Player-coach dealings no longer a one-way street on Michigan’s defense
That two-way street of communication spilled into spring and has continued into late-October, where the Wolverines take a 6-0 start and No. And while there have been hiccups, players say the coaching staff has worked through it with them. Players say they watch film from the previous day’s practice or previous week’s game and provide feedback to the coaches. But so far, Michigan’s defense has been a surprise strength of the team. More: ‘Leveled up’ defensive line has turned into a strength for Michigan football“This is their defense,” defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale said.mlive.com
The next step in the progression of Michigan’s secondary
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — No position on Michigan’s team has benefitted more from the change in defensive scheme this season than the secondary. 6 Michigan (6-0) has the third-best passing defense in the Big Ten when measured by passing yards allowed (185.7 per game). “We’re doing a lot of different coverages, so they’re not isolated as much as they have been. Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez was able to spread the field and open up holes, putting Michigan’s defense in conflict at times. Nebraska’s explosive offense tested the Michigan secondary later on, in what Clinkscale called their toughest test yet.mlive.com
‘Best QB we’ve seen.’ Michigan preps for Adrian Martinez, Nebraska’s pesky option offense
ET, ABC), but Jim Harbaugh’s team is preparing for what might be the most explosive, and dangerous, offense they will have seen so far this season. Led by quarterback Adrian Martinez, a mobile, dual-threat quarterback, Nebraska is Michigan’s heir apparent when it comes to rushing. The team ranks second in the Big Ten (237.5 yards per game), and a big reason for that is Martinez. “This quarterback and this offense.”In other words, Harbaugh is preparing for a much more difficult challenge from Martinez and the well-oiled Nebraska offense. “It’s going to be a big, big challenge.”mlive.com
Michigan is growing up before our eyes. Could it finally be time to ask the question?
“They had that kind of vibe about them when they first stepped in the locker room this morning,” Harbaugh said after the game. Armed with a more aggressive passing attack and a bend-not-break defense, Michigan followed its 2021 season script to a tee: By jumping out to an early lead and never relinquishing it. We just have to come in and do whatever we have to do to win — and that’s what we did.”In years past, especially against teams the caliber of Wisconsin, Michigan would have squandered its one-possession lead in the second half. We haven’t done nothing yet.”Another week, another victory for Michigan, a 5-0 team growing up before our very eyes. Dare we say it, but could this Wolverines team actually be a Big Ten contender this year?mlive.com
Michigan stock report: Pass rush soars in win vs. Wisconsin
Michigan passed its first road test of the season, dominating Wisconsin 38-17 Saturday to remain unbeaten. The sophomore wideout had a team-high six catches for 81 yards, including a highlight-reel 38-yard grab in the third quarter that set up a J.J. McCarthy touchdown run. Michigan’s offensive lineThe line kept the pocket clean for Michigan’s quarterbacks for most of the game and did not allow a sack against Wisconsin’s vaunted pass rush. The Wolverines averaged just 2.5 yards per rush but totaled 112 yards on the ground. Buy Wolverines gear: Fanatics, Nike, Amazon, LidsBuy Wolverines tickets: StubHub, SeatGeek, TicketmasterStream Wolverines games live: fuboTV, ESPN+, Slingmlive.com
Michigan stock report: Wolverines survive vs. Rutgers, but several concerns arise
Michigan’s struggles in the second half are reflected in our stock report from Saturday’s game. STOCK DOWNMichigan’s run defenseThe Scarlet Knights didn’t look like an offense that ranked 10th in the Big Ten in rushing entering Saturday. Losing Ross to an injury late in the second quarter was costly, but Michigan allowing 196 yards on the ground was surprising. On Rutgers’ second drive of the third quarter, Hill-Green had a roughing the passer penalty that put the Scarlet Knights in the red zone. Buy Wolverines gear: Fanatics, Nike, Amazon, LidsBuy Wolverines tickets: StubHub, SeatGeek, TicketmasterStream Wolverines games live: fuboTV, ESPN+, Slingmlive.com
Michigan will face ex-Wolverine when Washington visits
