Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Da’Mario Jones. Jones is reportedly one of the faster players on the team, and Michigan is lacking a deep threat. Devin Funchess is being bracketed, Amara Darboh doesn’t have great speed, and Dennis Norfleet doesn’t know how to catch a ball that’s thrown at him. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Jones – it could be Freddy Canteen or Maurice Ways – but Michigan needs to find someone else to stretch the field besides a hobbled Funchess.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Williams. He is slow and does not have good hands. Devin Gardner threw a quick out to him on Saturday night, and the results were sad. The tight ends running those routes should be Jake Butt or Khalid Hill. We know Butt is good, but Hill is a guy who seems to be improving steadily.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Jarrod Wilson at free safety. I guess I don’t see the rationale behind playing the more inexperienced Jeremy Clark back there in loads of open space, while the more experienced Wilson is covering the flats or stopping the run. Those roles should be flipped. Clark has size and speed, but he lacks field awareness. Meanwhile, Wilson’s jarring hit on Leonte Carroo was the first of its kind for Michigan this season, and – surprise! – it came when Wilson was playing deep.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . tentative Joe Bolden and Frank Clark. On separate occasions, these guys seemed afraid to hit Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova. Bolden lacked his improving aggressive nature on a scramble up the middle, and Clark seemed to pull up on a pass rush that allowed Nova to side-step him and throw a touchdown to a diving John Tsimis. Were they tentative because of the week-long discussion about quarterback safety after the Shane Morris hit? Was it a coincidence? I don’t know. Maybe Gary is just a super Nova. (Sad people make sad jokes.)
Play of the game . . . unlike last week, there are a couple choices. The highlight reel choice was obviously the one-handed snag by tight end Jake Butt. The more meaningful play was Devin Gardner’s 19-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. On a bootleg, he juked the outside contain guy and outran the Rutgers defense to the pylon, all along gliding like only he and a few other quarterbacks can do. He really is fun to watch when he gets in open space. Not many 6’4″, 216 lb. guys can move like he does.
MVP of the game . . . Gardner. He didn’t have a great game, but nobody really stood out for Michigan. Gardner finished the game 13/22 for 178 yards, and 1 interception; he also ran the ball 10 times for 40 yards and 2 touchdowns. For the most part, he managed the game well, especially once he got comfortable in the second half. I also thought Joe Bolden played pretty well – he made 10 tackles, including 9 solo stops, several of which stopped Scarlet Knights in their tracks.