Following Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s home opener, fans were reassured to learn that the Wolverines’ running game is much stronger than it appeared against Utah. De’Veon Smith set career highs against Oregon State, finishing with 126 rushing yards and rushing for three touchdowns.
Fortunately for Michigan, it appears that the running game will only get stronger with more playing time from Drake Johnson, who ended the 2014 season with a torn ACL.
"To be able to get acclimated to feelings and emotions of playing in a game is what we were striving for (on Saturday)," Harbaugh said on Monday. "I was putting him in a position where his nervous system will let him recover. I think we’ll be better for that this week and next. "
"I would anticipate (a bigger role for Johnson)."
In 2014, Johnson rushed for four touchdowns and carried the ball 60 times for 361 yards.
As Johnson’s status improves, cornerback Jourdan Lewis’ is still unknown. Lewis left Saturday’s game against Oregon State in the second quarter with a concussion. Harbaugh was tight-lipped when asked if Lewis would see game time against UNLV this Saturday.
"I don’t know," Harbaugh said regarding Lewis’ status. "I haven’t really got in the business of predicting when it comes to concussions. That will be evaluated by the doctors."
Harbaugh did have high praise for defensive tackle Chris Wormley, who ranks second nationally and leads the Big Ten with six tackles for loss.
"(Wormley) is a very talented player that’s improving and getting better every day," Harbaugh said on Monday. "That was very graphic on Saturday. He played a tremendous game. That was probably our best defensive performance, Chris Wormley."
Moving forward for Saturday’s matchup with UNLV, Harbaugh plans on scouting Tony Sanchez’s assistant coaches. This is Sanchez’s first year coaching college football, previously coaching at high school football powerhouse Bishop Gorman.