ANN ARBOR –Michigan’s football team took the field in a public setting Saturday for the first time since its Dec. 31 loss to Georgia in the Orange Bowl.
With only bragging rights and a steak dinner at stake for the Wolverines’ spring game, any revelations about Jim Harbaugh’s 2022 team won’t come until the fall. But Saturday did give media and fans a first glimpse of the Wolverines, who lost several starters off last year’s Big Ten championship team, especially on defense.
With the players split up into two teams, the defenses were the story in the Blue team’s 20-12 victory over Maize.
But there also were a few highlights and standout performances on the offensive side of the ball. Harbaugh and coaches were not made available to media following the game, but a handful of players did speak afterward.
Here are some of their notable quotes from Saturday:
“If there’s one dude who’s in the film room with me every single time, it was Davis. He was with me every week during the game. I had a prior relationship to him before he came to Michigan, but I think he’s very smart. I think him being able to play – like you mentioned, it has been three years — I think he played really well today. I’m proud of him. That’s my guy and I look forward to what he can do.”
– McNamara on redshirt freshman walk-on Davis Warren, who had the best game among the quarterbacks Saturday. He completed 12 of 23 passes for 175 yards, which was 75 more than the next closest quarterback (Alan Bowan). Warren is a Leukemia survivor and didn’t play much during his high school career while receiving treatment. Here’s his story: Michigan walk-on QB Davis Warren already has beaten the odds
“We noticed as soon as he walked in the door that he’s physically put together well. He’s a big dude. He’s got muscle, he’s got speed, he’s got strong hands. I think we were able to just show that a little bit today, and I can’t wait to see where his talents can go.”
– Quarterback Cade McNamara on freshman receiver Darrius Clemons, who caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. His top highlight was a 35-yard touchdown reception in the end zone after burning by defensive back Joshua Luther.
“It’s a work in progress, but it felt good to be back. I feel like this team is picking up right where we left off, honestly. We put in the work in the offseason. This whole spring ball, whole camp, we’ve been putting in work, we’ve been stacking those bricks. I think with where we’re at right now, we’re in a strong spot, but we have some work to do.”
-Running back Blake Corum on playing in front of fans for the first time since Dec. 31. Corum rushed for 40 yards on seven carries Saturday.
“I think one of the first days we put on pads in one-on-one pass rush, we saw him lock up some of our better D-linemen. This guy is gonna be pretty good for us. I think we knew early. I think he’s gonna bring a lot of experience a lot of maturity to our group.”
-Left tackle Ryan Hayes on graduate transfer Olusegun Oluwatimi, this year’s projected starter at center. He was a three-year starter at Virginia.
“Not really. I think the energy, the competitiveness that this team showed today, that was on display. But as far as what schematically — everything kind of from a football standpoint, we’re not trying to show anything in this game. We’re just trying to get some dudes reps. I think we’re trying to see what other guys can do.”
– McNamara on if Saturday’s offensive play-calling could be an indication of what is to come this fall
“It’s nothing new. In practice last year he was doing the same thing. We know that Davis can ball out when he has to.”
– Hayes on Warren
“He’s a baller. That’s what I call an athlete. I know you guys saw today, he bounced it to the outside, nice little run, has some speed to him. He’s a bigger back. I’ve seen some great things from the running back position. Obviously, he plays linebacker, but shoots, he’s a dual threat. I think he’s a great athlete. I think he can add some great depth to our running back room along with the linebacker room.”
– Corum on sophomore Kalel Mullings, who played running back and linebacker Saturday. Mullings rushed for 36 yards on just four carries, including one in the first half that went for 21 yards. He also recorded a tackle for the Maize team.
“Honestly, I’m really surprised how well they’re doing. We lost three huge factors on that D-line, and they’re still getting to us. They’re still creating ways – Taylor Upshaw, Braiden McGregor, Mike Morris – a lot of dudes are starting to emerge as guys that we can count on.”
– McNamara on the team’s defensive line. Both teams’ defensive lines had a strong showing on Sunday. Redshirt sophomore Kris Jenkins had a sack and a pass breakup, while redshirts sophomore Jaylen Harrell recorded a sack. Redshirt freshman George Rooks had seven tackles, including one for loss, while true freshman Derrick Moore also had a tackle for loss. Redshirt freshman Rayshaun Benny finished second on Maize with six tackles.
Read more Michigan football coverage from MLive:
AJ Henning looks to emerge in crowded wide receiver room
Grant Newsome had his football career derailed at Michigan. Now he’s found his calling as coach
Where’s the pass rush going to come from? Michigan looks inside for help
Michigan has new DC, but expect similar-looking defense in 2022
Taylor Upshaw wants to be that guy for Michigan
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