Nick Eubanks felt chills when he heard the play-call. He knew it was one designed to free him over the middle, a play Michigan had practiced repeatedly in the lead-up to its Nov. 17, 2018 bout with Indiana.
As Cesar Ruiz assessed the state of Michigan’s offensive line earlier this week, he was careful not to label any struggles as “growing pains.” The implication accompanying that term is that the Wolverines’ inconsistency on the offensive line is a result of Josh Gattis’ new offense. The junior center knows that isn’t the case.
That gives him the license to make a determination that strays from conventional wisdom a time or two. On Monday, that particular claim came in regard to senior VIPER Jordan Glasgow. “I’ll say this, and I might be criticized: This guy might be one of the best players in the Big Ten,” Brown said. “Watch him run and hit people. Just watch him play.”
The example was small and understandable enough that Brown could explain it to a group of reporters — most of whom aren’t qualified to step onto a football field — in minutes. So imagine a whole book of them, then imagine a player getting that responsibility thrust on him midgame, and then you might understand Jordan Anthony’s predicament.
The Monday after the Middle Tennessee game, Harbaugh gathered the team together and announced that Speight and junior offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis would receive scholarships. Speight had gotten into the game on special teams, making the moment even more special.
The Black Knights completed a 29-yard pass to vault into the Wolverines’ territory, then slowly marched inside the 10 with under nine minutes to play in the third quarter. That’s when Don Brown’s defense toughened up and made its game-changing sequence happen.
Black stands at the center of the Wolverines’ offensive dichotomy. When Michigan’s offense was at its best in its 27-point first half against MTSU, he was its standout performer, notching 80 yards before halftime. Late in the second quarter, he missed a drive with cramps — a product of not having a full workload in two year. Since then, he has just 24 yards on three catches.
It’s unlikely Josh Gattis ever tried to envision what his first in-season press conference as Michigan’s offensive coordinator would look like because, frankly, he has better things to do. But if he did, he probably didn’t picture reporters trying their best to play Operation, guessing at potential issues to try and find an answer for why his offense hasn’t worked.