Hayes Ready To 'Step' Up

Justice Hayes says the running backs are ready to fill the workload of Derrick Green, who is out for the season with a broken clavicle.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With starting running back Derrick Green out for the season with a broken clavicle, the next player in the rotation needs to step, according to Justice Hayes Michigan has the runners to do that.

“We’re bummed,” Hayes said of Green’s injury. “It happens. That’s football. Guys have to step in there. And we are going to do that.” Green’s production may be hard to replace. Through six games, Green led the Wolverines in rushing with 472 yards on 82 attempts and three touchdowns on the season. He also averaged 78.5 yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry, had led U-M with two 100-yard rushing games on the season in six starts.

Hayes, who has been a predominantly a third-down back for the Wolverines these past two seasons, will have an added workload with Green out of the rotation. Through six games, Hayes has 101-yard rushing, which is fourth on the team. Despite a low workload this season, Hayes did show spurts of slashing ability late in Michigan’s 26-24 lost at Rutgers last Saturday.

“I’m out there, kind of got used to the game,” Hayes said. “[I was] out there last year a little bit. I should be able to do great things out there. I do everything in practice, you know, just got to translate it to the game field.”

And despite the loss, Hayes took away some positives from the U-M rushing attack that ran for 158-yards in defeat at Rutgers.

“Of course, we did great things in the Rutgers game,” Hayes said. “Another good thing about that, is it was a away [game]. [There] was a lot of distractions that could’ve took over us, but we didn’t let that bother us. We’re picking it up, and we are doing great things in practice. Showing great spurt of offense, and feel pretty confident going into our future games. “As an offense, we’ve made great strides. It’s unfortunate that we lost. We [are] not getting down on that game. We’re looking ahead and see an excellence and greatness in our future. … We’re being positive about everything.”

As far as if the offense changes now that Green is out, Hayes says there is no major shakeup expected.

“It really don’t change,” Hayes said. “I’m pretty sure as a coordinator you have to change things up a little bit. But we are pretty much going to be doing the same thing that we feel that we need to do. It depends on what Penn State does as a defense, you know, we have to try to get the right plays into that game. It doesn’t have to be different formations – we can do that – It should be pretty much the same.

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