Through Michigan’s first three games, sophomore running back Derrick Green has two 100-yard rushing performances with 174-yards versus Appalachian State and 137-yards against Miami (Ohio) respectably. He is also averaging 110.7 yards per game at 6.6 yards per carry with three touchdowns. Not bad, considering the up and down season that was his freshman year at Michigan.
In 2013, Green came to Michigan a five-star prospect and was labeled a “savior” to U-M’s run game. He was considered the game breaker the Wolverines needed in Brady Hoke’s offense. It just didn’t work out that way for Green.
Last year, he came in overweight at 245-pounds, or roughly close to. Now, Green comes in at healthy 220-pounds, and it showing on the field.
“Probably at the end of last season, there was definitely a lot of things I had to change far as my weight, the way I approached practices, camp, stuff like that,” Green said. “I definitely had to change my whole mindset with everything and make sure I was keyed in. Just focus coming into the season.”
"I think again, he was a freshman a year ago -- a true freshman,” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. “He came in not in good shape, hurt his ankle, and he lost a bunch of reps. He started to come around at the end of last year.
Hoke, who was instrumental in recruiting Green to Michigan, says Green put in the work this off-season. And while Green has got most of majority of the carries early on this season, he still hasn’t decided to go with a feature back in his offense, despite favoring a one back offense in the past.
"I always like to have one guy to feature,” Hoke said. “Having De'Veon (Smith) to go too, is a big plus. We'll keep rotating guys through. He got the majority of the reps, and you never know when that could change, where De'Veon could get the majority of them."
Green, who expected to start against Utah this Saturday, says two things have changed for this season – his consistency and communication.
“I think the biggest thing for me was being more consistent in practice,” Green said. “Bring that to the game. I think with me it was communicating with the O-line and the quarterbacks. If I see something, I think those are the two biggest things.”
How does he communicate?
“If I see something different with the defensive line that we didn’t see on film, just communicating with them and letting them know that.”
Michigan (2-1) plays host to Utah (2-0) this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.