ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Everyone expected Michigan football to be a more pass-heavy team in 2022. Well, not so fast.
Thus far, the running game, led by junior Blake Corum, has carried the load, which has more to do with his talent than any struggle through the air. Considering his position coach, it’s really no surprise.
Mike Hart looks at Corum like a younger version of himself, saying that if anyone was to marry his daughters, he’d trust the young Wolverine. On Wednesday, he delved into the totality of the run game, his emotions about traveling back to Bloomington, and much more.
Here is everything he had to say.
What does having Donovan Edwards back mean for the offense?
I mean, he’s a special player, we all know that. He’s special. So he changes what we can do on offense sometimes when he’s in there. And you know, I think the biggest play the game last week, was when he recovered that fumble. I just think that’s kind of kid he is. I think that the way he reacted, the way he did that, I mean, it’s something that — he’s just a ballplayer and we were backed up, and then fumble happened, like it was the biggest play of the game, recovering that. So love having him back. He does a great job. He works hard. He’s just a great kid.
Is it ideal for Blake Corum to have 29-30 carries?
I told him he’s not gonna break my records. But, I tell the kids, they know, we’ll do what we have to win. So, do I want to do 30? No, I want to get Donovan more carries, C.J. more carries. But we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to get to the win. So just feel like sometimes it’s best.
Can Corum handle it better due to his having gained weight?
Maybe, maybe not? I don’t know. You know, I think that 205, 210, 212 — what’s the difference? But I know he can carry about 30 times a game.
What did he tell C.J. Stokes after the fumble vs. Maryland?
I think that, just as I said about the running backs earlier, I just said I love them as a group. I think that it’s not easy, right? And I’d love to put them back in the game. Donovan fumbled last year, early in the season. He went right back in because they were playing a different team. And I just think that the way they supported him, the way they helped him, like he’s not doing anything wrong. He fumbled the ball, it happens. But I just told him, I said, ‘Hey, keep your head up.’ Because I just think that it’s a tough situation.
Love the kid, love what he’s doing. Love the way he works. He shows up every day. works really hard. But the biggest thing to me was the way the other running backs went to him. I didn’t have to do it. And that’s what I was happy about, pretty much.
We haven't seen Tavierre Dunlap. Why?
No, I think Tavi does a great job. He’s a kid that’s growing, getting better. I actually told Tavi yesterday, I said, ‘Dude, you’re way better than you were last year.’ And I mean that in a positive way. Like, he’s growing and would love the game on the field, too. It’s just you can’t get everybody in the field. So he’s not doing anything wrong. It’s not that I don’t believe in him. I just think that we’re going to do what we can do to win, and they know that.
Is Blake Corum a young Mike Hart?
Good question. I need to think about that. I just think — I love Blake, and I think that — and this doesn’t really your question but — I want to think about somebody like I have two daughters. And one of them’s a beast and the other is really nice. So basically, one of them acts like me, the other one of them acts like their mom. And Blake Corum could marry my daughters any day.
And when I think about, I say like, you want your daughters to marry who you are. And that’s Blake Corum, in my opinion. I love the kid. We do have a special relationship. But like I don’t want anyone touching my daughters, talking to my daughters. But Blake Corum, he can do what he wants. My four-year-old says, ‘When ‘Bwake’ coming to the house?’
So that’s all, the kid is special. He acts like m,e he is me. He just eats better than I did.
How does he mentor off the field?
Yeah, I think I told you, last time I was up here, I think I told you guys like, it’s why I love doing it. You know, 18 to 22-year-old kids, I mean, young men, whatever you want to call them. That’s why I do what I do. And he’s special. Blake’s special. Donovan’s special. C.J.’s special, Tavi’s special. I mean, we have a really good room. And that’s why I love doing what I do. If you look at Tavi, he hasn’t played much, but he’s so positive and he does a great job. Just proud of them all, to be honest with you.
Does he feel he needs to check in with them constantly?
