Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Zach Gentry. Gentry’s snaps seem to have increased over the past week or two, and his targets have, too. After not recording a reception in week one, he has 3 catches for 71 yards in the last two games. It was mentioned during the broadcast yesterday that Tim Drevno sees him as being similar to Coby Fleener at the same age, except a better blocker. That’s saying something, considering Gentry is still a terrible blocker. Regardless, Michigan needs offensive playmakers, and Gentry can get separation from linebackers and safeties.
Hit the jump for more awards from Saturday’s win.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Michael Onwenu. The guy whiffs on blocks and doesn’t move his feet. He’s a step down from Kyle Kalis, in my opinion, and Onwenu really seemed to struggle late in the game. I can’t help wondering if that’s due to his conditioning and size at somewhere around 350 pounds or so. If Runyan isn’t the answer to start, maybe he should be used as a relief pitcher once Onwenu hits a certain pitch count.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Michael Onwenu. Okay, I’m half-joking here because I think the defensive personnel decisions have been good. But if Onwenu’s conditioning really is an issue, then maybe he would be better off playing defense, where there’s a lot of rotation and he would only end up playing 50% of the snaps or so.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. Don Brown and Co. are doing a great job.
Let’s see more of this guy on special teams . . . Eddie McDoom. McDoom has good speed and seems like the type of athlete who would excel as a kick returner. He has some agility, but his game is a lot about speed and then planting his foot to get upfield.
Let’s see less of this guy on special teams . . . Kekoa Crawford. I already called for less of Will Hart last week due to shanked punts, so this week it’s Crawford’s turn for the bright spotlight. He’s averaging 18.3 yards/return as the leading kickoff returner, and the lowest return average since 2008 for a starting kickoff returner was Martavious Odoms’s 21.21 yards/return in 2011. Crawford looks indecisive, and you can’t be indecisive on kickoff returns. Give someone else, like McDoom (or Donovan Peoples-Jones) a chance.
Play of the game . . . Donovan Peoples-Jones’s 79-yard punt return touchdown. The best thing about Peoples-Jones’s return was that he showed vision and anticipation. This wasn’t one of those returns where a hole just opens up, the returner hits it, and he outruns everyone. The return started to the left, he cut it all the way back to the right sideline, and juked the punter enough to be able to tiptoe down the sideline into the endzone. Hopefully, that’s an inkling of what’s to come.
MVP(s) of the game . . . Devin Bush, Jr. and Quinn Nordin. I thought Bush played an excellent game at middle linebacker with 11 tackles and 1 sack. Air Force put stress on Michigan’s defense, and playing about 5 yards off the ball at MIKE, Bush was all over the field chasing down running backs and the QB. Ben Gedeon would have been fine, too, but there are some middle linebackers at Michigan over the past decade or so who may not have been able to make some of those plays – and might have allowed for an upset. It’s nice to have a MIKE linebacker who can play sideline-to-sideline. Additionally, kicker Quinn Nordin made 5 field goals in a game that was pretty close until the end. He scored 17 of Michigan’s 29 points. Quite literally, this is a 13-12 loss without his contributions. Obviously, other guys are capable of making extra points and some of those field goals, but Nordin is a huge part of this team because of the difficulties scoring in the redzone.
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