As a wide receiver, he caught 24 passes over his two seasons at Michigan, adding both a receiving and rushing touchdown. “Definitely weird,” Michigan sophomore wide receiver Roman Wilson said this week of what it will be like to see Jackson on the opposing sideline. Washington head coach Jimmy Lake was asked at a press conference if Jackson told him why he transferred from Michigan. He’s going to get better from here.”Lake said Washington did recruit Jackson, an Antioch, California, native, out of high school. Michigan lost its top receiver, senior Ronnie Bell, to a season-ending injury in Saturday’s 47-14 win over Western Michigan.mlive.com
Michigan stock report: Daxton Hill, running backs shine in win vs. Western Michigan
Western Michigan scored a touchdown on its opening drive, but it was all Wolverines after that. Michigan’s defense allowed just 201 yards after the first quarter while its offense racked up 549 total yards in a 47-14 rout at Michigan Stadium. Eleby only had one completion in the second quarter, and Hill was right there to make the tackle for no gain. Blowing up a tunnel screen to force a third-and-long on Western Michigan’s first drive of the second half was an elite-level play. He didn’t play much in the second half with Michigan up big, but he only had two catches for 15 yards on three targets in the first half.mlive.com
Dax Hill on his expanded role in Michigan’s defense: ‘We have more freedom’
First-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has said he plans to dispatch multiple-looking fronts and alignments in order to keep opposing teams guessing. Really just learning my plays every day.”To do that, Hill says, he’s spending extra around the football facility after meetings. More: Michigan plans to play Dax Hill over the field“It’s not like I’m a play here, play there,” Hill said. While successful for a while, Hill called it “one dimensional.”“We just have a lot more calls,” Hill said. I’m really, really excited about all the plays he can make.mlive.com
Michigan plans to play Daxton Hill all over the field
Get ready to finally see Daxton Hill utilized all over the football field this fall. In 19 career games at Michigan, Hill has six starts at free safety and 82 tackles (three for a loss), two interceptions and nine pass deflections. To help illustrate his point, Harbaugh pointed to a plyometric stair workout that Michigan had its players do over the summer. It also signals that the 6-foot, 192-pound Hill hasn’t lost his speed, one of his biggest weapons on the football field. What if Macdonald elects to go with a five-man defensive backfield and sticks Hill on the outside as a cover-corner?mlive.com
Michigan football’s new-look D keeps players guessing in practice
While Mike Macdonald quipped last week that his new-look Michigan defense isn’t that difficult to figure out, he got some laughs from his players. A lot of unexpected stuff keeps happening that I’ve never seen before — that I’ve never seen our players do. More: Mike Macdonald wants Michigan defense to be a ‘living nightmare’ for opponentsAnd while some characteristics of Brown’s high-tempo, pressure-packed scheme still remain, things have changed. “I really like the way they’re playing,” Stueber continued. “They’re playing fast, they’re playing to the ball and they’re playing physical.mlive.com
Michigan’s Daxton Hill, Aidan Hutchinson sign their way to history in Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With the swipe of a marker on Sunday afternoon, a pair of Michigan football players made history. Senior defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson and junior defensive back Daxton Hill took part in an autograph signing at The M Den on campus, 303 S. State Street, the store’s first-ever signing with current Michigan athletes. With him was a maize and blue poster of the winged helmet with 140 signatures on it — an impressive list that included Michigan football legends Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard and Jim Harbaugh. We started running out of room, so that was my first choice — to get people to sign this poster.”More: M Den selling U-M football jerseys with players’ names on the backMichigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Daxton Hill signing autographs (and taking pictures) at The M Den in Ann Arbor. Players have a new-found freedom to make money through endorsement deals and appearances at public events, such as the autograph signing on Sunday.mlive.com
Spotlight grows on Daxton Hill, Michigan’s play-making safety
Daxton Hill arrived at Michigan in 2019 after a controversial recruiting pathway, one that saw the five-star safety abruptly decommit from Michigan and commit Alabama. “He just shows up by the ball,” Jim Harbaugh said of Hill in October 2019, following Hill’s first start. Michigan players voted him defensive rookie of the year after the season, setting the stage for what should have been a breakout year for Hill in 2020. “Really just having the mentality of ‘just beat your guy,’ really,” Hill said last November, explaining the struggles of Michigan’s defense. With Hill, Michigan has a future first team all-Big Ten defensive back.mlive.com
