Michigan 20, Northwestern 17

Tag: Joshua Uche


30Sep 2018
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Michigan 20, Northwestern 17

Karan Higdon (image via Valdosta Daily Times)

Never apologize for a victory. There are going to be a lot of complaints about Michigan in regard to this game, but it goes in the books as a win and moves the Wolverines to 4-1 on the year. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when this would have been a loss because the offense never would have been able to mount enough momentum to score 20 points in a comeback attempt. In the post-2011 Brady Hoke years, the defense would have played well, the offense would have put up 10-13 points, and then the D would have cracked from having to be on the field forever.

Hit the jump for the rest of the recap.

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30Aug 2018
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2018 Season Predictions

Nico Collins (image via Twitter)

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LEADING RUSHER
Karan Higdon emerged from last season as the de facto starting running back, and there’s no reason to think he’ll lose that job now, especially after adding about 15 lbs. of muscle in the off-season. Chris Evans projects to be the #2 guy.
Prediction: Karan Higdon, 1100 yards

LEADING RECEIVER
The wide receiver position is a huge mess right now after the transfers of Eddie McDoom, Drake Harris, Maurice Ways, and Kekoa Crawford . . . and, oh yeah, the injury to Tarik Black’s foot. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a tight end lead the team in receiving yards, but I’ll go with Donovan Peoples-Jones. He’s one of four healthy scholarship receivers on the roster, along with Grant Perry, Oliver Martin, Ronnie Bell, and Nico Collins.
Prediction: Donovan Peoples-Jones, 750 yards

Hit the jump for the rest of the season predictions.

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18Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #40 Joshua Uche

Josh Uche is changing from #35 to #6 (image via MWolverine)

Name: Joshua Uche
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 226 lbs.
High school: Miami (FL) Columbus
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #35 #6
Last year: I ranked Uche #51 and said he would be a backup SAM linebacker (LINK). He made 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack.
TTB Rating: 82

Uche has the unfortunate luck of being a little bit of an odd fit in Michigan’s defense. Last year I thought he would be a backup SAM linebacker when Michigan went to heavier fronts, but it turned out that Michigan mostly just kept Khaleke Hudson in there at Viper most of the time. Uche is more of a pass rush specialist, but you don’t always need pass rush “specialists” when your regular defense is getting home with blitzes and excellent play from the defensive line. Furthermore, Michigan had Noah Furbush to come in as a part-time pass rusher and blitzer, and Furbush did a good job as a sub package guy.

Khaleke Hudson returns this year at Viper, and once again, Furbush remains present as a sub package player. Michigan wants to get Uche on the field, so he’s playing some at WILL linebacker. He’s battling Devin Gil, Josh Ross, and others, and I think Uche will lose the battle to be the starter. However, defensive coordinator Don Brown has mentioned that they have certain packages designed with Uche in mind, and he can be a rusher like Furbush. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing some third down packages with both Uche and Furbush on the field; since Michigan can lock up on the back end, those are some dangerous guys to send on a blitz package.

Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer

11Dec 2017
Blog, homepage 8 comments

Who might not return on defense in 2018?

Bryan Mone and Chase Winovich (image via iSportsWeb)

I addressed potential offensive attrition last week (LINK), and here’s the defensive edition. As I mentioned in that previous post, this is about the depth chart and opportunity for playing time; these posts are not about rumors or talent judgments.

DEFENSIVE LINE: First of all, it’s important to note that there are few places in the country where defensive linemen get better coaching than Michigan. If you want to be good and have the ability, Michigan gives you as good of a chance as anyone. It’s not like Alabama or Clemson, where elite recruits simply continue to be elite. It’s a place where walk-ons (Ryan Glasgow) and lowly 3-stars (Frank Clark, Maurice Hurst) can be turned into high draft picks. But if you’re not on their level, you won’t get on the field. In that regard, there are a few guys who are buried on the depth chart. One is defensive end Reuben Jones (RS Jr.), who has been passed by younger guys, and another is Ron Johnson (RS So.), who has bounced between defensive end and defensive tackle. Both are finding it difficult to find the field. Meanwhile, interior players Lawrence Marshall (RS Sr.) and Bryan Mone (RS Sr.) have both been passed by younger guys, most notably Aubrey Solomon, a 2017 signee. Michigan rotates defensive linemen quite a bit, so there’s playing time available for both, but becoming a starter would be a tall order. Most importantly of all, there’s a chance that Chase Winovich (RS Sr.) might enter the NFL Draft.

Hit the jump for a discussion of the linebackers and defensive backs.

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12Jul 2017
Blog, homepage 21 comments

2017 Season Countdown: #51 Joshua Uche

Joshua Uche (#35, image via MWolverine)

Name: Joshua Uche
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 217 lbs.
High school: Miami (FL) Columbus
Position: Linebacker
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #35
Last year: I ranked Uche #55 and said he would be a backup linebacker. He played in four games and made 3 tackles.
TTB Rating: 82

Uche entered last season as a linebacker/defensive end tweener, and his deployment in 2016 saw him playing linebacker almost exclusively. I was skeptical of that move coming into last season, because he was primarily a rush end at Miami (FL) Columbus. He didn’t do anything special and made a couple gaffes, which would be expected for a true freshman playing a relatively new position.

When Don Brown was talking to media members this spring, he said Michigan was going to do some special things with Uche. And when Don Brown says “special things,” I figure he plans to blitz Uche a ton when he’s out there, and that’s his specialty. Michigan lost some good pass rushers in the off-season, and a couple of their best rush guys (Chase Winovich, Maurice Hurst Jr.) may get worn down by increased roles this season. Uche might be a guy who can offer some pass rush in obvious throwing situations. The Wolverines might use Khaleke Hudson as a Viper instead of throwing the SAM linebacker out there a ton, but if Michigan goes to a three-man front or wants to sub out a linebacker, I expect to see Uche.

Prediction: Backup SAM linebacker

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