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Michigan Football: Big Weekend On Tap For Many Wolverines

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Quarterback Brandon Peters and lineman Lawrence Marshall are two who have ground to make up in the race for playing time
Photo by Lon Horwedel

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t certain if his team will scrimmage today, given the long and exhausting practice he put them through Friday, but he is expecting some players to separate from the pack.

It’s already happened at quarterback, where redshirt junior Wilton Speight and fifth-year senior John O’Korn are ahead in the competition.

“It’s been good,” Harbaugh said of practice. “We had a good day today. They had more energy, were moving around better, had a bounce in their step.

“This is a big weekend. Guys are going to get on the train and get into playing positions. It’s a big weekend for it because we’re going to be making the two-deep rosters soon. The train has already left the station, and it’s picking up steam.”

They aren’t where they need to be on either side of the ball, but Harbaugh’s not worried.

“I’ll know when it’s good; then we’ll just keep going full speed,” he said. “We won’t back anything off. We’ll keep grinding, as they say. It’s not there yet, but you usually know it [when you are].”

They’ll also have a better idea which freshmen will play. It will be in double digits once again.

“Oliver [Martin], DPJ [Donovan Peoples-Jones] and Tarik are going to be out there, probably Nico [Collins] too, at some point,” he said. “[Fullback] Ben Mason.

“Those young defensive linemen are going to be in the mix for sure. [Cornerback] Ambry Thomas is a guy I didn’t talk about earlier. He’s been sensational. I love him. There are not too many guys I get along better with than Ambry Thomas. He’s mature beyond his years. I love that about him … people here should be real proud of him. He’s a ball player.”

He also mentioned linebacker Drew Singleton in addition to Josh Ross, who he raved about.

Other positional notes:

• “The backs have been really good,” Harbaugh said. “Chris Evans, Karan [Higdon] has been really good and Ty Isaac. The guy is so slippery it’s unbelievable. He just bobs and weaves, is tough to get down on the round. Kareem [Walker] has started to assert himself.

“The backs seem good, the tight ends seem good. The receiving group is coming along nicely. Offensively, we keep honing in on that offensive line. That’s where we’re at offensively.”

• On the tight ends: “Really good,” Harbaugh said. “Ty Wheatley is running faster. He lost some weight, about 20 pounds. He’s been the most physical of the tight ends. Sean McKeon has been very, very athletic. Zach Gentry is fighting like a mad man, doing some really good things. Ian Bunting is back practicing, and getting himself back to where he was.

“Nick Eubanks has really, really been tough and proficient in the pass game. Greg Frey is bringing him along as a run blocker. I’m really excited about all those guys.”

• On the defense: “Defensively, the secondary … Don [Brown] and Brian [Smith] and Mike [Zordich] are coaching the heck out of that,” Harbaugh said. “I feel good that we’ll get there. Guys are battling … it’s a good group.”

• On Special Teams: “[Walk-on] Will Hart is really punting well, but [freshman] Brad Robbins is the real deal,” Harbaugh said. “They’re neck and neck. I haven’t had a freshman punter punt as well as Brad Robbins has. Will Hart’s not giving an inch, either.

“[Long snapper] Cameron Cheesman has done a nice job, more velocity on his snaps, which is really good. Quinn Nordin is kicking really well, Kyle Seychel is back. Ryan Tice and Doug Foug, possibly kicking off.

“It’s not going to be one guy doing it. We’ll have a different punter, kicker and kickoff guy to handle those responsibilities.”

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