Same old, same old. From the very first offensive series, I started thinking, “Nothing has changed.” Michigan’s offense didn’t evolve over the off-season with a new offensive line coach, a new wide receivers coach, and a new quarterback. The formations are the same. The alignments are the same. The personnel is mostly the same. The lack of tempo is the same. The confusion and lack of urgency late in games is the same.
Hit the jump for a bunch of other depressing takeaways.
Name: Tyree Kinnel Height: 5’11” Weight: 215 lbs. High school: Huber Heights (OH) Wayne Position: Safety Class: Senior Jersey number: #23 Last year: I ranked Kinnel #4 and said he would start at safety with 70 tackles and 1 interception (LINK). He made 70 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions (for 28 yards and 1 TD), and 6 pass breakups. TTB Rating: 74
Kinnel pulled off the nearly impossible feat of making my prediction exactly right when he made 70 tackles. In fact, up to this point, he’s about what I expected from him coming out of high school. The safeties were the weak spot on the defense in 2017, even though they were far from terrible. Kinnel was beaten on some slot fades, and he was taken to the house a couple times. As a safety in Michigan’s aggressive, man-to-man defense, those things are going to happen sometimes. Kinnel is usually a guy who’s in the right place, but he doesn’t have great height or makeup speed, so if a team can beat him initially, he’ll probably stay beaten.
This year nobody looks to be challenging him for his starting position, and that seems about right. Michigan is very inexperienced at safety behind Kinnel and Josh Metellus. The most experienced guy is Utah transfer Casey Hughes, who has mostly played corner during his career. Sophomores Brad Hawkins, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and J’Marick Woods all got playing time last year; Hawkins and Kelly-Powell have received hype this spring and summer. I still believe Kinnel will start, but with sophomores as backups (instead of freshmen like last year), I think Michigan should be a little better off at safety this season with less of a drop-off if Kinnel goes down.
Paw Paw (MI) Paw Paw OG Karsen Barnhart (image via MLive)
Jay Amburgey – OT – Reynoldsburg (OH) Reynoldsburg: Amburgey is a 6’5″, 280 lb. prospect with offers from mostly MAC schools, plus Cincinnati and Syracuse. He’s a 247 Sports 3-star, the #117 offensive tackle, and #1470 overall. He’s probably hoping for a Michigan offer, though Michigan’s recent offensive line commitments probably make that unlikely.
Karsen Barnhart – OG – Paw Paw (MI) Paw Paw: Barnhart is a 6’4″, 282 lb. prospect with offers from Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska, among others. He’s a 3-star, the #45 offensive tackle, and #431 overall. Barnhart is scheduled to announce a commitment later this week, and considering that he has scheduled a return visit to Michigan after his commitment, that choice seems fairly obviously (unless the Jack Stewart commitment changes things). UPDATE: It appears the Stewart commitment has changed things, and Barnhart is pushing back his commitment.
Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Brandon Peters. If Peters were the quarterback in this game, I think Michigan probably wins it. Unfortunately, Peters got concussed against Wisconsin and was still in concussion protocol when the Ohio State game came around. It was the right call for the health of Peters, and I’m glad the medical staff didn’t clear him. But it was unfortunate for Michigan. Hopefully Peters is ready to go for the bowl game.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . John O’Korn. O’Korn didn’t have an absolutely terrible game (17/32, 195 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but he missed a handful of open receivers and threw a really, really, really, really, really bad interception when Michigan was down just 24-20 with a little less than three minutes left. O’Korn took the blame for the loss, and that’s entirely fair. Good for him. But he doesn’t give Michigan a very good chance to win.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Tyree Kinnel. For most of the season, I’ve said I like the defensive rotations. I just want Kinnel to be healthy after it looks like he suffered a concussion when hitting Ohio State receiver Austin Mack.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Jordan Glasgow. As much as I respect the Glasgow family – and even Jordan himself – Michigan has better safeties. Both Kinnel and J’Marick Woods got injured, which forced Glasgow into action late in the game. Hopefully, he can just concentrate on special teams in the bowl game.
Play of the game . . . Donovan Peoples-Jones’s 42-yard punt return. Peoples-Jones made several people miss, accelerated up the sideline, lowered his shoulder, broke a tackle, spun back for extra yards, etc. It was a brilliant return, and it indicated that it would be great if Michigan could find ways to get him the ball more.
MVP of the game . . . Rashan Gary. Naysayers might point to Gary’s missed tackle, which came right after he left the game with a shoulder injury (that seems to have been nagging him for several weeks). It didn’t look great, but bad shoulders can do that to a guy. Even so, he finished the game with 10 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He was Michigan’s best defensive player on Saturday, and nobody on offense had a standout game.