Maryland Terrapins Football: Q&A with GBMWolverine


With Maryland set to host Michigan on Saturday, we decided to check in with Editor Tyler Fenwick of GBMWolverine to find out more about the Wolverines.

Tyler will be answering five questions about Michigan, and I will be returning the favor over on their site from the Maryland perspective. Check out Tyler’s responses below!

1. Jake Rudock had a rocky season opener for the Wolverines. Has he shown improvement during the last three games?

TF: I was pretty disappointed with Jake Rudock through the first three games of the season. He wasn’t making very good decisions; he didn’t demonstrate being able to throw an accurate long ball; and turnovers were a big problem.

I’m not willing to say he completely turned the corner against BYU, but he did look much better. That’s in large part due to an offensive line that’s starting to create holes for the running game, but Rudock is beginning to look more comfortable. I will say, though, that I hope he doesn’t make a habit of rolling out every other play and trying to tuck it and run.

2. What is Michigan’s biggest strength on offense?

TF: This is easy. It’s the run game. More specifically, it’s De’Veon Smith. When Michigan is able to run the ball successfully, two things happen. 1) The offense gets to eat up clock and impose its will with a physical brand of football, and 2) It takes a whole heck of a lot of pressure off Rudock to be Superman at quarterback.

A lot of credit has to go to the offensive line for its improvement. The first two games against Utah and UNLV weren’t terribly encouraging, but it’s looked a lot better the last two weeks. Michigan has a true identity on offense for the first time in years.

3. What are your thoughts on the transition from Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh?

TF: Well I won’t talk about how this was a great hire and all that because duh. What I will say though is that this transition has been smoother than I anticipated. I was not a believer in Michigan before the season—or really even after those first few games, to be honest. But what we saw against BYU was enough to tell this team is at least improving.

What Michigan did to the Cougars wasn’t a strike of luck; it was just simple progression of what we had already seen. I love that.

And I of course can’t talk about the coaching transition without mentioning how great of a job interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett has done. I would argue that the AD transition was more important and meaningful than the coaching transition.

4. How good is the Michigan defense?

TF: Michigan’s defense has been astoundingly good in the first part of the season. There’s a large list of key contributors, but I’ll narrow it down to three guys who really elevated the play of the entire unit.

End Chris Wormley (whose listed as a tackle) has been a monster on Michigan’s defensive line. He’s recorded 7.0 tackles for loss and has only started twice this season. Linebacker Joe Bolden is Michigan’s leading tackler from the inside spot. He’s got a high motor and plays very soundly. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis might be the best player on Michigan’s defense. He has really elevated his game as a cover corner and has proven he can hang with the No. 1 target by himself. Lewis leads the team easily with six pass break-ups, including four that came against UNLV.

5. Give us one key to victory for Michigan on Saturday.

TF: It’s nothing too special. The Wolverines just need to keep it simple like they’ve been doing up to this point. The weather may force Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno to get even more conservative and stick to the ground for the most part, but that’s just fine.

Maryland’s run defense ranks 100th in the country, and Michigan is finding its stride on the ground.

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