Michigan keeps secondary rotation to minimum, but that won’t always be the case

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There was a lot of talk about how deep Michigan potentially could be on defense this season. The Wolverines were rather basic, however, in their season-opening 33-17 win against Florida.

Basic, that is, for defensive coordinator Don Brown

Brown kept to a three-man rotation at cornerback until late, while safeties Tyree Kinnel and Josh Metellus played the entire game with Khaleke Hudson roaming about at the viper position. Hudson’s versatility to play in coverage while being close to the line of scrimmage in run support and as a pass rusher gives Brown an advantage when calling defenses.

He doesn’t have to sub out to run multiple alignments and cause confusion for the opposing offense.

Brown said last week leading up to the game that any player he put on the field was a player he could trust to handle his responsibilities.

So, did he stick with the cornerback trio of Lavert Hill, David Long and Brandon Watson (freshman Ambry Thomas played the final three series after Long and Watson had been injured) because those were the only players he trusted? Or was this a function of Florida’s limited offensive capabilities?

“I think it was just a matter of the way the game played out,” defensive backs coach Brian Smith said. “Our offense did a great job controlling the ball. They ran the ball and kept us off the field at times, so we really didn’t have to rotate as many guys as we would have in a faster-paced game.”

Michigan had 75 offensive snaps and held possession of the ball for 34 minutes, 13 seconds, compared to Florida’s 53 snaps and 25:47 time of possession. Michigan allowed Florida 192 yards of offense and 9 first downs. One of those first downs came via penalty on the first play from scrimmage when linebacker Devin Bush was called for a late hit out of bounds.

Florida had only 11 net yards rushing for the game. That included 55 yards in losses. Sacks are included in rushing totals, and Michigan had 6 of them.

Five different players had those sacks, including one by Hudson. Eight different players combined for 11 tackles for loss. Kinnel, Hudson and Hill were among those eight players. Metellus had a forced fumble and the secondary members combined for 5 pass breakups.

“I thought Josh and Tyree both did a solid job overall running to the football,” Smith said. “They were aggressive and I thought we tackled well, so I was happy with the way we played.”

The fact that they played with a minimal number of players shouldn’t be seen as an indictment on the backups. The frontline defense did its job so well that the backups weren’t needed. That won’t be the case every week. 

The post Michigan keeps secondary rotation to minimum, but that won’t always be the case appeared first on Land of 10.

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