ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan has been fortunate enough throughout the season to have multiple running backs step up and make big plays. Whether it's De'Veon Smith, Ty Isaac or Drake Johnson, many different hats have to be worn this season.
In the case of Johnson against Minnesota on Saturday, it was his turn to carry the load due to Smith's struggles throughout the game. For Johnson, there wasn't a magical formula he had that earned him the extra carries, it was just simply the way the ball rolled.
And, of course, a little bit magical dust.
"Sometimes the 'carry fairy' just allows people to run well," Johnson said. "It just happened to sprinkle a little on me that day, just worked out well. The offensive line was doing really well but they were rushing the defensive ends really hard up the field. In all sincerity, with their defensive scheme, we just started taking advantage of it with our outside zone game so they rush down the field and we'd just cut right under it."
Johnson says he is feeling healthy and could carry the load offensively if the coaches needed him to do so. When asked how much he could handle, he said that he could carry up to 30-35 times and would feel 'decrepit' afterwards. Ideally, he said, 20-25 carries would be right in his wheelhouse. However, whatever the coaches needed him to do, he would do it.
Despite every running backs goal is to be the featured back of the offense, Johnson knows that's not the case at Michigan right now. With many capable running backs on roster right now, he knows it's all about the team and what it takes to be successful.
"Does everyone want to be the featured back? Of course," Johnson said. "Idealistically, everyone wants to be the first that says 'I want to be the perseon that gets 30 carries in a game.' But in a real situation that's probably not what's going to happen. That's what's working most effectively for the offense to go 10 here, 15 here, five to this back and such. Then that's what needs to be done for the offense and that's what needs to be done for Michigan because it's not the University of Drake Johnson or the University of De'Veon or Ty.
"The University of Michigan is the entire team so it's doing what helps them the most."