Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Jeremy Jackson. In the past two seasons, I have seen a couple interceptions thrown at least partly because Jackson is so slow and defensive backs can bait quarterbacks into thinking he's open. On Saturday, Jackson was crossing toward the right sideline in the endzone, and Gardner tried to hit him on the run; Jackson was easily undercut by an Akron defensive back. I don't mind seeing Jackson on running downs, but Michigan has numerous more athletic players for the passing game. Even if Michigan has to burn the redshirt of someone like Da'Mario Jones, I think Jackson's playing time should diminish.
Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Willie Henry. Henry played more against Akron than any other team this year, and he acquitted himself pretty well. He's built low to the ground and very stout, and he's capable of creating penetration on running downs that I just don't see from the other 3-tech rotation players. From what I saw on Saturday, I might even suggest Henry as the starter over Jibreel Black. Black is a better pass rusher but often a liability against the run because he's so undersized.
Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Chris Wormley. Maybe it's the ACL or his age or lack of experience or whatever, but every time I see Wormley on the field, he's just not doing anything productive. He's not powerful enough to bull rush guys, and he's not quick enough to run around them. The 3-tech/5-tech rotation should consist of some combination of Keith Heitzmann, Black, Henry, and Matt Godin, with guys like Wormley and Ryan Glasgow playing only when absolutely necessary.
Play of the game . . . Devin Gardner to Jehu Chesson for a 33-yard touchdown. There weren't many plays that stood out a great deal - no sacks, the interceptions weren't spectacular, Jeremy Gallon didn't make a highlight-reel grab for once, etc. I strongly considered Gardner's 48-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess, which was perhaps more impressive but not quite as clutch. Michigan was scuffling throughout the game, and it showed no signs of going away. Chesson grabbed a short pass over the middle, shucked a guy, sprinted toward the sideline, and ran through a [piss poor] tackle attempt by an Akron defensive end before zipping into the endzone. That put Michigan up 21-10 in the third quarter. Obviously, the Wolverines continued to struggle, but the speed of Chesson showed me that he could do some big things before he leaves Ann Arbor.
MVP of the game . . . Fitzgerald Toussaint. Gardner put up 248 passing yards and 103 rushing yards, but he also turned over the ball four times. Toussaint looked like the running back of old on his way to 19 carries for 71 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 1 reception for 27 yards. His numbers would have been better if a couple runs wouldn't have been called back for holding (probably closer to 21 carries for 120 yards). One thing I have also noticed with Toussaint is an improvement in pass protection. He did noticeably whiff on a blitzing linebacker, but he's much more physical than he used to be.