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MnB Mailbag: What’s ahead for Michigan

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You sent in questions, we answered ‘em

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With a Michigan bye week, a lot of you were yearning for answers to your Wolverines related questions, and we have your back!

We want to thank you for sending in questions for this mailbag and we’ll be sure to do one again in the near future. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook if you want to send in a question next time.

Mailbag Q&A

Q: How does Michigan State’s win over Purdue and Wisconsin losing make Michigan look? - Sean Gale

A: It’s confusing. Purdue throttled Ohio State last week while Michigan dominated Michigan State, while Michigan squeaked out a win in September vs Northwestern who took it to Wisconsin on Saturday. The case could be made MSU’s win over Purdue makes Michigan look like a better team than the Buckeyes at the moment, as the only team who Michigan has lost to is undefeated Notre Dame. The OSU loss could have just been a fluke loss and they win the rest of their games leading up to the tilt vs U-M. To answer the question, MSU winning and Wisconsin losing doesn’t really make Michigan look good or bad, the outcomes were what they were.

Q: Is Warinner most significant hire of Harbaugh era? - Bryant Schoenle

A: Ed Warinner has turned Michigan’s offensive line around. Running back Karan Higdon called the unit the best in the country a few weeks ago, and now that statement isn’t sounding far-fetched. Warinner has been able to coach his guys up and make them play cohesively and with toughness. As far as him being the most significant hire? I’m not going to go there. It takes a village, and he’s part of it. Defensive coordinator Don Brown, strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert, receivers coach Jim McElwain, safeties coach Chris Partridge, and other hires have all been slam dunks.

Q: As excited as I am with the way this season is going and all the respect Michigan is getting are they going to be able to live up to the hype or are they going to get over confident and cocky and blow it? - Matt Wishon

A: If Michigan does lose again this season, it won’t be because they’re a cocky bunch. Jim Harbaugh and the staff have instilled a one week at a time approach to things, and it’s resonated with the 2018 Wolverines. When interviewing Shea Patterson, Chase Winovich, Karan Higdon, and virtually any Michigan player, they don’t pat themselves on the back too much, they acknowledge they have a long way to go and many more tests to pass. The team realizes they have to keep improving, keep preparing the way they have all season. I wouldn’t worry about the hype getting to Michigan’s head, they remember what everybody was saying about them after the Notre Dame loss, they’ll continue to have a chip on their shoulder.

Q: With a rushing defense that is average at best in Penn State, does Higdon get 169+ and hit the 1,000 mark in this game? - Steve Wright

A: It’d be bold to predict any running back getting 169+ yard vs any opponent, but Higdon has a good shot at getting there. I’m sure that’s been talked about throughout the week, and the o-line would take great pride in helping Higdon eclipse 1,000 yards against the Nittany Lions. I’ll say Higdon has more than a 50/50 shot of getting over 169 in this game.

Q: What is the future for Rashan (Gary)? Is he pulling a Bosa? - Kenneth Cutter

A: No, Rashan is not going to sit the rest of the season out and head to the NFL like Nick Bosa chose to do at OSU. Gary’s mother indicated he could be ready for Penn State, but if he doesn’t suit up for that game, he should play by the end of the year. It would make sense to sit him out until the Indiana game, as Michigan plays Rutgers after PSU. “My son is a Wolverine! He has pride in himself, his team and his academics, and until Michigan plays their last game he will be a part of the team,” she said.

Q: If this Michigan team makes it to the playoffs do you think they could play as good as they have been against a Alabama and win? - Seth Scott

A: Maybe. Alabama is the best, they were last year, they have been for a decade, and they continue to be the best this season. However, they’ve had an easy schedule thus far in 2018 filled with cupcakes. FS1’s Skip Bayless thinks Michigan has the best chance of beating ‘Bama. In my opinion, the fact Michigan has the best defense in the country, along with a steady run game, good o-line, and consistent play at QB could make for Michigan giving the Crimson Tide a tough challenge. They have to get to the CFP for us to find out, though.

Q: What’s the likelihood of Tarik Black playing a full game against Penn St? - Troy Konopka

A: Black suited up last week, and with a bye week to heal even further, there’s a good shot he plays significant snaps against PSU. I’d still expect some sort of snap count no matter what. Black will have to knock some rust off.

Q: When will Ambry Thomas be used on offense bad what position. - Tony Staples

A: He already has been used on offense, he just hasn’t been used much. He has 2 receptions for 5 yards and 1 rush for 11 yards. Thomas can be used as a wideout in the slot, used on jet sweeps, and they could even throw him in the pistol formation for a read-option. It really remains to be seen if they’ll use him more on offense, but I could see them waiting for a big moment against PSU, OSU, or in a bowl to unleash him.

Q: How can the B1G get rid of Rutgers? - John Leonberg

A: My advice would be to block their number. Maybe they’ll get the hint.

Q: Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown need a wager. If Michigan loses any game, then Don shaves, and Jim grows mustache. - Derek Carr

A: For the love of God, no.