It may not surprise anyone keeping up with Michigan football this spring that one of the offensive positions with loads of talent may have one that is leading the group as we stand today and being talked about by the staff. Coach Wheatley working with the running backs named the front runner while talking to the media yesterday, but also commented about his philosophy when it comes to determining who gets playing time.
De’Veon Smith is the front runner in the running back position and Wheatley said he could average 20-25 carries per game. He finished the 2015 season with 753 yards, 180 carries and six touchdowns. Even though 2015 was a solid year overall, Wheatley said Smith is working hard right now and showing signs of improvement getting close to that next level of his game to have an even better senior year.
Others that will work for playing time is Ty Isaac, Drake Johnson, Kareem Walker, and Karan Higdon. Wheatley commented about not being here two years ago when Johnson was playing and getting time, but is looking good so far this year.
Wheatley also talked about playing freshman since the 2016 recruiting class features two running backs, Kareem Walker and Kingston Davis. His philosophy comes down to trust most importantly when evaluating who will earn playing time. He also commented on the importance of not putting the ball on the ground, knowing assignments and protecting the quarterback. He said all three factors are equal importance and anyone, no matter if it’s a freshman or sophomore, can see playing time by gaining the trust, learning the position and working hard.