Vincent Smith finishes strong for Michigan football team
Vincent Smith made another pitch to be Michigan’s featured running back next year in Saturday’s 21-10 loss to Ohio State. Smith, seeing significant playing time for the second straight week in the absence of Brandon Minor, ran for 32 yards on 8 carries and scored Michigan’s only touchdown on an 18-yard pass.
Last week, the true freshman had 84 all-purpose yards in a loss to Wisconsin.
Minor missed his final game as a Wolverine with a shoulder injury. Coach Rich Rodriguez said he did not know if Minor would require surgery.
“I’ve said it all year that with Brandon Minor we’re a different football team when he’s in there because of his physical presence,” Rodriguez said. “He can run through some arm tackles and I don’t want to underestimate his importance in pass blocking. He’s the most physical pass blocking running back I’ve ever had.”
Smith showed his physical side Saturday, too.
He twisted his knee early in the game and returned to catch his touchdown before leaving for good in the fourth quarter.
“It was hurting really bad,” Smith said. “I just was thinking about the seniors and thinking about the team and gave it a second go. That’s when I came up with the touchdown, but after that I banged it up again. It was hurting really bad so I just pulled out.”
Sophomore Michael Shaw started in Minor’s place and finished with seven carries for 7 yards.
Recruiting update Michigan hosted its biggest recruiting weekend of the season Saturday. Rodriguez said about 12 official visitors would be on campus. Among those in attendance were cornerback Cullen Christian, safety Tony Jefferson, linebacker Marvin Robinson, cornerback Adrian Witty and defensive tackle Jatashun Beachum.
Robinson already has given Michigan a non-binding verbal commitment. Witty signed with the Wolverines last year but did not qualify academically. He’s currently taking a class and hopes to enroll in 2010.
“I like the way recruiting’s going,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’ll have an outstanding recruiting class, and I think the base of what we’re wanting to do to have a championship program that keeps building and building and never takes a dip down is on it’s way.”
Remember when Michigan was 4-0? Michigan’s 4-0 start wasn’t exactly smoke and mirrors - Notre Dame has proven to be a struggling team, Indiana tied for last in the Big Ten, and Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan are middling (or worse) Mid-American Conference programs - but it did unfairly raise expectations for a program still in the building stages.
“I think it probably hid a few of the warts that we still had,” Rodriguez said. “But again, it’s our job to get a few more wins out of it. I think our team stayed hungry after that. We lost a couple close ball games right after that and our team’s focus the last 12 weeks, the last 16 weeks, has been really good. We just have made a few critical mistakes in certain games and we’re not good enough this year to overcome that.”
Smith said Michigan’s freshmen gathered on their way off the field after Saturday’s 21-10 loss to Ohio State and promised to do everything in their power to have a better 2010.
"We all got together and said we’ll work extramely hard and push one another next season," Smith said.
Extra points Michigan allowed 330 points this year, second most in program history. Last year, the Wolverines allowed a record 347 points. ... Kick returner Darryl Stonum had 63 return yards Saturday, giving him 1,001 kick return yards for the season. He's the first player in program history to top the 1,000-yard mark in a season.
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett