2016 Michigan vs. Hawaii Game Recap: MVP and Not-MVP

Michigan’s breezy week one win over Hawaii yielded some great performances in every phase of the game. Let’s take a look at the best and worst from the Wolverine’s 63-3 win with my (new) weekly MVP and Not-MVP game recap: 

MVP: Mason Cole

There are way too many names worthy of this distinction. Chris Evans’ breakout performance, Speight’s steady game and Mike McCray’s impressive comeback all come to mind. But the real MVP today has to be none other than Mason Cole.

Finding the replacement for Graham Glasgow was one of the major storylines from this offseason. Many thought Patrick Kugler would be the guy, and many were also puzzled by the rumor that it would be Cole given the success he had at left tackle so early on in his career.

The transition was absolutely seamless. We never heard his name during the course of the broadcast, and, for a center, that’s probably a good sign. The only time we ever talk about centers are because of bad snaps, missed blocks or penalties. Mason Cole was great, and that is great news. Michigan has found their steady and reliable center for the next two years.

Not-MVP: Freshmen 

Nah. I have nothing bad to say. Instead, I’ll give a bonus MVP.

Michigan played 17 true freshman this afternoon. As of right now, almost 60% of Michigan’s 7th ranked recruiting class will not be redshirted. That’s pretty huge.

And, there are nothing but good things to say about that decision from the Michigan staff. Firstly, Michigan is a team expected to compete for a national title in the coming years. Giving those young talents significant experienced early on will only help their championship aspirations.

Secondly, none of the freshman that played really looked like complete fish out of water. The worst thing any of them did today was Gary’s hands to the face penalty.

Evans looked great, Mckeon had some catches, Bredeson looked like Mason Cole 2.0, LaVert Hill made some plays, Rashan Gary looked nice, and the list can go on forever. If this is a glimpse into the future, I like the future.

Thirdly, not only the highly rated freshman played. Guys like Dwumfour, Kingston Davis and Sean Mckeon played. Being able to tell high school recruits that, if they make a good enough impression in their first fall camps, they can play right away, is a huge advantage in getting recruits as well as being a huge carrot to dangle for recruits once they do get on campus.

Finally, the true freshmen plaaaaayed. They weren’t just thrown out on special team a la Dymonte Thomas in 2013. They were really trusted to play and have major roles. That should be a big help for my third point, as well as for my first point.

If Eddie McDoom or Kekoa Crawford becomes the solution to replacing Darboh and Chesson in 2017, we’ll have this critical accumulation of experience and confidence to thank for it.

Also, seeing a guy like Devin Asiasi burn a redshirt just to block is so Harbaugh and I love that. His role wasn’t glamorous but it was important. He will be asked to do lots of blocking over the course of his career and between his ability to catch and his ability to block, early development in the latter will be much more important than the former. He’ll be just fine at catching the ball, but getting experience blocking college lineman is valuable, regardless the quality of the opponent.

Today looked good. Really good. Be excited for the rest of this season. 

Photo Credit: Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Harrison Rahajason
@ me, bro