Michigan Football played its annual Spring Game in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon, but it was much more of a practice with some scrimmage elements thrown into the mix. The one’s and two’s took the field for the first hour and a half of action with the three’s and four’s hitting the field after (media spoke with the first group after the game, so these takeaways will be based on the first session).
The short version of it all is that there was not anything mind-blowing or wrinkles we did not see coming, but what we did see was what people have said throughout the offseason what the offense is going to be.
The #SpeedInSpace hashtag is very much a real thing, as the focus of this offense, or at least what we saw on Saturday, being a strong desire to get players the ball in the open field and let them make plays. Ronnie Bell really has the potential to feast in this offense, as he is arguably the player with the most YAC ability on the roster.
We did not see a whole lot of running (pretty much the entire depth chart has some sort of injury they are working through), but there were quite a few crossing routes over the middle (think what OSU did to kill Michigan last year) and shots down the field.
Quarterback-wise, there is no reason to believe that Shea Patterson does not have a stranglehold on the position. He is their most complete and polished passer and the mobility makes him a two-way threat. Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton also rotated in and had some moments, but nothing that would suggest they are legitimately pushing Patterson. McCaffrey might be the best athlete of the bunch and still moves great on the keepers, while Milton might have the most impressive arm of the bunch, but he’s not quite there yet. We saw some throws down the field that sailed a bit long, but it was a touch windy down the field. Patterson still looked the best of the three in that regard.
Mike Sainristil and Erick All have been two names in the spring that have been mentioned as early candidates for playing time and they certainly flashed some of that potential.
We know that Michigan is losing a lot on defense, but what they will not be losing is pure speed and athleticism. Cam McGrone and Jordan Anthony may not be Devin Bush (who was in attendance Saturday, along with Rashan Gary), but those guys have plenty of burst and the Wolverines should be better off than most expect there.
Outside of that, there was not too much to take away from Saturday’s event other than what we already knew. I come away a little more impressed than I thought I’d be, but this was also the first on-field look that I have seen this year (we did not make it out to the open practice last week). It’s April and there is a lot of work to go, but to see speed on both sides of the ball should bode well for the offense and defense as they practice against each other in camp and leading up to the season. It finally feels like they have the athletes and attitude on offense to attack and match the aggression of the defense, which should have fans excited.
As far as what the season brings, who knows at this point. But the hype train will continue to roll and based on Saturday, fans are going to have fun watching this team develop. Will it lead to wins in big games? Time will tell. That’s months away.
For now, the arrow is pointing upward.