Johnson's Role to be Bigger; Lewis' Uncertain

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh didn't divulge much when it comes to the statuses of Jourdan Lewis and Joe Kerridge heading into the Wolverines' match-up with UNLV Saturday in Ann Arbor, but he did share encouraging news on Drake Johnson's role moving forward.

Michigan's 35-7 win over Oregon State Saturday couldn't have gone much better.

After a rough first possession defensively, allowing a quick touchdown for the Beavers, the Wolverines defense tightened and held Oregon State scoreless the rest of the way.

The same can be said for the offense following a sack fumble for senior Jake Rudock on the third snap of the game.

From there, Michigan put up 35-points and largely controlled the line of scrimmage with an improved offensive line and three touchdown performance out of junior running back De'Veon Smith. It was an encouraging sign of what the ground game might look like if it can find some consistency. One of the players that could contribute to that cause made a small cameo versus the Beavers.

Over nine months after sustaining his second ACL tear Michigan redshirt junior running back Drake Johnson saw his first game action versus Oregon State Saturday.  All told he was on the field for two plays and carried one time for three yards, but that sufficient enough to accomplish Michigan headman Jim Harbaugh’s goal of knocking the rust off.

“I just have a feeling that when you haven’t played in a while because of an injury, your nervous system can really put your body in a position that it can’t recover from if you’re not (careful),” said Harbaugh.  “It’s almost like an iron fist you ball.  Your nervous system does that to your body… tightens it up.  To be able to get acclimated to the feelings and emotions of playing a game was what we were striving for without putting him in a position to let his nervous system get his body in a position that he couldn’t recover from.  So I think we’ll be better for that this week and next.”

When asked if that meant Johnson would play a bigger role versus UNLV Harbaugh didn’t hesitate.

“Yeah, I’d anticipate that,” he replied.

The worst news to come out of the win rests with the status of junior cornerback Jourdan Lewis after exiting in the first half with what was later determined to be a concussion.

Asked how long Lewis could be out and what his status might be for this Saturday at home against UNLV, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh appeared unsure.

"I don't know," he said. "I've never really been into the business of predicting, especially when it comes to concussions.

"He'll be evaluated by doctors."

Lewis started all 12 games in 2014 finishing with 28 tackles and two interceptions.

On offense, senior captain and full back Joe Kerridge also left Saturday's win over Oregon State with an undisclosed injury.

Harbaugh wouldn't comment on Kerridge's status other than to say he'd know more from the medical staff today.

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