Michigan plays an important trap game on the road against Maryland this upcoming Saturday. Maryland is sandwiched right between Michigan’s toughest tests of the year in Penn State and Ohio State and gets the luxury of playing the Wolverines with Harbaugh sidelined once again.
Of course, Michigan will need to block out the noise and lock in for what should be another routine clock cleaning.
The goal, of course, is primarily to win, but preserving the health of key players will also factor into the gameplan. Expect to see a lot of rotation from the two-deep in order to keep the stars fresh.
What Michigan players can we expect to see step up this week?
Kalel Mullings, RB
Michigan needs Corum and Edwards fresh for Ohio State. That is simply a fact.
Mullings has stepped up big time the last few season as the teams third running back, and could be slated to lead the team in attempts against Maryland.
I expect another heavy dose of the run game. I would guess 15 touches for Mullings, 10 for Corum, and five to seven for Edwards. Maybe if the score gets out of hand we see more from true freshman Benjamin Hall, but that’s speculation.
Ja'Den McBurrows, CB
McBurrows has carved out a nice role behind Mike Sainristil as the backup nickel. Much like Corum, Mikey might be on a pitch count leading to more playing time for McBurrows.
Don’t be shocked to see freshman D.J. Waller or sophomore Amorion Walker in the game, either. This staff loves to rotate the secondary and those two players have earned their snaps on the boundary.
Derrick Moore, EDGE
This spot could really go to any Michigan pass rusher, but it feels like Moore is on the verge of a breakout.
He’s got three sacks on the year so far, but constantly applies pressure and is a force against the run. Maryland is a pass happy team, and there should be ample opportunity for sacks.
Due to the heavy defensive line rotation, the Wolverines do not have anybody on the team over five sacks. In fact, the squad has a total of just 23 sacks on the season. This is mostly due to short drives from opponents, but still, it would be nice to see the pass rush come alive right before Ohio State.
Ernest Hausmann, LB
Hausmann trails only Michael Barrett and Junior Colson in total tackles this season. The true Sophomore transfer has been as good as advertised, and should be due for a larger role next season.
But, much like Mullings, Hausmann could find himself leading the position room in snaps in an attempt to rotate the stars. Maryland is a light run team, but they often run against light boxes due to their offensive formations, so athletic linebackers are key to stopping their rushing attack.
This could also be the week Hausmann registers his first impact play for the Wolverines. Once again, he’s been very good, but picking up his first sack or interception would be great for his confidence.
Darrius Clemons, WR
Clemons burst on the scene with a highlight touchdown grab and flashy celebration in the spring game of 2022, but has been quiet since.
The second year receiver has freakish athleticism and a scary skillset, but must be more consistent if he wants to be a consistent receiver in the future.
Saturday’s game marks the last opportunity for depth players to get serious snaps as Michigan faces Ohio State, then the postseason. It would be great to see Clemons get some more run to replace Cornelius Johnson next season, but the score will dictate a lot of his snap count on Saturday.