Daxton Hill sticks with Michigan despite constant staff upheaval
As Daxton Hill prepares for another season at Michigan, the junior safety will do it with yet another new face giving him direction. That pushed analyst Aashon Larkins in an on-field coaching role, the third safeties coach in just two years for Hill and the other tenured safeties. “Yeah, it’s tough having a lot of different safeties coaches — but I feel like coach Bellamy is going to do a great job this year for the safeties,” Hill said. “He was a head coach last year, so his experience is being a head coach. When asked about the realities of the transfer portal, Hill acknowledged the delicate balance players go through while making a decision.mlive.com
Michigan’s secondary could benefit from change in defensive scheme
Don Brown’s aggressive, man-press defensive scheme was welcomed by his players because it put them in control of the game. But a new defensive coordinator, Mike Macdonald, and new scheme could help alleviate some of that pressure and responsibility in 2021. We’ll get into that in a moment, but first, a look at who’s back in the secondary for Michigan this fall. Departing: Jared Davis (walk on)Returning: Andre Seldon (cornerback), Vincent Gray (cornerback), D.J. If Michigan elects to drop more defensive players back against opposing offenses, you could see better results in the back end.mlive.com
What they’re saying nationally after Michigan beats Rutgers in triple OT
By the time Michigan safety Daxton Hill intercepted Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral in the end zone to seal a 48-42 victory, Saturday night had turned into Sunday morning. The Wolverines needed triple overtime to outlast the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, New Jersey and snap a three-game losing streak. The Scarlet Knights drove 75 yards for a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game at 35 with 27 seconds remaining. Here is what’s being said nationally about Michigan’s wild victory against a Rutgers team that has one Big Ten win since the 2017. (Sporting News)Greg Schiano overtime gaffe let Jim Harbaugh, Michigan off the hook (Asbury Park Press)What was Rutgers’ Greg Schiano thinking with his strategy to set up for a long field goal in OT loss to Michigan?mlive.com
One of the few bright spots for Michigan’s defense in 2020? Daxton Hill
Expectations were high for Michigan’s Daxton Hill heading into the 2020 season. But while opponents have picked apart the Wolverines’ secondary early on this season, Hill is quietly off to a strong start. “He’s a hell of a player,” Michigan’s secondary coach Mike Zordich told reporters Wednesday. RELATED: Michigan’s struggling secondary works to clean up the penaltiesZordich believes the secondary’s struggles stems from a lack of confidence. “The last few games doesn’t determine how we are going to be the rest of the season,” Hill said.mlive.com
Smallest Big House crowd ever watched Michigan-Michigan State game
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While activity outside was minimal, with tailgating in nearby parking lots prohibited and fans told to stay home, only a few hundred folks were allowed into Michigan Stadium for Saturday’s rivalry game between Michigan and Michigan State. The announced crowd of 615, made up primarily of immediate family members of players and coaches, was the smallest crowd ever to witness a football game at the massive 107,601-seat venue at the corner S. Main Street and W. Stadium Blvd. “It was different,” Michigan safety Daxton Hill told the media after the game, a 27-24 win for Michigan State. Around the country, football teams have been impacted by the novel coronavirus, postponing and canceling games, sidelining players. Back at Michigan Stadium, the game on Saturday was played without little issue.mlive.com
Daxton Hill, Nick Eubanks in uniform for Michigan vs. MSU
Safety Daxton Hill and tight end Nick Eubanks were both on the field for warmups at Michigan Stadium ahead of Saturday’s game against in-state rival Michigan State (noon, FOX). Hill did not play in the second half of the Wolverines' 49-24 win at Minnesota, and was being treated for an undisclosed injury. Head coach Jim Harbaugh thought Hill “would be fine” and expected him to practice earlier this week. Live updates: Follow along with today’s game on MLiveHaving Eubanks back bolsters an explosive Michigan offense that nearly racked up 500 yards against the Gophers. Also, kicker Quinn Nordin is in uniform for the second straight week, though it remains unclear whether he’ll be available.mlive.com
Michigan State upsets Michigan 27-24: Live updates recap
