Michigan football needs to throw the ball more in 2022, and here are three reasons the Wolverines need to succeed to air it.
In 2021, Michigan football had one of the strongest rushing attacks in the country. The Wolverines averaged 214.4 yards per game on the ground, which was good for 15th place nationally. More importantly, the Wolverines ran the ball effectively at crucial moments. That was cut short by a 297-yard and 5-touchdown attempt against the hated Buckeyes.
Michigan Football will have one of the best running back duos in the country in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. It also brings back three starters on offense and adds an all-American center in Victor Oluwatimi.
Michigan’s running game should get strong again, but things could be different. In fact, the Wolverines could be better off throwing the ball more in 2022, and here are three reasons why.
Replacing Hassan Haskins will be difficult
One of the things that made Michigan’s running game so successful last season was that it had a true “thunder and lightning” tandem with Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.
Haskins was able to wear down a defense before Corum came in and rushed away for a big win. Haskins was also money in short-range situations, helping the Wolverines maintain drives. Haskins is now a member of the Tennessee Titans and Michigan needs to find someone to weed out hard yards.
Despite being 5ft 8 and 200lbs, Corum is an effective runner between tackles. Centering him 20 times per game wouldn’t be the best use of his skills though.
Edwards joins Corum as 1A/1B in the Michigan football backfield this season. Edwards is now 6ft 202lbs and could be in line to take on some of Haskin’s load.
Like Corum, however, he is more lightning than thunder. In fact, one of the sticking points in his recruitment was choosing a school that would include him in their passing game. Tavierre Dunlap and Kalel Mullings are two other short yardage candidates.
However, Michigan should be careful to include them in other situations. Defense will stack the box if they see Dunlap and Mullings only come into short range situations.
I think we could see Michigan play more outside the zone to bring Corum and Edwards more to the rim. The Wolverines could also use short passes to extend the running game. Corum and Edwards both caught 20+ passes last season, which could increase this season, especially for Edwards.
Screen passes and swing routes to the back and bubble screens to the perimeter could help Michigan rack up easy yards and create manageable situations on second and third downs.
It will also allow the quarterback to do easy completions to get into a rhythm and increase his completion percentage.