Michigan plays its second game of the season on Saturday afternoon against Army coming off of an opener that was effective, yet sloppy at times. Army’s triple option offensive attack and recent success suggest that a big-time test awaits a young and inexperienced football team.
There will be players in every position group that will be keys to victory, but there are a handful of guys who will be watched the closest in terms of their potential impacts on the game.
Here’s the ones that catch my eye heading into the game.
The Michigan offense was far from perfect last week and Patterson was not exempt from that. Because this group was not sharp in the first game, Patterson will be looked at to lead the offensive attack and be more efficient as a team than they were last week. There is not a quarterback controversy between he and Dylan McCaffrey, but they do have two quarterbacks they want to try and get on the field at any given time.
Patterson’s reads and ball placement were good for the most part last week, but things need to be sharper and more accurate for the Wolverines to reach their potential offensively. And because going on long drives of their own and finishing them off with touchdowns is going to be so key in this game, Patterson is the poster child for whatever happens.
Charbonnet was a yard shy of 100 total yards last week in the win over MTSU and it would not be a shock to see him get more of a look in the second game. As it was stated before, the Wolverines will work to counter Army’s ball control offense with potentially some clock control of their own, making the run game a huge factor in this content
An offensive player has rarely had this much hype this early on in Ann Arbor and seeing more of the rushing, receiving and blocking ability of Charbonnet on display is going to be fun to watch.
Jalen Mayfield/Ryan Hayes
The offensive line figured to be pretty set heading into the season once Mayfield was slotted in to replace Andrew Stueber at right tackle, but a new player has entered the arena in Hayes after a strong start in relief of Jon Runyan Jr. last week on the left side.
Runyan may or may not play on Saturday, but even if he does look for a potential rotation of Mayfield and Hayes on the right side of the line. Hayes played well enough that Michigan believes he might be one of their best five up front if he can continue to trend upward. These two guys are definitely the future at the tackle spots and it should be interesting to see if the future comes earlier than we expected it to.
Donovan Jeter/Michael Dwumfour
Both of these players were non-factors in the Week 1 game due to injuries, but will be needed on Saturday against an Army team that is going to run right at them. The interior push might be the biggest question mark remaining about this football team and relying on a 270-pound converted fullback in Ben Mason and true freshmen for reinforcements. If these guys are healthy, their effectiveness will be what everyone keeps a close eye on.
Who are you looking for to have a performance that shines on Saturday? Sound off in the comments below!