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.
Red zone woes. Michigan has scored touchdowns on just 1 of 10 opportunities inside the 20-yard line. They don’t have difference-makers on offense at quarterback or wide receiver, and running back Ty Isaac needs a crease to be at his best. For the past couple years, Michigan could bring in Jabrill Peppers as a Wildcat quarterback, running back, or slot guy, but they don’t have that guy right now. The offensive line needs to improve to help make that difference, and Wilton Speight needs to be better, too. Luckily, kicker Quinn Nordin has been pretty darn good in his first three games, and he’s actually tied for #1 nationally with 11 made field goals (on 13 attempts). That is good for Nordin, but it’s disappointing that Michigan has attempted 13 field goals, which is the most in the country.
Hit the jump for more on Saturday’s win.
Name: Quinn Nordin
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Rockford (MI) Rockford
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #3
Last year: I ranked Nordin #51 and said he would be a backup punter/kicker. He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 89
Ranked by some as the nation’s top kicker, Nordin entered 2016 with an uphill climb ahead of him. It was Kenny Allen Hill, and it proved too large to surmount. Allen was a fifth year senior who pulled triple duty as the kicker, punter, and kickoff specialist. He was relieved occasionally, but not by Nordin. Nordin suffered from an injury and sat out the season, allowing him to redshirt.
Now Michigan has no proven kickers, and Nordin ranks this highly on the strength of high school hype and a 97-yard field goal in the spring game. The schedule is tougher in 2017 than it was in 2016, the offense lost some key guys, and the defense lost 11 out of 12 starters (yes, I included Jeremy Clark as a starter). Field goals might be a little more important in 2017, and hopefully Nordin is capable of living up to the hype. If he can’t, that might cost Michigan a game or two.
Prediction: Starting placekicker and kickoff specialist