In a Maize vs. Blue showdown for Michigan's spring game, the Cade McNamara-led Blue team came away with a victory over the JJ McCarthy-led Maize squad.
On this day, with hodge-podge rosters and no true starting lineups to speak of, the quarterbacks were actually pretty close. McCarthy is definitely talented, but McNamara has a better grasp on the offense and seems more ready to lead this team. McNamara connected on two deep bombs and just seemed much more poised, which is to be expected as a third-year guy vs. a glorified high schooler. McCarthy has an extremely live arm but he still throws the fastball too often. Once he learns that not every throw needs to be a dart, he should start to settle into a better rhythm. Obviously a lot can happen between now and Sept. 4, including the arrival of Texas Tech transfer Alan Bowman, but McNamara is the guy as spring ball concludes.
Running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum were both very solid and look ready to be lead backs. Haskins did his usual thing — he found yards, fell forward and rarely made mistakes. Corum just has juice. He's noticeably more explosive than ever other ball carrier, freshman phenom Donovan Edwards included.
Overall it was a pretty lackluster day for the wide receivers. McNamara did connect on a couple of long throws, but the pass catchers as a whole just didn't do much to impress. Early enrolled freshman Andrel Anthony did a couple of nice things in the No. 1 jersey but all in all, the group underperformed for being one of the more "loaded" position groups on the team.
With Aidan Hutchinson still getting healthy, it's the Daxton Hill show on defense right now. Before the spring game started, a source told us that, "Dax is on some other s**t right now. He looks amazing." He's excelling in the nickel role and redshirt freshman Andre Seldon has done a nice job backing him up there. The rest of the secondary looks about the same as the latter part of last year, which wasn't nearly as bad as it looked at the beginning of the season.
The linebackers, led by Josh Ross and Michael Barrett, are going to be solid but they're also going to be pushed. Our source noted that every linebacker not slated to start looks faster and quicker than the guy in front of him. Freshman Junior Colson, sophomore Kalel Mullings and junior Anthony Solomon all flew around the field and made the presumed starting linebackers look slow. Of course, once real games start, you have to have more in your bag than speed. It'll be interesting to see how the rotations shake out because the younger guys have a lot of ability.
Redshirt freshman Nikhai Hill-Green, who received a lot of praise last year as a true freshman, was describe as a beast. He's not as speedy as the other three, but he looks game ready in year two.
With Hutchinson sidelined and the offensive lines being so mixed up, there weren't too many definitely takeaways from the trenches. There's some talent there, but a lot of guys need to take a big step before the season starts. Meshing with one another as the starting lines and rotations take shape will be big for both units as well.
We'll have more on the game, the standouts and the shortcomings as we receive them...