Good morning folks and welcome to Tuesday Morning Brews. We are now four short days away from the season opener in South Bend and nothing else matters.
While we must restrain ourselves until Saturday, there is plenty of news to keep us occupied until then.
And we’re off:
Sunday’s open practice raised more questions than answers. Bad news: Tarik Black is out for a “few weeks” with a foot fracture (announced Monday) and Rashan Gary, Brad Robbins, and a few reserve players appeared a little banged up. Good news: this team is JACKED. Thanks to new strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert, the entire linebacking core looks enormous. Devin Bush, Khaleke Hudson, Josh Uche, Devin Gil, Josh Ross, Drew Singleton, Cameron McGrone, and Jordan Anthony all have added significant size. Not to mention freshman Aidan Hutchinson looks like the Colossus of freakin’ Rhodes.
Aidan Hutchinson is a behemoth. pic.twitter.com/Az4jtooVB9— Isaiah Hole (@isaiahhole) August 26, 2018
Not bad for a kid that turned 18 less than three weeks ago. Happy belated, Aidan!
The biggest news, however, has to be the presumed first string of offensive linemen.
First OL: LT Runyan, LG Bredeson, C Ruiz, RG Onwenu, RT Bushell-Beatty— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) August 26, 2018
Newly announced team captain Ben Bredeson and sophomore Cesar Ruiz were locks at left guard and center, respectively and Michael Onwenu has appeared to win the battle for the right guard position over Stephen Spanellis. More importantly to note, Jon Runyan Jr. and Juwann Bushell-Beatty were working as the first string tackles over James Hudson and freshman standout Jalen Mayfield, neither of whom has ever seen game action at Michigan.
Runyan and JBB were considered some of the most improved in spring practice and each saw game action last season. Runyan, a fourth-year junior, appeared in six games at right guard, one at left tackle, and two, including one start in the bowl game, at right tackle. JBB is a fifth-year senior with eight career starts (seven at right tackle, one at left tackle) and 22 total appearances.
Although Harbaugh would not confirm the starting tackles on Monday, experience over talent is not a bad decision if the talent gap is minimal. Besides, would any coach be comfortable starting a redshirt freshman and true freshman with zero collegiate experience on the road, against a ranked rival?
Mo Hurst 1, Packers OL Byron Bell 0. Check out this spin move on Hurst’s combined sack last night. pic.twitter.com/9wz8o9Vval— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 25, 2018
It turns out Mo Hurst is really good at football. The NFL is quickly learning what Wolverine faithful have known for a long time: Hurst is special. The fifth round pick secured his first sack last week and the one above this past Saturday. Hurst is out for vindication after he plummeted down draft boards with concerns about his heart. If he can stay healthy, we may all have to invest in a Hurst Raiders jersey. I’ll take mine in white.
The Women’s Volleyball team remains undefeated. The Wolverines were led by senior Carly Skjodt whom finished with 14 kills as Michigan toppled Auburn in straight sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-22) on Saturday. Any sport that records “kills” as an official statistic is automatically one of my favorites. Imagine this Devin Bush stat line: 11 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, and 7 kills. Beautiful, but I digress.
The women’s volleyball team will break into the national rankings sooner than later. Last season, the Wolverines finished 21-11 and lost to Colorado State in the first round of NCAA Tournament. Michigan plays again this Friday against Cleveland State and opens Big 10 play on Sept. 21 against Nebraska.
Women’s soccer suffered their first loss of the season. The Wolverines fell to the undefeated Louisville Cardinals on Saturday, 3-1. Michigan travels to Wake Forest (1-1-1) on Wednesday.