Running game struggles weren’t expected for Michigan football against East Carolina but the Wolverines don’t seem to be worried about it.
Michigan football has established the identity of being able to run the ball against just about anyone and that’s why the struggles against East Carolina were hard to figure out.
The running game wasn’t terrible. The Wolverines went for over 100 yards and Blake Corum averaged over six yards per attempt.
However, there were more plays stopped for zero yards or negative yards than I remember in previous years and both backs looked to be pressing a little bit.
As Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh noted on Monday, part of it was the way East Carolina loaded the box. Here’s what he said via The Wolverine:
"“Watching other games, it’s much the trend right now in college football — putting people inside the tackles, loading boxes, and trying to get penetration — shoot gaps, stop the zone play,” the Michigan head coach said. “That’s something we saw from ECU, which you could tell was their game plan. Having the complementary plays at our disposal … being able to throw the ball, play action, get the ball on the perimeter, was really good for us. “"
The running game should be just fine
Michigan football wasn’t stubborn in running the ball and if Jesse Minter had wanted to, he could have allowed J.J. McCarthy and the offense to run up the numbers even more.
Teams are going to load the box against Michigan. That will stop when McCarthy makes them pay for it. He made Ohio State pay last November and East Carolina in Week 1.
The running game will get better and the Wolverines will get better when their head coach returns. For now, there isn’t anything to worry about, at least if you listen to Harbaugh and running backs coach Mike Hart.
Michigan’s offensive line is still gelling and Corum is still getting back into the swing of things. We’ll see how things go against UNLV, but as of right now, the running game isn’t something to be concerned about going forward.
At least not yet.