ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s no secret that Michigan wants to run the football, which causes their opponents to stack the line of scrimmage making it harder to establish a run game consistency throughout the game.
But if defenses are focused on stopping the run, it just opens up others areas for the offense to succeed, says running back De’Veon Smith.
“It gets frustrating seeing eight to nine people in the box,” Smith said. “But it shows that they know that you’re a threat. So it’s kind of bittersweet about it. I’m not mad about it when I see it, because we need a first down and it’s third-and-1, and you see all those guys in the box, you still get the first down (passing) it’s kind of a good feeling.”
U-M’s run game is ranked-7th in the Big Ten, averaging 171.9 yards per game. However, the Wolverines have had to rely more on their passing game lately, with Jake Rudock throwing for a career-high 337 yards in U-M’s 49-16 win against Rutgers on Saturday.
“If Jake keeps playing the way he is playing, then they are not going to load that box,” Smith said. “It’s going to open the run game and the pass game. Jake just continues what he is doing, offense is going to be good.”
Although, Smith admits he still can always make improvements in his own game.
“I know I missed some holes Saturday’s game,” said Smith, who finished with 73 yards and touchdown versus Rutgers. “But it’s just going back looking at the film and seeing what you could’ve done better.”
Adding: “You just got to run and react, really. And your body is going to react in very different ways. You don’t want to tempo to a point where you kind of know where you want to go, so you kind of run to react to react. Say if a guy runs up in your face, you got to react to it.”