Michigan currently ranks 94th in the nation in rushing offense,
with just 171 net rushing yards through two games. Lloyd Carr said
on Monday that he has someone in mind to take over the job at
starting tailback, but he would not indicate who it is. The
Michigan Daily breaks down the candidates for the position and
their chances to fulfill the role as Michigan’s top
runner.

Beth Dykstra

Jerome Jackson

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Saginaw

Height: 5-11

Weight: 198

2004 Stats: 22 carries, 57 yards, 1 td.

career stats: 51 carries, 244 yards, 3 tds.

The skinny: When David Underwood went down early in last
Saturday’s game against Notre Dame, Jackson became the
featured back and fared no better than the others, rushing for just
32 yards an 15 carries. Running lanes were hard to come by and when
they were there, he was unable to break tackles and gain any extra
yards. Against Miami (Ohio) two weeks ago, Jackson did show a
willingness to burst into the hole that the other runners
lacked.

Our call: There’s really no way of knowing if
Jackson can be a reliable every-down back until he actually does
it. With the “bring-him-along-slowly-and-steadily”
approach tossed aside, Carr could try to rely on Jackson and see
where it takes him. But because he is smaller than the typical
Michigan back and hasn’t shown much elusiveness, Carr may not
want to give him the ball down after down. He also needs to prove
that he can be a reliable receiver and blocker to play more
often.

 

Mike Hart

Year: True freshman

Hometown: syracuse, n.y.

Height: 5-9

Weight: 185

2004 Stats: 8 carries, 37 yards, 2 receptions, 7
yards.

career stats: 8 carries, 37 yards, 2 receptions, 7
yards.

The skinny: Hart rewrote the national high school record
books, setting the mark in touchdowns (204), career points (1246),
most consecutive 100-yard rushing games (47) and career 100-yard
rushing games (47). With his small stature, nobody expected Hart to
make a big impact in his freshman year. But Hart’s seen time
as Michigan’s third back and the shifty runner has packed a
powerful punch, trucking Notre Dame’s Preston Jackson last
week.

Our call: Hart has turned many heads in a limited role.
With the struggles of David Underwood and Jerome Jackson, Hart may
not be far from receiving a substantial amount of carries. Also,
Lloyd Carr always stresses the importance of planning for the
future by getting players acclimated to the college game as
underclassmen.

 

David Underwood

Year: Senior

Hometown: Madisonville, Texas

Height: 6-0

Weight: 216

2004 Stats: 23 carries, 61 yards, 2 TDs, 1 reception, 9
yards.

career stats: 142 carries, 562 yards, 18 tds, 2
receptions, 18 yards.

The skinny: There’s no question that David
Underwood has more experience than anyone else competing for the
position. He had some maturity issues early on in his career, but
all indications are that those are behind him. Underwood was given
the start in the season opener against Miami (Ohio), but looked
unimpressive in a 22-carry, 64-yard performance. Underwood started
against Notre Dame, but received a concussion in Michigan’s
second offensive play. There has been no official comment as to his
future status.

Our call: As long as Underwood is healthy, he figures to
be in the running back rotation, even though he has yet to prove
himself in game action. But one has to wonder how effective
Underwood is, considering he was rarely used as a replacement last
year even when Chris Perry was receiving an obscene amount of
carries.

 

Pierre Rembert

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Milwaukee

Height: 6-0

Weight: 213

2004 Stats: 5 carries, 32 yards, 2 receptions, 0
yards.

career stats: 26 carries, 121 yards, 4 tds, 3 receptions,
-2 yards.

The skinny: Rembert, who played at the same high school
as John Navarre, battled in the offseason for the starting
position. But as of right now, he seems to be the team’s
fourth option at running back. Rembert runs like a traditional
Michigan power back. He may be Michigan’s most consistent
pass-blocker.

Our call: Rembert has not shown Maize and Blue faithful
anything spectacular so far, but he has never really had the
opportunity to do so. Because of his ability to protect the
quarterback, Rembert could see significant time in passing
situations. Currently, he doesn’t figure into the ground game
very much.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *