2019 Spring Practice Roundup

2019 Spring Practice Roundup


March 18, 2019
Ben Mason

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Jim Harbaugh met with the media Monday, after Michigan’s first spring practice.

Here are a few updates on players and positions:

QUARTERBACK
The quarterbacks are getting equal reps, like they always supposedly do at the beginning of spring practice. Harbaugh says Shea Patterson is #1, Dylan McCaffrey is #2, and Joe Milton is #3. Brandon Peters wasn’t mentioned, and rumors are that he’s not practicing with the team this spring, with the expectation of transferring.

RUNNING BACK
Tru Wilson is supposedly faster than he was last year. Ben VanSumeren has moved to running back from fullback, since the fullback position is mostly going to disappear. Zach Charbonnet is no contact this spring after having surgery on his meniscus. Hassan Haskins is at running back after practicing mostly at linebacker last year.

WIDE RECEIVER
Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones are both dealing with injuries.

TIGHT END
Ben Mason is playing some tight end after moving from fullback.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Redshirt freshman Jalen Mayfield and redshirt junior Andrew Stueber are battling for the right tackle job.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Ben Mason is also playing some defensive line. Michael Dwumfour is hurt. David Ojabo has put on 20 lbs. already. Reuben Jones is transferring.

LINEBACKER
Michael Barrett is back to playing Viper after spending some time at slot receiver. Ben VanSumeren is playing some linebacker, too.

DEFENSIVE BACK
Lavert Hill is dealing with an injury, which has been the case pretty much every spring so far.

27 comments

  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 4928
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 18, 2019 at 5:06 PM

    Pretty encouraging news about FB for anyone hoping to see continued evolution on offense.

    I still like Mason or VanSumeren to potentially replace Furbush’s role.

    I imagine Mason will continue to play RB and that TE/DL is a versatility thing.

    • Avatar
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      WindyCityBlue
      Mar 18, 2019 at 7:53 PM

      Not so sure about “evolution”. More like “bringing the offense into the 21st century”.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1358
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    je93
    Mar 18, 2019 at 9:29 PM

    Been Mason is a FB, TE, DE, 3T, and LB. Sounds like they have no idea what to do with him

  3. JC
    Comments: 238
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Mar 19, 2019 at 10:14 AM

    I don’t like Lavert Hill being hurt.

    I really don’t like Dwumfor being hurt.

    I’m interested in seeing how Haskins’ and Barrett’s careers go and what position they ultimately end up playing.

    If Mason can play end, I’m all for it. If Mason can throw on 20-30 pounds and play 3 tech, I’m all for it. If Mason wants to start playing quarterback, I’m all for that too. I like Ben Mason.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3114
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 19, 2019 at 11:15 AM

      Yeah, I mean, I know injuries can be somewhat inevitable and such, but it seems like Hill and Dwumfour are constantly injured, even in the off-season. Zordich has been complaining about Hill’s toughness literally every year Hill has been on campus.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 4928
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 19, 2019 at 1:17 PM

    RB Situation… Reading through the comments a bit further it seems like there’s a bit of a preliminary pecking order.

    1. Turner. First name mentioned. Seems to be building off the Bowl performance.

    2. Wilson. Positive comments in spring don’t mean much but he’s clearly in the rotation.

    These count as the ‘proven’ players and after that things get wide open. Normally freshman, walk-on, and position-changers are red flags. But Michigan has decent options.

    Mason’s arguably the 3rd guy since he played a lot of RB last year and was effective. Harbaugh clearly wants him on the field. We’ll see what practicing at all these other positions ends up meaning. My guess is he continues to be a RB/FB and sees scattered snaps as a DE/OLB.

    Van Sumeren sounds like a kid they like. Will be interesting to see how things sort out with he and Mason being somewhat similar.

    Charbonnet’s injury is rather disappointing. Missing spring is an opportunity lost for arguably the biggest talent on the roster.

    Haskins is a wildcard I guess but I’m skeptical he’ll be an impact RB.

    Evans was mentioned with Harbaugh saying he could return. Interesting thing to say right now for a guy kicked off the team. My guess is he gets back, based on reportedly being a high character kid who made a dumb mistake. The team needs him, the door is open, the opportunity is evident. Evans would be a fool to screw it up. We’ll see.

    I think Michigan will continue to ‘fine’ at RB. Turner, Wilson, Mason – we know what we have.

    For the spring game it will be interesting to see if Van Sumeren and Haskins have any juice.

    • Avatar
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      WindyCityBlue
      Mar 20, 2019 at 6:54 AM

      How was Mason “effective” as a RB last year? What does it even mean that he “played” a lot of RB? He had 33 carries in 13 games, 2.4 YPC, longest gain all year was 6 yards. He’s a fullback, mainly a battering ram, with only short yardage capability as a ballcarrier.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3114
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Mar 20, 2019 at 9:58 AM

        Agreed. He was “effective” as a short yardage guy, but that doesn’t mean he’s the #3 guy. Khalid Hill was used similarly, and he wasn’t the #3 guy, either. The #3 guy is someone who’s probably going to get 80-90 carries or so and be a more traditional tailback.

        Evans, Wilson, Turner, and Charbonnet are probably in the running to be in the top three, assuming Evans comes back. I think Haskins will be #4 at best.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 4928
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Mar 20, 2019 at 12:34 PM

          Agree on the top 4. But Evans isn’t on the team and Charbonnet is an injured freshman. Harbaugh isn’t afraid of straying from ‘traditional’ and loves FBs at the same time that they’re being phased out of the offense.

          It wouldn’t surprise me if Mason or VS get more RB snaps against Wisconsin/OSU/MSU/ND than the 3rd RB. [Again, accounting for health.]

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4928
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 20, 2019 at 12:30 PM

        Yes I mean situational.

