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Michigan is ‘loaded’ at running back

Jim Harbaugh and Josh Gattis like what the RB room has to offer.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan’s running back depth may be about as deep as it has been in years. Zach Charbonnet. Chris Evans. Hassan Haskins. Christian Turner. Blake Corum. Lucas Andrighetto.

The group of RB’s have a diverse skill-set that can do damage to a defense in a variety of ways. “It’s a loaded room, it’s really doing well and I think it’s going to be a real strength for us this year,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said recently.

It was reported on Saturday that Christian Turner opted back into the fall season, which is certainly good news as Turner was a solid special teams contributor in 2019 and rushed for 171 yards and a TD on just 44 carries.

Michigan now has a group of backs that can contribute in the passing game, in pass protection, and on special teams.

The top three backs would appear to be Charbonnet, Evans, and Haskins, but each and every back could be called upon in key moments this season.

Jim Harbaugh’s comments on RB room:

  • “Zach Charbonnet is really playing well. He is 100 percent. He was working through something last year, but now he’s really shining.”
  • Chris Evans is back on the team providing a lot of great leadership and a tremendous skillset.”
  • Hassan Haskins is another player who’s got some experience, is really talented. He does so many things really well. He’s a power back, but also an elusive back and catches the ball out of the backfield extremely well.”
  • “Blake Corum is just a freshman but he looks extremely good as well.”
  • Lucas Andrighetto is another really talented back. He’s playing extremely well.”

Michigan may run a pro-spread scheme now, but their penchant for running the football is unchanged. They still want to bully people on the ground. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has made it known the offense wants to be able to dictate how they attack an opposing defense, and the only way to do so is to be able to run and pass the ball with the same high clip of success.

With a new look offensive line for Michigan that could be stronger and faster than previous seasons, we could see a steady dose of power football throughout 2020. Each player will be asked to do a lot of the same things, but there’s no doubt players like Chris Evans will be used in a way that accentuates his skill-set. Some of Michigan’s RB’s are geared more to run downhill between the tackles, other backs are best suited to bounce runs to the outside as speed and elusiveness are their greatest weapons. Michigan appears to be in a good place at the running back position, even if there is an unfortunate injury or two throughout the course of the season.

“(RB’s) Coach Jay (Harbaugh) did a tremendous job bringing those guys along,” Gattis said. “We weren’t quite pleased where they were to start the season, but when you look at that room from where we finished the season, I felt great about our running back room and they’ve been able to pick up from where they left off and really take care of their bodies individually. We’re very, very pleased with having the room that we have with that running back position.”