Observations from Michigan’s Peach Bowl practice

Football

All right, allow me to start with this: media got to hang around Michigan’s Wednesday practice for 15 minutes. We didn’t see much beyond stretching and routine drills during the session.

However, there was plenty going on — more than I presumed would. Here are a few observations from the quick session.

Christian Turner and Hassan Haskins

Michigan senior running back Karan Higdon is sitting out the Peach Bowl to concentrate on the NFL. That decision leaves a door open for another back to impress during bowl practice and the game itself. 

While juniors Chris Evans and Tru Wilson have complemented Higdon all season, neither have the same 3-down-back skill-set U-M needs in 2018. That very well may change during both bowl week and the offseason but at this juncture, the starting spot is wide open.

The widely talked about younger backs have been true freshmen, Christian Turner and Hassan Haskins.

At practice Wednesday, I got a pretty good look at a running back drill that forced each back to pick a hole and make a move or two.

Here’s what I saw from the duo.

Turner: Quick movements and terrific footwork. Going to make a lot of guys miss. Great burst, too. Hard to tell how good or bad of a blocker he’ll be, based on the drills we watched. Nonetheless, his skill-set is obviously special. Is he going to be the stud we expect him to be right off the bat? Hard to tell. The video above is a run of his from today.

Haskins: Slower than Turner, but a far bigger frame at 6-foot-1 compared to Turner’s 5-foot-11 frame. Made a nice move in the video above, showed he has nice footwork. The video shows just how big Haskins is. Again, hard to take much away from these two with such a small sample size.

Dylan McCaffrey is healthy enough to participate in drills

After suffering a broken collarbone against Penn State Nov. 3, redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan McCaffery is back practicing.

As showcased in the video above, he’s healthy enough to be full go in certain drills, all of them non-contact. Hence why he’s the only one wearing a red practice jersey.

Bonus: Joe Milton, seen at the beginning of the clip, has a cannon.

Andrew Stueber, Jalen Mayfield and the battle for right tackle

Following the news that senior right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty will not play in the Peach Bowl, another opportunity opened up for a young player on the roster.

Bushell-Beatty didn’t play against Ohio State, redshirt freshman Andrew Stueber replaced him. However, he was nothing more than just okay in the contest. That means the preseason hype surrounding true freshman Jalen Mayfield could be tested against Florida. 

Both participated in drills, being worked out by Offensive Line Coach Ed Warinner during Wednesday’s practice.

Stueber is the most likely candidate, simply because he played in Bushell-Beatty’s place in U-M’s final game. Mayfield has the higher ceiling, but Stueber is both stronger and more ready now to face Florida’s first-round defensive end, Jachai Polite.

Donovan Jeter stepping up

After losing sophomore defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon — who transferred to Tennessee — Michigan needs another rotational interior tackle.

Hello, Donovan Jeter.

The redshirt freshman has battled injuries in his short career at U-M. Now fully healthy with Solomon no longer in the room, Jeter has taken advantage of the opportunity. 

Junior guard and offensive captain, Ben Bredeson, complimented Jeter’s abilities, saying he continues to impress him in practice.

Fellow junior Carlo Kemp, a defensive tackle, said all of U-M’s young defensive players are “violent,” and “crave contact.”

This bodes well for a unit that’s losing Lawrence Marshall, Bryan Mone and Solomon.


The Wolverine Lounge is live from Atlanta, Ga. all week as the No. 7 Wolverines face off with No. 10 Florida inside Mercedez-Benz Stadium on Saturday at noon. Any tips? Questions? Food recommendations? Email brandon@thewolverinelounge.com

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