4:23 – Michigan drive starts on own 25Another costly penalty derailed a promising Wolverines drive. MSU 20, Michigan 178:00 – MSU drive starts on own 21Michigan standout defensive end Kwity Paye was injured on the drive. MSU 20, Michigan 1712:26 – Michigan drive starts on own 25The Wolverines' talented freshmen were heavily featured on the 11-play touchdown drive. MSU 17, Michigan 1015:00 – Michigan drive starts on own 29Rough drive for the Wolverines to open the second half. STORY: Daxton Hill, Nick Eubanks in uniform for Michigan vs. MSU- MSU WR Tre Mosley is in uniform.mlive.com
Third-string QB still a mystery, plus 4 more things we learned about Michigan football this week
Michigan’s football team will look to build off its impressive 49-24 victory over Minnesota last week when its hosts Michigan State on Saturday. Harbaugh anticipated Hill practicing this week, but we likely won’t get an update on his status until just before Saturday’s game. Michigan won’t name its third-string quarterbackThe Wolverines surprisingly dressed just two quarterbacks at Minnesota last week, begging the question, “Who is No. And returning, I think that was the right decision.”Get Wolverine Confidential texts straight to your phone from our Michigan football writers. Michigan vs. Michigan State score predictions from MLive’s beat writersmlive.com
6 positives, 3 concerns for Michigan football after dominant opening performance at Minnesota
Here are some of the most positive takeaways from the performance, as well as a few concerns. On Ben Mason’s touchdown, Milton tossed a little dump-down pass that looked simple enough but gave Mason the corner to get to the pylon. But he also returned a kickoff 66 yards to set up a Michigan touchdown. Michigan didn’t necessarily get better at wide receiver by losing Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones, but this year’s group has a different look, and it might end up being a net positive. Like Nordin, Hill is expected to return to practice this week after he was removed from the Minnesota game with an undisclosed injury.
Michigan safety Dax Hill ‘going to be fine,’ expected to practice this week
Michigan expects to have its best secondary player back in time for the rivalry game with Michigan State this weekend. Safety Daxton Hill could return to practice as soon as Tuesday after exiting the 13th-ranked Wolverines' 49-24 win over Minnesota over the weekend with an undisclosed injury. Hill started the game and notched three tackles before departing in the second quarter, never to return. Eubanks did not suit up for Michigan’s opener at Minnesota, and Harbaugh remained coy about the reason behind it. Here’s what went rightMilton film breakdown: Every pass and run for Michigan QBFirst NFL TD for WR Donovan Peoples-Jones gives Browns thrilling winmlive.com
Michigan football injury update: Jim Harbaugh expects Daxton Hill, Quinn Nordin back at practice
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jim Harbaugh provided an update on the injuries to Daxton Hill and Quinn Nordin after Michigan football’s impressive opening victory over Minnesota. Harbaugh was asked Monday about the status of Hill and Nordin ahead of the game against Michigan State. You can see Harbaugh’s full comments on Hill and Nordin in the video above. “Yeah, I anticipate he will be (available to practice this week),” Harbaugh said of Nordin. Michigan State is off to an 0-1 start after falling to Rutgers.
Daxton Hill’s injury status, plus 4 more Michigan football storylines we’re watching this week
Michigan heads into Michigan State week coming off an impressive 49-24 victory over No. Here are five key storylines we’re watching this week as the Wolverines prepare to host the Spartans at noon Saturday. Daxton Hill’s statusMichigan starting safety Daxton Hill left Saturday’s game early with an undisclosed injury and did not play in the second half. Harbaugh said after the game Hill was “being evaluated,” and that “we’ll see where that is.”We should get another update on Monday. Senior starting tight end Nick Eubanks did not make the trip to Minnesota last week, but Michigan didn’t disclose why.mlive.com
Michigan expected to be good, not great, again with Harbaugh
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan has been good, not great, under coach Jim Harbaugh. Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye said the team is under the radar and has taken a lot of punches from people. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has said more than once that he wants Harbaugh to lead the Wolverines until he chooses to retire from coaching. Heading into his sixth season, though, Harbaugh has just two years left on a deal that pays him about $7 million per season. The Wolverines host rival Michigan State and its new coach, Mel Tucker, in their second game.
