Michigan Wolverines senior running back Hassan Haskins was among a trio of teammates sent to Indianapolis for Big Ten football media day on Thursday. The best way to describe how those three and head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke about the leadup to the season is to say there was a vibe of optimism after turning the page from a brutal 2020.
The biggest Michigan storyline of the offseason was the overhaul on the defensive side of the ball, but there were some changes on offense as well. Sherrone Moore slid over from tight ends to replace Ed Warinner as the team’s offensive line coach and co-coordinator. Former Wolverine Mike Hart now helms the running back room that he was a star in over a decade ago. Those are two prominent names that figure to work in big support roles to offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
Haskins told Maize n Brew that the group, which also includes Jay Harbaugh coaching the tight ends and Matt Weiss leading the quarterbacks, has done good work thus far.
“Yeah, they’re definitely doing their jobs,” Haskins said. “Giving us great game plans to work with. I can tell in spring ball that we were coming together as a unit and an offense. I can tell there have been gains.”
Haskins has spent the last few seasons as part of a running back room led by the younger Harbaugh but said that he has found a relatable peer in Hart’s addition to the staff.
“All of my coaches have been good,” he said. “But Coach Hart, he’s a great dude to get along with. He brings a lot of energy to the room. He’s a great guy to talk with and learn from as well. He’s been in my shoes. He knows the game and how it goes.”
The offense will go as far as its quarterback takes them and Michigan was pretty outspoken about Cade McNamara at the top of the depth chart throughout Thursday’s event. He has the seal of approval from one of the guys he will be handing the ball to.
“I love Cade,” Haskins said. “He’s a great leader and he knows what he’s talking about. He knows the game. He’s well-rounded and balanced from what I’ve seen. From spring ball to workouts, everything. He’s been grinding like everyone else on that team. I’m glad that he’s my quarterback.”
McNamara, along with the other changes made to the Michigan offense this offseason, seemingly signals a desire to get back to basics. Haskins said that approach has paid off and that a return to a normal schedule has made things way smoother.
Most definitely. The energy is there every day. Workouts, rehab, or whatever. Everything is definitely way smoother so far this year.”
Harbaugh told the media on Thursday that Haskins projects to be the No. 1 running back for the Wolverines when the season opens up with Blake Corum neck-and-neck with him for the lead back role. Donovan Edwards will play a role and be in the rotation as well as he gets his feet wet as a freshman.