Michigan vs. Minnesota Awards

Michigan vs. Minnesota Awards

October 7, 2013

Jake Butt, Chris Bryant, and Fitzgerald Toussaint

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Chris Bryant. Bryant stepped in at left guard and mostly did an admirable job. He did allow a sack and some occasional penetration, but he got some movement on the offensive line, showed an ability to pull, and helped Fitzgerald Toussaint average 4.6 yards/carry. Supposedly, the biggest thing keeping Bryant off the field has been his health, but if he can stay in one piece, I think Bryant at left guard and Graham Glasgow at center is the best combination.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . nobody. I think the lineup against Minnesota puts the best eleven players on the field. Bryant got his shot at guard. Derrick Green got a fair amount of run with 10 carries. Jehu Chesson started at wide receiver ahead of Jeremy Jackson and Joe Reynolds, and he responded with 3 catches for 33 yards. Devin Funchess was used as a receiver without wasting time trying to turn him into a blocker.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . Richard Ash. Rumor is that backup nose tackle Ondre Pipkins is out for the year with a knee injury. So far this year, Pipkins and Quinton Washington were the only two rotation guys at nose tackle (aside from Jibreel Black in obvious passing situations). Ash has barely played throughout his career, but I don’t think he’s been completely terrible when given opportunities. Michigan might need to be more creative, and they might need to bump backup 3-tech Willie Henry down to the nose. But I would like to see Ash get a shot to fill Pipkins’s shoes before any position changes occur.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. The defense is playing well, and I think playing Raymon Taylor and Courtney Avery at cornerback is the right choice. The coaches have toyed with Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis at times, but the trio of Taylor, Avery, and especially Blake Countess gives Michigan the best chance to win. Countess was beaten deep once on Saturday (although the ball was underthrown and incomplete) and outmuscled by tight end Maxx Williams for a short touchdown pass, but he also picked off a pass for a 72-yard touchdown. The starters are pretty much entrenched at every other spot.

Play of the game . . . Devin Gardner’s 46-yard bomb to Devin Funchess down the right sideline. The downfield passing game has been questionable this year, aside from the Notre Dame game and Jeremy Gallon. While I thought and still think that Chesson can be a downfield threat, it was nice to see Gardner hook up with his fleet-footed tight end. If Gardner can hit one or two of those deep throws each game, that should force teams to take a man out of the box, which would open up more room for Toussaint.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Funchess. Funchess had 7 catches for 151 yards and 1 touchdown, and this was the first game where his mismatch capabilities really showed for a full game. He dove, jumped, broke tackles, and outran people to average over 21 yards/catch. That’s the best performance by a Michigan tight end in over 40 years.


  1. Comments: 21383
    Oct 07, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Have to disagree about Ash. He's done basically nothing his whole time here, and has been buried on the depth chart behind guys who were not star caliber NFL prospects. Simply getting elevated on the depth chart by attrition will not make him a better player. I imagine he'll get some reps in any case, and he can't be too much worse than Pipkkns has been, but I think the better option is just to shift Henry over and hope for the best. Don't know how that will work out, but I think Henry at least has a bigger upside than Ash (though perhaps not as big a backside).

    • Comments: 21383
      Oct 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      I agree that it won't make him a better player, but I don't think he's been terrible. I also agree that Henry has higher upside. However, I think bumping Henry down to the 1-tech full-time as a backup weakens Michigan at 3-tech. The backups at 3-tech behind Henry aren't huge playmakers either.

  2. Comments: 21383
    Oct 07, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Really hope Pipkins isn't injured. We need him to get more experience and such for next year.

    • Comments: 21383
      Oct 07, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Unfortunately that seems to be the case. I guess the positive is that he got quite a bit of playing time before he was lost for the year, even if he did not seem to be very impactful. Another reason why depth is so important at every position.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Oct 07, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Would like to hear your analysis of the use of Lewan with Schofield both lined up on the right side. How often was this used and was it as successful as it seemed?
    I only noticed it after it was mentioned and did not actually catch the entire line make up such as who came in on the left to replace Lewan.

    • Comments: 21383
      Oct 07, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      It was an unbalanced line, so Lewan didn't necessarily need to be replaced, but they put Williams next to Bryant. I re-watched the game last night, and the unbalanced running was pretty darn effective.

    • Comments: 21383
      Oct 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      As BlastBeat88 said, there was no replacement for Lewan. They simply put Lewan at TE and the TE at OT. It was run quite a bit throughout the game, not just on a few plays.

  4. Comments: 21383
    Oct 07, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Mad about Pipkins' ACL for sure, but I think the good that comes out of it is that Richard Ash will get his chance to step up at Michigan, and then when Pipkins comes back next year, the NT position will be pretty well stacked.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Oct 07, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    I know this is a really stupid question, but does Ondre Pipkins' injury somehow magnify Taco Charlton's playing time? Either way, gotta feel horrible for Ondre Pipkins.

    • Comments: 21383
      Oct 08, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Michigan runs a 4-3 under. In that scheme, the strongside linebacker is usually lined up a few feet off the line of scrimmage a little further outside of the strongside defensive end/5 tech. Next on the line toward the inside is the nose tackle/1 tech. Next on the line moving back out is the defensive tackle/3 tech. And then we have the weakside defensive end, or 5/7 tech depending where he's lined up.

      Ondre Pipkins backs up Washington at the 1 tech.

      Taco is playing that weakside defensive end.

      The only way I could see it helping Taco's playing time is if Clark is somehow moved around because of this – which is unlikely.


    • Comments: 21383
      Oct 09, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      You're right.

You must belogged in to post a comment.