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September 13, 2013On paper, Michigan vs. Akron is a game in which several of the second- and third-team Wolverines should play, even if head coach Brady Hoke won't admit it. U-M seemed to take that approach in 2006 when Hoke brought his Ball State team to Ann Arbor late in the year for what should have been a laugher.
Michigan was sloppy and played several players on defense, but still managed to take a 31-12 lead in the fourth quarter. Ball State moved for two scores against a defense with a number of reserves, cutting it to 34-26 and driving to the two-yard line before the Wolverines were forced to put their first stringers back in to preserve not only a win, but a perfect season to date.
Hoke was on the other sideline that day, but he doesn't need a reminder to help his team prepare for overmatched Akron.
"We're going to need all men on hand for Saturday," he said in assessing Michigan's injury situation for the Zips.
Chances are they really won't. Several of the 'twos' and 'threes' should play, while some of the first stringers could get more involved, as well. Among them:
With Reynolds, coming off a knee injury suffered against Central, they'll have to weight the benefit of added rest vs. the importance of getting him more looks prior to the Big Ten season.
"When you look at Akron I see a team with 22 transfers and one that's coached really well," he said. "Thirteen of those transfers are playing significant snaps, including two offensive linemen, one who transferred from Florida State and one from Pittsburgh - those are pretty good programs.
"They have a couple of guys who transferred from Ohio. They've got really good skill, they are rotating eight receivers through and both backs are hard runners. At quarterback, [Nick] Hirschman, we recruited him at San Diego State and then looked at him coming here as a transfer from Colorado. They've got plenty of players and I think [head coach] Terry [Bowden]'s done a nice job with that program."
Good enough to give Michigan a game?
Don't bet on it.