On Saturday January 26th, Brady Hoke and his staff landed their most highly touted recruiting target to date. Hermitage (Va) star running back Derrick Green. At 6’0 220 lbs, Green reminds me a lot of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy in the way he is built and runs.
Bringing Green into the fold means a likely return to the running based “ManBall” teams of Michigan’s past.
Since Brady Hoke took over at Michigan, the Wolverines have run the Power-O play, even though they really didn’t have the personnel to run it. The idea behind it is to establish a nasty mindset and attitude in his offensive lineman. Power-O is known to many veteran offensive line coaches as “God’s Play”, the ultimate “ManBall” play. It involves man blocking principles that create leverage from the play side down blocks and double teams, while the fullback kicks out and the backside guard leads through the hole. This play is extremely popular at every level of football because of the mentality it creates in the offensive line with the downhill, straight ahead nature of the scheme.
Hoke has recruited blue chip offensive line prospects to go along with what many recruiting services feel is the best running back in the country in Green. Based on that, I expect Power-O to be THE base run of Michigan’s offensive scheme. Along with the play action bootleg pass, these plays will become Michigan’s bread and butter for years to come.
Hoke is no stranger to this type of attack being the base of Michigan’s offense. In 1997 Michigan’s favorite run play was another “ManBall” staple, the counter play. It is very similar to the Power-O play, except that both the backside guard and tackle pull. The guard kicks out the end while the tackle leads through the hole. I’m sure we all remember Steve Hutchinson and Jeff Backus leading the way for Chris Howard on this play numerous times. Michigan ran counter (along with Power-O, Zone etc) until the defense over committed to the run. Then, UM called the play action boot pass. This was the exact play that produced the game winning TD in the 1998 Rose Bowl vs Washington State. (Boot pass TD, Griese to Tuman is at 6:10 mark)
So the more things change the more they stay the same. I don’t believe Hoke and Borges will be as conservative with the offense as it was under Lloyd Carr, but I think many Michigan fans will recognize this offense next year as a throwback to the Michigan of old. A dynamic player such as Green only accelerated the return of the pro style offense.Green is well suited to a north-south running game where he should produce a lot of yards after contact. Once Michigan establishes the run, Devin Gardner will be downright frightening on the bootleg pass with his dual threat ability and a tight end like Devin Funchess.
You can follow me on twitter @JamesALight