Michigan vs. Northwestern Awards

Michigan vs. Northwestern Awards

October 12, 2015

Jourdan Lewis

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . 
Drake Johnson. Jim Harbaugh said that Johnson was dinged up going into this week, so add him to the list that includes starting running back De’Veon Smith, who seemed to tweak his ankle by the end of the game, too. Michigan needs these guys healthy in order to compete. Derrick Green had one nice run where he made a rare (for him) jump cut, but otherwise, he only gets what the offensive line blocks. The coaches have demoted Ty Isaac (2 carries, 13 yards) after his two fumbles last week, and freshman Karan Higdon averaged 2 yards/carry (8 carries, 16 yards). Johnson had 2 carries for 3 yards and 1 touchdown, but he’s a slithery back who needs to be available next week if Michigan wants to have some versatility at running back against Michigan State next week.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Karan Higdon. I thought Higdon ran hard, but he’s small and inexperienced. Michigan has a huge game next week against Michigan State, and it would be nice if the Wolverines can have their top two running backs (De’Veon Smith, Drake Johnson) available to take most of the snaps.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Channing Stribling. Stribling has missed two consecutive games with an injury. Harbaugh said last week that it was a one-week injury, but now it’s been two weeks. Jeremy Clark has done a good job in his stead (2 tackles this week), but Michigan gets thin at the position after him, with only the inexperienced Brandon Watson left before you get to position-switchers or true freshmen. I hope can get healthy, especially because the next opponent is the Spartans, who have a decent passing attack.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . no one. Three straight shutouts. Keep doing what you’re doing.

Play of the game . . . Jourdan Lewis’s interception return for a touchdown. First of all, the interception itself was very impressive, as Lewis raked out the ball with his left hand and secured it as the receiver came down on Northwestern’s sideline. But second, the acceleration from 0-to-60 for Lewis on his way down the sideline for a 37-yard score was impressive. Michigan has not used Lewis on offense and rarely done so on special teams, but with his speed and ball skills, Lewis could be a good kick returner or wideout, too. It was exciting to see something turn from a potential reception to a defensive TD so quickly.

Player of the game . . . Jarrod Wilson. I’m going to go with an unsung hero of the team this year, and that’s Wilson. Virtually every other defensive player has received more praise this season, but Wilson led the team with 7 tackles and cleaned up whenever there was a mess to be cleaned. He’s playing fast, hitting hard, and always seems to be in the right spot. There were other guys who had good games (Willie Henry, Jourdan Lewis, Ryan Glasgow), but Wilson has rounded into one of the best safeties we’ve seen at Michigan in a long time. He was always a good athlete, but I imagine quite a bit of credit goes to new safeties coach Greg Jackson.


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1290
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Oct 12, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    Senior Safeties are nice to have around.

  2. Big_H
    Comments: 6
    Joined: 8/18/2015
    Oct 12, 2015 at 10:29 AM


    I have been anxiously waiting for your thoughts on how the back ups played in the BUCK position against Northwestern?? It seemed Royce played okay, but I would like to hear your thoughts on how it went. Thanks.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 5909
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 12, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Love that you gave props to Wilson. He’s been a rock. Saw Hill miss a tackle and got worried for a second but Wilson was there shortly to clean up. Can’t measure his value in numbers or big plays but he’s always been there and he’s covered guys pretty well when called upon as well.

    It seems like Hill and Wilson are often being used interchangeably, depending on the formation and field alignment.

    Looked like Stribling was out there for warmups, though maybe it was my imagination. I think they just kept him out to be cautious, but we’ll find out on Saturday I guess. I love our depth in the secondary but I’d still love to have our full set of starters in there.

    Kind of funny to keep calling for some change in the RB rotation… For once I agree. I want to see Johnson healthy too, but honestly not too worried if they have to use guys #3-5. Higdon looked pretty good to me and he’s a logical replacement for the part of the playbook with “Drake” written on it. He’s got quick feet. I don’t think he should add too much more weight as we need some smaller backs to pair with the bruisers.

    Green looks to be improving too and has consistently gotten praise from Harbaugh — they must see flashes of something they like. Isaac, obviously, has had some good plays and is physically impressive in an unconventional way.

    The advanced numbers still see our run game and blocking as pretty mediocre.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1331
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Oct 12, 2015 at 9:50 PM

      Stribling may have been available if needed Saturday, but when we jumped out 21-0 after one quarter, the coaches may have decided there was no need to rush him back. As far as Higdon, I’m all in favor of getting him out there. With Smith and Johnson a little gimpy and Isaac fumble-prone, lets have someone in the bullpen with a little game experience. Running backs can blossom quickly.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5909
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Oct 13, 2015 at 2:50 PM

        I always thought Higdon would play since he theoretically has a different skillset and Michigan had no obvious fit for a 3rd down back.

        Michigan has two guys who are pretty much between-the-tackle runners (Smith and Green), one guy who is an outside speed-back (Johnson) and then Isaac (jumbo pass catcher). Other than Smith nobody has demonstrated they have the whole package, and even Smith isn’t enough of a big playmaker to be used in every situation.

        I’m not sure how they view Higdon, but clearly there is room for another back.

        I think Higdon could be the 3rd back after Smith and Johnson as the season goes on. Green can continue to cleanup as Michigan has big leads and looks to limit wear on Smith while still effectively eating up clock. Isaac, I imagine, will continue to be used in some play packages to take advantage of his pass-catching skills and give him a shot for redemption.

        It’s clear Harbaugh is being supportive of all his backs, even the 4th and 5th string guys. That said, it’ll be interesting what happens next year as Shallman gets healthy and a few recruits enter the fray. Nobody graduates so…expect some roster and depth chart changes.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 142
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Oct 12, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    I will say it once again, Johnson is not the same as he was when he made an impact last year. Please go back and watch the tape prior to his injury. He and they may say he is 100% but it is obvious he does not have the quickness or cutting ability he had prior to the injury. I still say Issac will be back and back better than ever once Coach Wheatley finishes molding him. He has all the skills and will ultimately be the RB getting the majority of the carries after Smith.

You must belogged in to post a comment.