COLLEGE PARK -- After running back De’Veon Smith injured his ankle last week in Michigan’s blowout loss to BYU, the Wolverine coaching staff has performed the expected song and dance about whether or not he will play on Saturday against Maryland.
Things appear to be positive for the running back, though, with offensive coordinator Tim Drevno saying he “really feel[s] good about” the prospect of him seeing game action, via the Detroit Free Press.
That means one thing for Maryland, as sophomore linebacker Jermaine Carter said this week.
“Going into the game, you know it’s going to be a physical game so you know know you’ve got to have your big boy pants on,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready to go.”
It is a mix of factors for Michigan. They’ve shown a commitment to running the football and the mix of wind and rain will likely make the passing game less than desirable on Saturday. That means pounding the football on the ground.
Smith himself had 125 yards on just 16 carries against BYU, including this run where he magically appeared out of a scrum, viciously stiff-armed a defender, and took it in for the score.
The problem for Maryland is that it ranks 83rd in the country in yards allowed per rush this season, including the 6.7 per carry it surrendered to West Virginia’s Wendell Smallwood as he racked up 147 yards on the ground for the day.
Forcing turnovers in the adverse weather conditions may be their best option when it comes to giving the Maryland offense good field position against a stout Michigan defense.
“Get your helmet on the football. Even the slightest hit on the football. It’s just things like that,” Carter said. “If it’s raining, just got to get to the ball, fly around. If everybody is flying around, then hopefully we can cause some turnovers.”
Maryland-Michigan is set for an adjusted noon kickoff on Saturday in College Park.