Predicting all of Michigan football’s defensive starters, with confidence levels
Michigan has often been ranked among the top five or 10 teams in the country, and that’s thanks to strong defensive performances. Kwity Paye #19 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to sack Peyton Ramsey #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to Harbaugh, they’ve only gotten better this offseason, and if Michigan can get some help from the defensive tackles, it’ll make their jobs even easier. READ: Defensive line is X-factor for Michigan against quarterback-loaded scheduleWith a less experienced secondary -- particularly at cornerback -- Hutchinson and Paye will be more important than ever. Defensive tacklesStarters: Carlo Kemp and Chris HintonConfidence: 100% and 95%Kemp will be one of the starters at defensive tackle -- that’s a slam dunk.
Top 10 candidates for Michigan football’s 2020 team MVP
As a potential first-round draft pick, Mayfield certainly belongs in Michigan’s MVP conversation, even though he won’t stuff any stat sheets as an O-lineman. Even if he doesn’t ultimately win team MVP, Mayfield could end up being the most important player. LB Cam McGroneCameron McGrone #44 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a fourth quarter sack against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. DE Kwity PayeKwity Paye #19 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to sack Peyton Ramsey #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then they would both be candidates for team MVP.
Could Michigan’s Daxton Hill be in line for a position change?
The departure of Ambry Thomas leaves Michigan’s cornerback position less experienced and thin. Could that open the door for Daxton Hill? “But again, we really don’t want to shut anybody out because we still have three solid weeks of work prior to the game week,” Brown said, referring to Michigan’s season opener Oct. 24 at Minnesota. Crazy things happen in that period of time.”It’s also enough time for Hill, who appeared in 13 games last season, to make the transition. More: Jim Harbaugh updates U-M’s QB battle, praises deep RB room“He’s way more accomplished in terms of understanding concept and knowing what to do as an every-down safety,” Brown said.mlive.com
7 reasons for optimism after Michigan football's top-15 win over Iowa
Cameron McGrone #44 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a fourth quarter sack against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Nate Stanley #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is sacked by Jordan Glasgow #29 of the Michigan Wolverines in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Speed at defensive weak pointsComing into the season, Michigan had major questions at linebacker and safety. Nico Collins #4 of the Michigan Wolverines makes a first quarter catch against D.J. Shea Patterson #2 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a second quarter pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Michigan football: It's time to start Daxton Hill, Cam McGrone on defense
Daxton Hill #30 of the Michigan Wolverines carries the ball after making a catch against the Army Black Knights on a fake punt during the first half at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were some obvious changes when Rutgers came to town, namely the presence of Cam McGrone at the middle linebacker position. Defensive coordinator Don Brown of the Michigan Wolverines look on during the second half while playing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Safety Daxton Hill was on the field much more than usual, making four tackles and getting in on a sack. Defensive coordinator Don Brown of the Michigan Wolverines leaves the field after a 52-0 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Michigan football: 5 position battles that will most impact this season
(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michigan football season will kick off six weeks from Saturday, but the Wolverines still have plenty to figure out before that point. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Cam McGrone redshirted last season but was one of the top linebackers in the 2018 recruiting class. Michigan has two good options at right tackle with redshirt sophomore Andrew Stueber battling redshirt freshman Jalen Mayfield. Nordin has a huge leg and converted 19 of 24 field goals as a redshirt freshman, so he has shown he can be a successful college kicker. Michigan Wolverines place kicker Jake Moody (2) kicks an extra point during a game between the Indiana Hoosiers and the Michigan Wolverines (4) on November 17, 2018 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.