Michigan 38, Wisconsin 13

Tag: Brandon Watson

14Oct 2018
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Michigan 38, Wisconsin 13

Josh Metellus (image via Detroit News)

So…uh…how about that offensive line? It hasn’t been often that we have said this over the past few years, but the offensive line play was excellent. The Badgers’ defense isn’t as good as it has been in some other recent seasons – the linebackers aren’t as good, and the defensive line was banged up. But it’s still a well coached unit, and the linebackers are solid. This offensive line would have still been mauled in recent years, but Shea Patterson had oodles of time to throw, and Karan Higdon had good enough run blocking to bounce some runs to the outside for big chunk gains. The coverage on the back end was good for the most part, so Patterson still had to scramble (and tried to do too much at times), but there weren’t many mistakes up front. Credit goes to the players, obviously, but I think the Ed Warinner Effect is becoming more and more apparent.

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9Oct 2018
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Michigan vs. Maryland Awards

Shea Patterson (image via ClickOnDetroit)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Ronnie Bell. The freshman wide receiver is making plays when given the opportunity. He caught a long touchdown pass from Dylan McCaffrey a couple weeks ago, and this week he caught a crossing route from Shea Patterson that turned into a catch-and-run touchdown. Michigan needs to keep the receivers healthy, so it’s good that Bell is getting some snaps so he (and others) can be available down the stretch.

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7Oct 2018
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Michigan 42, Maryland 21

Ben Mason (image via Wolverines Wire)

Hooray for fewer commercials. I have to say it was very nice not to have to sit through commercial break after commercial break after commercial break. I get that college football can’t exist in the form that it does without commercials, but some of the recent games have been tiresome. I don’t watch the commercials, ABC. I go to the bathroom, get a snack, or check my phone.

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17Sep 2018
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Michigan vs. SMU Awards

Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via Michigan Daily)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Karan Higdon. Higdon was a game-time decision in this game, and he ended up sitting out the contest. The Wolverines struggled to run the football, even if the overall numbers ended up okay due to SMU wearing down in the second half. Leading rusher Chris Evans had 18 carries for 85 to lead the team, but his day ended with his game-high 35-yard run in the third quarter, which saw him grab his right hamstring area and go down. Whether it was a cramp (hopefully) or a hamstring tear, it left Michigan with walk-on Tru Wilson and sophomore O’Maury Samuels handling the load for the remainder of the game. Higdon should be back for next week if he was a game-time decision two days ago, but Michigan needs him back.

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28Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #31 Brandon Watson

Brandon Watson (#28, image via Newsday)

Name: Brandon Watson
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 200 lbs.
High school: Wilmington (DE) Eastern Christian Academy
Position: Cornerback
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #28
Last year: I ranked Watson #35 and said he would be a backup cornerback (LINK). He made 21 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 5 pass breakups.
TTB Rating: N/A

Watson had a pretty solid season in 2017 and showed what an additional year of development can do for a defensive back who’s not a top-notch athlete. Watson was a liability in 2016 and was always a step or two slow. He played a lot in the slot, and that hurt him a little bit because he couldn’t be physical with wide receivers. It’s a little tougher to be a physical cover guy in the slot, because receivers have a two-way go, and they often start off behind the line of scrimmage. Last year Watson played a little more on the outside, and I thought he did a better job of recognizing routes. Maybe he watched more film or improved his formation recognition or just got more technically sound, but he became a solid corner. He doesn’t have the speed or playmaking ability of Lavert Hill or David Long, but he’s a solid player at this point.

Watson returns as a fifth year senior, even though he has virtually no hope of starting. He’s one of several fifth year guys who could probably go to a lot of other schools and start. He should get a lot of snaps on defense, and he’s also heavily utilized on special teams. Michigan has a large number of defensive backs, but Watson and fellow backup Ambry Thomas should both be key members of that defensive backfield. College football teams love to throw the football all over the field, and Michigan has at least four decent corners. In fact, this cornerback group from #1 through #4 might be the most talented group altogether that Michigan has had in the last 25 years or so. Watson’s not a game-changer in the commonly accepted use of the term, but he gives Michigan a starter-quality option in case Hill or Long gets injured along the way.

Prediction: Backup cornerback

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