ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Iowa's Desmond King is one of the best returners in the Big Ten, and has the full attention of Michigan’s special teams unit as the No. 3 Wolverines prepare for the Hawkeyes this Saturday night.
“Desmond King is an excellent returner, so we definitely have our work cut out for us there,” said U-M assistant Jay Harbaugh. “We got to be really, really sharp, better than we have been. Because we really haven’t been tested that much lately. We really got to bring it on Saturday.”
Currently, King leads the Big Ten averaging 29.2 yards per kickoff return, and ranks third in punt return average, averaging 9.2 yards per return.
Why is he so good? Well, mostly because he can make the first guy miss, says Harbaugh.
“He typically makes the first guy miss, which is everything,” Harbaugh said of King. “Typically in coverage someone is going to get beat, a blocker is going to get beat. One guy is going to be down there way ahead of the pack. And the great ones can make that guy miss. Then you have a chance to get the rest of your blockers in position, then you really come alive.
“But if you can’t make that first guy miss, then you don’t have a chance. That’s what he does a really good job of.”
All being said, though, Harbaugh admits he is mostly pleased with U-M’s return coverage up to this point of the season.
“Pretty pleased, could be better,” Harbaugh said of U-M’s special teams coverage. “Early in the year there was a handful of medium to big plays that opponents had on us that kind of left a bad taste in our mouth.”
No. 3 Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) plays at Iowa (5-4, 3-3) this Saturday at 8 p.m.