Michigan Football Notebook: Quarterbacks, RBs Shining

Chris Balas, Senior Editor

Lon Horwedel

We’ve heard good things about many of Michigan’s young players and veterans during fall camp. Fifth-year senior quarterback John O’Korn bolstered what we’ve picked up with some interesting insights Wednesday.

It’s been a great camp for the offense, he said, with everyone on the same page. They haven’t even started to look at opponent film.

“We’re going to be ready to roll,” he said. “Right now we’re focusing on just on us. We haven’t even looked at a single play of Florida yet. There have been a lot of rumblings outside of our building about them, but we’ve been focused on ourselves. That’s what it’s going to take to win the three more games we couldn’t win last year.”

Turnovers were culprits in the Big Ten losses, but they haven’t been an issue so far in camp.

“Eliminating the big mistake for all the quarterbacks [has been key]. Right now, it’s almost as if it’s who is going to make a mistake,” O’Korn continued. “We’re all playing so well, have really benefited so much from [passing game coordinator] Pep [Hamilton] being here. He’s really taken all our games to the next level.

“They say a rising tide raises all ships. Pep has been that rising tide.”

The running backs have all looked good too, he added.

“[Fifth-year senior] Ty Isaac is in the best shape I’ve seen him since he’s been here,” O’Korn said. “Chris Evans is 100 percent himself. He’s a playmaker. Young guys like O’maury [Samuels] and Kurt [Taylor] who are great athletes. They’re coming along with the playbook. That’s going to take some time.

“Then you have a guy like Karan Higdon who has a burst like nobody’s ever seen. “I’m really confident whether we have a workhorse like De’Veon [Smith] last year or by committee. I’m happy with them.”


• O’Korn admitted it took time for him to bond with redshirt junior Wilton Speight.

“Last year was the first time for both of us together. Honestly, there were times we weren’t completely honest with each other,” he said. We say we’re the best of friends, but there may have been times last year that wasn’t the case.

“This year I can honestly say going through that last year for me personally — I can’t speak for Wilton — having to swallow my pride, really support him and get behind him throughout the year brought us a lot closer.”

• The young receivers have been incredible in the early going, O’Korn said.

“They act the way you want freshman receivers to,” he said. “Donovan –Peoples-Jones] and Tarik [Black] were here first, in January. They came in and they were roommates, inseparable, always here at the facility, working, always quiet. We had to beg them to talk. That’s what you want from a freshman … to be seen, not heard.

“Oliver Martin, Nico Collins are guys that have come in and are really working their butts off and working hard to learn the playbook. They all can play. It’s a matter of who gets the playbook.”

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