Did you see that?
We’ve always known Chris Wormley is an outstanding athlete, but his narrow loss to Ty Isaac 30 yard speed drills was a good reminder. Watching it reminded me of a conversation with Wormley during his junior year in high school when he told me he could run a 10.6 100 meters. I went to watch one of track meets for verification. He didn’t hit that mark in his 4x100 meter split that day, but his 11.3 second time at 280 pounds was still extremely impressive. What he did Tuesday at 290-plus was even more so.
Defensive Chess Pieces
Chase Winovich has been one of the more intriguing players to watch over the first couple of days because of the versatility his newly acquired size affords him. He really looks the part at linebacker now. He is all of 240 pounds and can still move as well as he did when he was 215. He appears poised to play a more physical brand of football, and the coaches are clearly expecting that. That much was made clear in their decision to line him up at defensive end during the portion of practice the media was allowed to observe. If things go according to what looks to be the plan, expect to see Winovich playing standing up at times, and with his hand in the dirt at others. His non-stop motor and reckless abandon should help him when it comes to getting after opposing quarterbacks… keyword being "opposing." Greg Mattison barked at him for getting to close to the Wolverines’ quarterbacks on day two.
Jabrill Peppers is again the defense’s ultimate chess piece. He offers Don Brown a great deal of flexibility because Brown will be able to play him like a 4-3 outside backer against some teams (and Peppers really seems to being learning his keys rather quickly), and they don’t lose anything if the situation calls for him to slide over to cover a slot. There was a twinkle in Brown’s eye when he discussed the varied looks he’ll be able to employ without substituting. As far as Peppers’ play is concerned, he was the only defender that had a prayer against Jake Butt. He forced the Wolverines talented tight end into a drop with tight coverage on a comeback. Later in 7-on7 he dropped into coverage and outmuscled Drake Harris for a ball that looked like it was going to be a surefire reception. Instead Peppers took it the other way. He looks bigger and stronger and doesn’t appear to have lost any speed. After again establishing himself as one of the fastest Wolverines in 30-yard speed drills he proclaimed to the coaches, “your SAM backer is the fastest guy on the team! How does that feel?!"
When Michigan wants to get bigger at SAM, the guy they appear to looking to (at least at this early point in the competition) is Noah Furbush. The former Kenton (Ohio) standout wasn’t noted for his footspeed coming out of high school, but he did a good job of running with tight ends and made a couple of plays in coverage. He still looks like he needs to fill out more, but he gives the Wolverines a more prototypical alternative to Peppers and he should be even bigger by the time fall rolls around.
Don Brown is really intense, and the players seem to love it and are responding to him. One guy that seems to be soaking Browns tutelage up like a sponge is Reuben Jones. The redshirt freshman linebacker is still in the learning phase of the linebacker position after spending most of his football career with his hand in the dirt. Learning to read his keys quickly and then taking proper angles to the football are both skills that take time. The focus during one memorable exchange yesterday was pursuit angles and leveraging the football properly. After barking at Jones about taking a poor path to the football on a few reps the redshirt sophomore began doing better. By the end of practice Michigan’s new DC was clearly pleased.
In other news Brown said he really likes what he is seeing from Mike McCray.
Ryan Glasgow worked out on the side again in practice two, but he had his jersey on this time and helmet nearby signaling the possibility of him joining his linemates on the field. Trainers are clearly taking the cautious approach in holding him back. He is clearly chomping at the bit to get back on the field. As he was leaving the practice field yesterday he told his fellow d-lineman that he had to go talk to the trainers so he could “join you guys.” As was stated yesterday, it would not be a surprise to see him back on the field while down in Florida.
Jehu Chesson worked out on the side with his knee brace on again. As was stated on day one, it would be a surprise if we see him on the field this week.
Wyatt Shallman worked out of the side nursing some unspecified injury. He practiced fully on day one.
Kingston Davis came up a bit gimpy late in his practice session and worked out on the side as well.