I previously previewed:
- Michigan’s Offense vs. Florida’s Defense
- Michigan’s Defense vs. Florida’s Offense
- Florida’s roster makeup
Michigan kicker offer Kenny Allen has the Wolverines at #40 in touchback percentage (47%). He is generally pretty good at his job. He is also pretty good at placekicking, where he is #34 nationally on field goals (16/20, 80%) and tied for #1 on extra points (41/41, 100%). He might need to revisit his punting skills, though, because starting punter Blake O’Neill is rumored to be out with a knee injury. O’Neill was #63 in punting average, but he was excellent at pinning opponents deep. Allen has punted just once in his career, a 51-yarder in 2013. Considering Florida’s defense, he should get several opportunities to prove his ability to do a third job. Michigan is #3 in kickoff return average at 28.4 yards/return. Jabrill Peppers is a capable returner, but he will probably miss the game due to injury. And anyway, the majority of kickoff returns have been handled by Jourdan Lewis (25.2 yards/return), while the lone return TD was by Jehu Chesson (46 yards/return on 3 attempts). Whether it’s Lewis, Chesson, or someone the coaching staff deems even better, the Wolverines are pretty solid. (Aside: Did you know that 63 teams – or about half of FBS teams – do not have a kickoff return of 60+ yards?) Meanwhile, Peppers is the only player to have handled even a single punt this season and averaged 11.4 yards/return, which was #21 nationally. I imagine that we might see Lewis back there, although Amara Darboh has experience at just being a sure-handed punt returner with little big-play ability.
Hit the jump for the rest of the preview.