Just five days into Michigan’s fall camp, U-M coach Brady Hoke still doesn’t know who his starting offensive line is going to be when the Wolverines open up play against Appalachian State on Aug. 30.
To be fair, Friday was the first day of a full padded practice. However, Hoke knows the Wolverines have some issues to address on the offensive front.
“I think it can be tricky,” Hoke said on balancing the offensive line. “But I also think it can be massaged very well.”
Hoke, with the help of offensive line coach Darrell Funk and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, will need to figure out a working formula quick. In 2013 the Wolverines finished 103rd in the country in rushing the football at 125.7 yards per contest. And with the graduation of Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield to the NFL, a young and inexperienced line comes back for 2014.
“And who we’ve put in that first group – and maybe that changes daily,” Hoke said. “I’m sure it will change from the morning practice to an afternoon at time until we really feel this is it with these guys. I think the competition there has been really good for us. I think they have come out everyday very physical.”
As of Friday’s practice, Hoke said his first team offensive line group form left to right was freshman Mason Cole (LT), Erik Magnuson (LG), Jack Miller (C), Graham Glasgow (LG) or David Dawson (LG) and Ben Braden (RT).
Ty Isaac Taking Reps
Sophomore running back Ty Isaac is taking his fair share of reps, although the USC transfer still hasn’t been notified if he can play this season after transferring this to U-m this summer, Hoke says.
In the meantime, however, Isaac is still getting his fair share of reps before a more solid gamelan is put in place for App State, Hoke says.
“I think as we get closer a week from now when you really start game planning, because he needs to take some reps to learn what the offense is,” Hoke said on Isaac taking reps. “I think luckily he’s played at a Division 1 university. There is a lot of similarities at something’s always. But I think this has been beneficial for him and I think everyone has gotten what we need.”
Is Gardner No. 1?
Devin Gardner is off to a hot start to fall camp, says Hoke, who noted he is taking most of the first team reps.
“I would think that he’s had a really good fall camp so far,” Hoke said of Gardner. “You know, it’s five days. He’s right now the guy taking most of the reps with the ones, but we’re splitting them up a little bit at times. If he’s not playing well, Shane [Morris] doesn’t hesitate in practice to make that change. They are both taking reps with the ones, Devin is taking the majority of them.”
As far as getting Morris more reps this season, Hoke says they still haven’t finalized a plan yet to get Morris snaps in games.
Drake Harris Update
Freshman wide receiver Drake Harris is hurt again.
Harris, who enrolled early in January, hurt his hamstring earlier this, Hoke said. Harris had dealt with hamstring issues this spring. This time, however, Hoke noted it was his other hamstring that was giving him issues.
“[Harris] has been shutdown,” Hoke said. “Most of [his practice reps] those are rehab reps.”
How serious is the injury?
“You know what? I’m not a doctor, so it’s hard for me to analyze that,” Hoke said on Harris’ injury. “I think it’s something we are very wary about. … Is it a nagging thing? Maybe, some people have those things. So we got to think a little bit – what can we do to help, besides just rest.”
Redshirt junior cornerback Blake Countess is dealing with a hamstring injury and should be ready by Monday.
Junior defensive end Mario Ojemudia is in a walking boot due to an a minor ankle injury. Hoke said he should be back by Monday.