        I think Mason’s success in that role could translate to a bigger role (a la Houma) but that’s probably not happening unless others falter and/or Evans isn’t here. But it might anyway – Harbaugh clearly wants him on the field.

        3rd RB is a bit like the 3rd ILB (Ross). You don’t NEED to use that guy unless somebody is hurt. But if there isn’t much difference between the primary guy and the backup, a rotation makes sense.

  5. Avatar
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    je93
    Mar 20, 2019 at 9:37 PM

    If Mason is playing DL – even a little bit – he’s packing on weight. No way he’s quick enough for anything but short-yard RB (basically a FB)
    If he’s supposed to be a top3-4 RB, there’s no way he’ll be big enough to handle DL
    Coaches need to find the kid a home, and quick. Otherwise, he’d be smart to find a better fit

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4928
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 21, 2019 at 12:58 AM

      Mason 254
      Winovich 256
      Okoye 260

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1358
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        je93
        Mar 21, 2019 at 8:05 AM

        None of those other two were expected to play RB. Neither were expected to learn DL in Spring & Fall, while also learning TE, LB, and getting reps at RB, while learning a new offense

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 4928
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          Lanknows
          Mar 21, 2019 at 10:21 AM

          Christian Okoye.

          • Avatar
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            je93
            Mar 21, 2019 at 1:01 PM

            Lol, that dude was a freak of nature – 4.4 speed. Mason doesn’t have anywhere near that speed. Mason is also learning TE, DL & LB. Okoye was an athlete who only had to learn RB

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4928
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Mar 21, 2019 at 2:31 PM

        Talking size — 245-260 range is just right to do both.

        Obviously Mason isn’t going to be an elite RB but he can be (and has been) an effective one. He already knows how to play FB and RB. I’d guess when they talk about him playing “TE” it’s more H-back than being a 6th OL.

        You make a good point about learning a new offense but Mason’s a vet and his jobs at RB and FB are pretty simple. I don’t think you’ll see him jumping off sides and running to the wrong side of the play.

        I really doubt having him work at defense is putting too much on his plate. Even if he doesn’t play there it’ll be good perspective.

        • Avatar
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          je93
          Mar 21, 2019 at 7:38 PM

          I think you’re underestimating the level of technique involved at DL. There’s a reason it takes guys a year or two to catch on. Mason will be doing that, figuring out Brown’s LB spot, and learning TE/HBack

          If you have all those positions, you probably have no position

          • Avatar
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            WindyCityBlue
            Mar 22, 2019 at 6:33 AM

            Agreed. And the fact that we’re trying to plug all those roster holes with a semi-retired fullback of limited athleticism is not a good sign.

            Yeah, I know guys love Mason because he’s a “dude”. He loves to bang into people. He’s the kind of “hard-working”, “tough”, “hustling”, “gritty” player that people here and on Mgoblog just love to jerk off over. But while he’s done a good job in a very limited role, he’s not the kind of athlete who’s going to make his mark at 6 different positions. He just isn’t.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 4928
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 23, 2019 at 10:40 AM

            I think you’re underestimating the fact that I never said anything to indicate Mason would be good at DL. I’m on record thinking moving to Onwenu to DL would be a terrible idea. But he’s an all conference starter at a critical position.

            If Mason fails at DE or RB It’ll be inexperience and ability that hold him back not size.

            I think Mason’s a good football player. I’m glad they’re trying to find ways to use him. Better than being close-minded and looking for problems where they don’t exist. He’s too big, not big enough, etc.

            If Mason isn’t a good DL/TE/RB/whatever, he won’t play. Which would make failure at those positions about the same as success at a position that doesn’t exist.

            • Avatar
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              WindyCityBlue
              Mar 23, 2019 at 12:07 PM

              Why would “inexperience and ability” hold Mason back at RB?

              You claimed that he already knows how to play RB and that he’s been “effective” at it. You said that he’s a “vet” and that playing RB is simple.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 4928
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 26, 2019 at 12:47 AM

                I think Mason is a low ceiling RB. He can be a backup and role player. Cutting weight isn’t going to change that.

                • Avatar
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                  WindyCityBlue
                  Mar 27, 2019 at 4:27 PM

                  You dodged the question, to no one’s surprise.

                  And yes, you or I could be the 6th string “RB”, and the team would have the same record as it would if Mason were. His “role” will continue to be as a fullback/battering ram, whenever the coaches decide they need one.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4928
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 28, 2019 at 11:45 AM

                  TBH I’m not sure what your point of contention is here. I *think* I’ve made my view on Mason clear above. As a 3rd guy, he’s fine. He can handle the jumbo back load of a Houma or Isaac. If you’re talking about a primary back who can handle any down and distance, he’d be limited due to ability/talent and experience. Nobody is talking about Mason in that role.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3114
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Mar 28, 2019 at 7:59 PM

                  The only time you ever bring up Ty Isaac is in some weird, fetishized way. Isaac wasn’t a jumbo back, but he was large. He wasn’t often used in short yardage roles. He was used as a regular running back and averaged 6.1 YPC, far more than “jumbo backs” like Houma, Mason, and Khalid Hill.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4928
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 28, 2019 at 11:46 AM

                  You can use labels like “sledgehammer” if you want. I call the guy lined up behind a full back who gets the handoff from the quarterback the “running back”.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4928
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Mar 28, 2019 at 8:13 PM

                  Semantics. 6’3/235 is jumbo to me.

                  I agree that Hill and Isaac were used differently.

                  I think jumbo backs can run outside too.

        • Avatar
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          WindyCityBlue
          Mar 22, 2019 at 6:28 AM

          Still waiting to hear how Mason was an “effective” RB (as opposed to a FB) last year. They are not the same.

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