USA Today

Jay Harbaugh looking for growth in Chris Evans this season

Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh discusses what's next in the growth process of running back Chris Evans.

Interview by Sam Webb

Story by Josh Henschke

Michigan sophomore running back Chris Evans made his presence felt, essentially, as soon as he stepped on campus. He did enough of the right things in fall camp to earn the right to play as a true freshmen where he excelled against Hawaii.

While his positive moments came and went with flashes throughout the season, it was the bowl game against Florida State that proved Evans could be in contention for the starting role.

Considering he is still young, Evans has plenty of room to grow in the system and with his size. On top of that, he will be working with a new position coach, Jay Harbaugh. While everyone is still in the feeling out stage, Harbaugh has seen enough from Evans to be optimistic.

“I’d say it is hard, because you see him so often," Harbaugh said when asked about Evans' progress during the offseason. "I know he is doing all the right things. He certainly looks like he is a little bit thicker, stronger, but in terms of exact weight, maybe it is only a handful of pounds, but even a little bit can add sturdiness and help, but just experience for him. You get a season under your belt and then add spring ball, and the fall camp, it is going to be huge for him.”

For Evans, it's all about progressing from one season to the next. Just because he was successful as freshman doesn't mean he rests on his laurels and cruises through the sophomore campaign. There is still plenty of things he needs to learn, Evans realizes that as well as Harbaugh.

The learning process comes with experience, something Harbaugh expects Evans to receive plenty of this fall.

“You always look to be a complete back, so it is everything, but for him that really means gaining a full understanding of what is going on around him," Harbaugh said. "It is hard when you are a young player. It is cliché, but the game slows down as you get older and get more experience. You understand where to look and what to see and not be consumed by chaos when you don’t know where to look. I think that is an exciting thing for him because as he gets more confident, the game will slow down and you’ll see a guy that plays faster. Pass protection will show up, run game vision will definitely show up. Those are the main things. A lot of it is just mental and it comes with experience."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories