Michigan Football Podcast: Marcus Ray With John Borton

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Graphic by Brandon Brown

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Big Ten Network college football analyst Marcus Ray talks Michigan with senior editor John Borton.

That duo delves into the ups and downs the Wolverines experienced in their win over Cincinnati on Saturday. Ray breaks it down on both sides of the ball.

Here's the podcast…


Here are some highlight from the podcast, including Ray on…

• Michigan's too-close contest with Cincinnati: "The game was never out of hand until the very end. A game like this is good. It's a dose of humble pie, without losing. You've got to understand that this young team, when you celebrate them too much, they might believe they're as good as you say they are, and they'll come out and play like they did midway through the first quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter.

"That game could have gone either way. Cincinnati dropped the ball right before the half. That's when they missed an opportunity to get the type of momentum they needed.

"If they would have tied it up, instead of being down by three in that third quarter, I think it would have been a different ball game."

• Michigan's switch at punter returner from freshman wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones to junior wideout Grant Perry: "I've been on younger teams before, and I've been on veteran teams. You just see different kinds of mistakes the things that happen — turnovers, penalties, missed assignments, especially on the offensive side.

"Jim [Harbaugh] knows. He knows what he has. The most important thing is that they got the win. But you've got to be careful, too, because young guys can tank it, if they get switched out of there.

"The reason I say Grant Perry is the most important receiver on that team is because he's a veteran. He's been through adversity. He's overcome that. He's got a chip on his shoulder, and he's a good football player."

• Redshirt freshman quarterback Wilton Speight surrounded by a younger cast: "It starts with Speight, but he's not the only issue or breakdown they're having offensively. It's a timing thing. He has to play with a deck that's young, that's raw, that's green.

"There are going to be some things that are going to happen … I think Wilton Speight has shown what he can do when he has the right guys in there, polished, NFL [talent], seasoned veterans around him. That almost goes for any team and any quarterback.

"People are expecting too much. They're expecting him to play a flawless football game. Okay, he fumbled a snap. I get that. As long as you don't do it against a team that is better than you, or will make you pay for that kind of stuff, like what happened in Columbus.

"If it happens in a game like this, celebrate the win, correct the mistakes. You can't do it in Happy Valley, I'll promise you.

• Fifth-year senior tailback Ty Isaac: "He's running with more vision, using his eyes and allowing his God-given talent to get him through the line of scrimmage and up the field. That's number one. Number two, he's playing with more confidence, and three, he's getting the ball more.

"He's not behind anybody. He's not behind De'Veon Smith. His attitude is better. Maybe he has a better relationship with Jay Harbaugh than he did with Tyrone Wheatley. There's a lot of stuff like that that goes into it, too.

"We didn't see much of Ty Isaac in the last quarter of the season in 2016. He's playing like a man possessed, and a guy who is trying to play on Sundays."

• Strides made by the defense: "Any time the defense is scoring points, that's an improvement. I stated in the pregame, I'd like to see them get their hands on some balls and do something with it. I think the defense saved Michigan.

"Cincinnati was a little mentally overwhelmed, with some of their penalties and turnovers. Playing against a defense people say is great, on paper, kind of gets into your head.

"Once Cincinnati said, 'Hey, wait a minute. This defense isn't so big and bad, just calm down and execute, let's work something,' the defense showed signs of being good, but signs of being vulnerable to some of the same stuff. The quarterback run … the defense started getting a little too greedy. They started to get up the field, and those tunnel screens were hurting them, with the quarterback runs.

"I thought the defense showed some progress with turnovers and scoring, but they've also got some things to work on. That man-to-man coverage is hard to do for four quarters. They'll figure you out, eventually."


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