Michigan posted a few highlights on mgoblue.com of Saturday’s first fall scrimmage and, without seeing the full closed scrimmage, it’s tough to draw conclusions on players’ performance.
But, based on the 3 ½ minutes of highlights, there were a few interesting observations.
Tailback Fitz Toussaint ran strong with the first unit. He had a few plays where he showed nice burst and even shook a few guys. Freshman De’Veon Smith scored on a touchdown. Thomas Rawls was stuffed at the goal line on one play and the one carry shown of Derrick Green was him getting swarmed.
Justice Hayes had a number of opportunities as a receiving threat out of the backfield, including a touchdown where Devin Gardner rolled right and found him on a short pass.
The offensive line first group appeared to be Graham Glasgow at left guard, Jack Miller at center and Kyle Kalis at right guard.
In that first group, Amara Darboh was at a receiver spot and there was a two tight end sighting with A.J. Williams and Devin Funchess on the field together.
On defense, Raymon Taylor and Blake Countess looked to be the first-team cornerbacks and were in most of the footage and Courtney Avery appeared on the field with them, possibly as a safety alongside incumbent Thomas Gordon. Strong side linebacker Cam Gordon also seemed to be with the first unit much of the time, and was in on a number of tackles, looking very active. Brennen Beyer also appeared a bit at that spot. James Ross was near the ball often from his weak-side linebacker spot and Royce Jenkins-Stone appeared to rotate in as well at Ross’ spot.
The defensive line rotation was in effect as Ondre Pipkins, Keith Heitzman, Willie Henry, Richard Ash, Matt Godin and Mario Ojemudia all appeared to get work. Nickel back Dymonte Thomas came up on one play to take down Hayes on a screen pass.
Redshirt freshman receiver Jehu Chesson made a leaping grab of nearly 30 yards over Countess on the right side.
The blitz of Courtney Avery and Cam Gordon got to Gardner one time, even forcing him to fall down (he’s not allowed to be hit and wears an orange jersey as a reminder.)
Gardner took snaps with the second-team offensive line as well, which had Erik Magnuson at left tackle, Ben Braden at left guard, and Erik Gunderson at right tackle in some highlights with Braden also playing left tackle in one spot. (Kalis appeared to be getting snaps at right guard with this group as well and Miller was the center, as he was with the first team.)
When Gardner threw with the second unit, he tossed a long touchdown bomb down the left side to receiver Joe Reynolds, who was shown making a few big catches.
There were certainly many other players who were on the field and made an impact, even in the highlights, but those were a few that stuck out.