Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Donovan Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones played quite a bit on Saturday, but I just want to take this opportunity to express how important Peoples-Jones is to this offense. I really think his absence from the field hampered Michigan during the first few weeks of the season. The team was missing its best receiver and the only reliable punt returner. His 4 catches for 62 yards didn’t set the world on fire, but he offers a different element to the team than anyone else can provide.
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Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Tarik Black. Nobody’s usage really bothered me on Saturday, so I guess I have to go for the guy who should probably be removed from the field in favor of Peoples-Jones. Michigan has a good possession guy in Nico Collins, a good slot guy in Ronnie Bell, and a well-rounded number one in Peoples-Jones; if Michigan goes with 11 personnel, I guess Black is the odd man out.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Cam McGrone. Don Brown said this is the deepest linebacker corps he’s had, and that statement rang true on Saturday when McGrone was all over the field. An injured Josh Ross opened the door for a new starter at middle linebacker. McGrone, who had been backing up both the MIKE and WILL spots, stepped in for a surprising start ahead of Jordan Anthony. McGrone is more athletically gifted and should supplant Anthony, if not move into the starting WILL linebacker position.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Jordan Glasgow. I wouldn’t be too upset if McGrone started stealing snaps from Glasgow once Ross is healthy. Glasgow can certainly have a role on this defense, but he’s limited as an athlete. Glasgow can get after the passer and even be effective as a run stopper against some squads, but against teams that are going to get athletes in space – something that Michigan has sworn to do – the Wolverines need athletes to defend that space. McGrone is more capable of that than Glasgow.
Play of the game . . . Nico Collins’s 48-yard touchdown catch. It wasn’t the flashiest of plays. Michigan lined up in a condensed formation to run Collins on an out route, at which point he caught the ball, turned up the sideline, and scored. It was a nice play, but it represented something more: the first time this year that Michigan didn’t fumble away the ball on the opening drive of a game.
MVP of the game . . . Josh Gattis. I think this is the first time I’ve given an award to a coach, but I liked the way Gattis called the game on Saturday. The offense seemed to flow a lot better. And while Rutgers is Rutgers, it was still a better offensive performance for Michigan than they had against Middle Tennessee or Army. A stinker of a game would have caused a ton of consternation, but Michigan’s passing offense was clicking and the rushing offense was a little more in sync. I don’t know if Gattis calls a better game from down on the sideline or if he just had a better game plan going into this week, but whatever it was, it worked. Hopefully it’s a sign of better things to come.
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