrambled a lot because his pocket often collapsed on him. That’s something the offensive line coach is going to need to fix if they want to keep Speight healthy this season.
  • However, if Speight gets injured or falters, I’ve gotta’ admit that Brandon Peters looks like he could be one heck of a quarterback.  Peters completed a pedestrian 9-of-17 passes for 160 yards and he also scored on a 12-yard touchdown scamper. The kid has a ton of talent and moxie. 
  • Speaking of the offensive line, Khaleke Hudson did a fantastic job of applying pressure on the QB everytime he was on the field. The kid is slotted to play “Viper” for Michigan and he has the chance to have a special season if this game was any indication of what he’s capable of. He’s got big shoes to fill as whoever plays Viper will be taking Jabrill Peppers’ role from last season.
  • I loved the run by Ty Isaac in the first quarter. He was patient waiting for a hole to open and then he burst free for a nearly 30-yard touchdown run. Great patience and vision. He broke a 70-yard run last season for a touchdown in a game.
  • Michigan has a bunch of backs that aren’t afraid of contact. Chris Evans, Ty Isaac and Karan Higdon are running backs that have explosive speed but love to make contact with defenders, too. Bruising backs that are going to be a lot of fun to watch this season.
  • Nate Johnson had two fumbles. Not a good look for the receiver trying to earn playing time.
  • Freshman corner Ben St. Juste – from Canada! – had a great interception. He’s 6’3″ with great athleticism and instincts and he’s got a chance to earn some playing time this season.
  • Rashan Gary has the potential have a monster season, but outside of his one sack, he didn’t do much in this game that stood out for me. He didn’t show the kind of “motor” I’d like to see from an elite defensive end. Maybe he’s working through an injury or didn’t get worked up for a spring game.
  • On the flip side, Devin Bush has the potential to be a complete terror. He was doing whatever he could to cause havoc and put pressure on the quarterback every snap he was on the field. I loved his hustle and energy.

Michigan will look to buck the third-place trend in the Big Ten East and finally make it to the conference championship game. Is year three the lucky season for Harbaugh and Co.?

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