The 2018 Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year was a consensus All-American a year after being named a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He was named a back-to-back Academic All-Big Ten performer. We spotlighted the fact that his leadership within the program was verified when he became just the second non-senior to be elected captain during the Jim Harbaugh-era. His father, Devin, Sr., was a first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1995 NFL Draft after starring at Florida State.
Michigan and Ohio State met on Saturday at the “Horseshoe” with a spot in the Big Ten Championship and possibly a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line. Ohio State capitalized on Michigan’s special teams errors in the second half and rode its offensive and defensive lines to a 62-39 victory. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:
9 Donovan Peoples-Jones (6’2, 208) Michigan wide receiver-Sophomore
Peoples-Jones made all types of grabs on Saturday and when his team needed plays on late down situations, he was the man targeted. The sophomore wide receiver finished with seven catches for 64 yards against the Buckeyes. Peoples-Jones isn’t afraid to make catches over the middle but will be a problem at the next level on the outside because of his quick feet and his ability to accelerate and de-celerate to relieve himself of tight coverage. For the season, the sophomore has caught 39 passes for 541 yards and seven touchdowns. The sophomore is also a threat as a punt returner (two career punt return touchdowns and averages 9 yards a return).
Ohio State offensive and defensive lines
Michigan came into Columbus with the nation’s top-ranked defense and a huge reason why was because of their ability to pressure the quarterback with four men. However, by games end, Ohio State’s offensive and defensive line had stolen the show. The Buckeyes didn’t give up a sack and sacked Michigan junior quarterback Shea Patterson (6’2, 205) three times. In the fourth quarter on 3rd and 12, Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (6’5, 265) flushed Patterson from the pocket and made him throw off-balance, which led to an interception by junior safety Jordan Fuller (6’2 204). Defensive linemen Robert Landers (6’1 283) and Jonathon Cooper (6’4 257) also contributed with sacks. Offensively, the Buckeyes rushed for 249 yards and passed for 318 yards.
“They slowly devastated us throughout the game. Knowing all the yards they were putting up and how easily they were scoring, it was tough. It was very tough,” Michigan senior defensive back Tyree Kinnel said in a post game press conference. “They completely beat us everywhere. Run game, pass game, everyone is to blame.”
7 Dwayne Haskins (6’3, 220) Ohio State QB-Sophomore
Haskins seems to be getting more and more comfortable as the season goes on. The Potomac, Maryland, native completed 19-of-30 passes for 318 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday. Despite the big game atmosphere, Haskins never forced any throws against a stout Michigan defense. Aided by a strong running game and a clean pocket, he picked the Wolverines apart. Haskins has the arm to make all the throws and is big enough to shake defenders off. If the sophomore can continue to play with the poise he showed on Saturday, look for him to continue to move up future NFL Draft boards.
39 Malik Harrison (6’3, 245) Ohio State LB-Junior
Harrison impressed with his form tackling ability against the Wolverines. The junior linebacker used his eyes well and was able to make tackles on Michigan senior running back Karan Higdon (5’10 202) by being patient and meeting Higdon in his running lanes. Harrison can also be used in blitz packages. He sacked Patterson on the second play of the game when he came into the backfield untouched. For a player his size, Harrison has excellent sideline-to- sideline ability yet is strong enough to take on interior linemen in the running game. Harrison projects best as a 4-3 outside linebacker.
It doesn’t take long when watching Michigan junior left guard Ben Bredeson to see why he was named a team captain for 2018. Along with junior star linebacker Devin Bush, Bredeson is just the second non-senior with eligibility remaining to be named a captain in the Jim Harbaugh-era (https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Article/Offensive-lines-work-ethic-makes-life-easy-for-Ben-Bredeson-121097213/).
Bush, for one, thinks Bredeson has created somewhat of a change for an offense that played second-fiddle to the Wolverines elite defensive unit in 2017 (3rd nationally).
“I want to say Ben Bredeson was a huge asset to that,” Bush said. “Shea coming in, being the person he is, he also created that bond. I think the offense is just a lot closer and a lot more on the same page than it was last year.” (https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2018/08/27/michigan-football-ben-bredeson-simpler-offense/1113569002/).
Bredeson slides his feet well versus interior movement; particularly when handling stunts coming from left-to-right. His hand placement is normally attached in-between the defender’s numbers in pass protection, which alleviates an occasional tendency to lean over his toes. On gap-schemed runs where he is asked to pull on inside powers, linebackers can stack-and-shed him when his helmet location dips at the point of attack. For a player who doesn’t have elite length, he tends to rely on his quick-set to win early in downs. This is why he has to stay active if he can achieve extension quickly versus defensive linemen. Perhaps most evident is his ability to slide his feet while his arms are locked-out. Once he’s been challenged vertically, the Wolverines left guard sinks his low back into the chair to re-anchor effectively. Additionally, his ability to wheel interior three-technique defensive tackles can open up passing lanes for a quarterback in Shea Patterson -who stands 6-foot-1- to look down the field (vs. Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery (No. 99), 52-yard completion, 3rd QTR, ND ’18).
As a run blocker, his hands tend to slide upward into the neck and chest area on some of his reach blocks. At this stage, he probably uses his frame to engulf more than win with his first couple of steps off the snap going laterally. His lateral quickness is efficient but not exceptional. This becomes evident when handling inside line spikes from opponents (from his left to his right). Although he’s a tad higher with his hand in the dirt (pre-snap stance) on passing plays, Bredeson does not give away many pre-snap indicators by being too light on his fingertips. His ‘nasty’ play demeanor shows up down-to-down. If he doesn’t have work, he will look to clean-up defensive ends to help his tackles. When doing so, he rocks the opposition (3rd QTR, smacks No. 91 Ogundeji, Notre Dame ’18).
The addition of new offensive line coach Ed Warinner has helped the former four-star recruit and entire offensive line when it comes to technique. A year after giving up 36 quarterback sacks to rank 13th in the Big Ten, the team is on pace to drop the total (if projected throughout the entire season). If the unit is going to continue to improve, Bredeson’s leadership and playing style will be a big key factor.