Although Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh did not provide an update on the status of injured running back Blake Corum, fifth-year senior offensive tackle Ryan Hayes suggested the Wolverines might be without their star player when they travel to Ohio State on Saturday.
“I think we’ve planed on this,” Hayes said during his media availability on Monday afternoon. “He’s a great player, but I think everybody else is just going to step up with him out and we’re up to the challenge, and I think that we’re up to the challenge.”
Corum, who has rushed 1,457 yards and 18 touchdowns during this fall, suffered an apparent knee injury in the second quarter of Michigan’s 19-17 win over Illinois last weekend. The junior saw two snaps on the opening drive of the third quarter, then watched the remainder of the game from the sideline.
“Obviously, it has an impact,” Hayes said. “He’s probably one of the best – if not the best – players in the the country. Losing Blake is huge for us, but I think we had a lot of guys step up and we ended up finding a way to win, which was great for us.”
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Sophomore Donovan Edwards also missed the win over the Fighting Illini with an undisclosed injury, and the Wolverines averaged just 2.4 yards per carry in the second half with freshman C.J. Stokes, sophomore Tavierre Dunlap and walk-on Isaiah Gash splitting carries.
“I don’t think we’re going to change our identity this game just because (of Corum’s injury),” Hayes said. “Obviously, Blake’s a huge part of our offense, huge part of our team, but I think our identity stays the same.”
That said, Corum’s availability on Saturday ultimately depends on if he practices this week, as Harbaugh said he, Edwards and edge rusher Mike Morris – who has 7.5 sacks this season but also missed the Illinois game with an undisclosed injury – won’t play if they can’t practice.
“We have complete confidence in the quarterback room and wide receivers room,” Hayes said when asked if Michigan has to throw the ball more than expected due to Corum’s injury. “I know if we need to, we’re going to be able to protect and (quarterback J.J. McCarthy) is going to be able to throw it around.”
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