ANN ARBOR—30 carries out of the tailback position that resulted in a net gain of 28-yards.
The lone bright spot for the Wolverines came on the legs of quarterback Devin Gardner who carried the ball 24 times for 121-yards. But if it’s up to offensive coordinator Al Borges, that won’t be the game plan moving forward with his offense.
“I don’t want him carrying the ball 25 times,” Borges said Tuesday. “Cause he won’t make it. Denard (Robinson) didn’t make it.
“But there’s going to be in times, in the heat of the battle, if those are the things that work and those are the things that help you win, you’ve got to go do them. And our power running game wasn’t that good.”
Despite the ineffectiveness of the offensive line at the line of scrimmage and lack of any production from the running back spot, Borges believes abandoning the run game isn’t the right option, adjusting to Penn State’s defense coming out of the break.
“And we did that,” Borges said. “The thing about it is, because the power game wasn’t as good, you can’t just say ‘we’re not going to do it anymore.’
“What we did in the second half is we threw the ball more and created a few big plays.”
Senior left tackle Taylor Lewan was knocked out of the game in the first half, paving the way for redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson’s first extended time on the field at right tackle, shifting Michael Schofield over to the left side.
Joey Burzynski also saw time at left guard in place of Chris Bryant. With a full week of practice before hosting Indiana Saturday, Michigan plans to use every rep to figure out a starting five on the offensive line.
“That depth chart is in pencil,” Borges reiterated. “This week we’re auditioning more players and we’re going to see how it turns out. We’re going to iron these mistakes out one way or another and find the five best guys we feel that can do it.
“That doesn’t mean the guys that were in there aren’t going to be in there. We’re going to give them a chance too.”
Heading into the seventh game of the season, Borges thought Michigan would have the offensive line figured out by this point.
“I would hoped five, that would’ve happened a while back but it didn’t,” Borges said. “It’s like tailbacks my first year here.
“You don’t want to do it ever but you’ve got to find the best five. Whatever it takes to find the best five.”