While Michigan has two known commodities returning to the running back depth chart in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, the Wolverines have been busy searching to complement the dynamic duo with a third, more physical back in short-yardage situations.
While the combination of Corum and Edwards can be exciting, it doesn’t take much to notice that either back cannot be the bruising, between the tackles type of back that Hassan Haskins was for the program last year. That’s not a knock on either player, it’s simply the truth.
This is why the offensive coaching staff has been on a quest since spring to find a fit as the third running back that will see time this season. With Tavierre Dunlap and CJ Stokes fitting the mold as big-bodied backs, the offense also went outside the box in terms of experimenting with other players in the spring.
Linebacker Kalel Mullings spent time at running back during the spring and it appears that timeshare will continue during fall camp.
According to co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss who met with reporters on Sunday, Mullings could have a future as a two-way player this season.
“He’s splitting his time with both sides of the ball,” Weiss said. “I think he can be a talented guy, he could probably do anything that he wanted to but I think he could be a really high-level back if that’s what he committed himself to. Right now, he’s doing everything that we ask, obviously . It’s hard when you’re splitting time to be a master of both and he’s been doing that and we’re spending extra time with him. We’re excited what he could potentially add to a talented backfield.”
The reason to add Mullings into the mix is simple, his size gives the Wolverines added depth behind Corum and Edwards. Of course, more competition for guys like Dunlap and Stokes is never a bad thing, either.
“He’s a bigger back,” Weiss said. “We have an embarrassment of riches in the backfield with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, both guys who could be playing at the next level. They’re not 200-and-however-many pounds Kalel is. He’s a really big, physical guy that gives you that presence, obviously, we had a lot of success with Hassan last year. We’re not saying that Kalel is going to be Hassan, we’re just asking him to be Kalel. He has an element that the other two really talented players are a little bit different.”
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