I treat them like I treat my son. When I feel something, when I know something, they get a text — all of them. It’s just, I treat them like Cameron — that’s my son. It’s the only boy I got and so like, that’s how I treat them. So sometimes they get yelled at. Sometimes they get reprimanded, sometimes — it’s all love. But it just depends what the situation is.
More on Donovan Edwards in the passing game
I think Donovan could start as a slot receiver anywhere in the country.
He’s special coming out of the backfield and he can run the ball, too. So he’s special. Blake can do the same thing he does, but Donovan does it better. So we just, we play like I said, we’re gonna do what we’re doing.
Blake Corum's pass protection
I think he’s been great since I’ve been here. It’s just the want to. You know, he wants to block everybody, hit everybody, cut everybody, do everything he has to do, so. Yeah, it was good — that was a good block.
Emotions returning to Bloomington
I mean, I think it’s always — I was there for four years. And I love Tom Allen and I respect that program a lot. He helped me. He changed me. So I just have the utmost respect for them. At the highest level. A lot of those kids I recruited, help recruit in there. They’re good. They play hard. And it’s not gonna be easy. They always play us hard. And I was there for a couple of them. So there’s obviously high emotions this week for me going back there. And it’s just being around everybody, from the AD Scott Dolson to the DFO Mike Doig, it’s a lot of emotion. So, I’m excited. And some of my best friends are on that staff. And so, it’s never easy, but you got to win. That’s all I care about.
Bouncing outside vs. running inside
Yeah, I just think it depends on the game plan. I think that Iowa was a three-yard game, get downhill. I thought the other game that they could bounce stuff. So they listen, and they do a great job. But I just think the traits are just based on who we’re playing. And you look at Iowa’s defense, they didn’t give up many plus-10-yard runs all year. I mean, for the last three years, four years, five years — really since 2004, when I was playing. Same defense, same people. And so you gotta get three yards when you can. And some other teams, you can do some other stuff.
Is there an advantage to being a smaller back?
I just think that whether you’re big, whether you’re small, if you’re good, you’re good. And he’s good. He should be a guy that’s gonna be
talked about for the Doak Walker, for the Heisman . We move as Blake moves. He’s a special player. I just love that kid.
Emotions about the tunnel being dedicated to Lloyd Carr
I love Lloyd. And when that happened, I’m like, I’m excited, for him, for what he did for me, for what he’s done for a million guys. I think it was well warranted. He’s a special, special guy, and special guy for me. Love him to death. So I’ll be happy to run through that tunnel, to answer your question.
Thoughts on coaches being fired from their alma mater
Interesting, interesting question right there. I mean, I never want to see anybody get fired at all, in life. And so it’s gonna be hard. Like I said, I think as a coach in this profession, everyone has a family. And you never want to see anybody fail. You always want to win. But I don’t want to see people fail, if that makes sense.
And I think that it would never easy. You know? Like, I always tell you guys, I can get fired tomorrow. I got a wife and three kids. The other guys who got fired have the same thing, they have wives, they have kids. And so I never want anybody to fail. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to do the job.
What's the identity of the offense?
I just think we do what we have to do to win. Run the ball, pass the ball — doesn’t matter, win the game. What’s the identity? I mean, everyone knows to run the ball. It’s what we do here, with what we’ve always done. But we’re really good at passing the ball, too. Got some really, really good receivers who create issues out there. So I think that we mix it up, we switch it up, and just win, whatever it takes.
Corum doesn't do things like guarantee victories
I think I’ve been through things that we talk about, and I just try to educate them as much — like it’s not just Blake, it’s all of them. I’m just trying to the best way I can, how to handle things, how to do things. I was a little wild back when I was young. You say some crazy things. Glad Blake doesn’t do that.
Does the offensive line make it easy to run the ball?
Awesome. I told them the other day, I said Trente Jones is doing a phenomenal job. Schoony could block anybody in the country. Even if you look at Gio last week, in the game at left guard when Keegan was out, they’re just doing a phenomenal job and just proud of them. And obviously, Coach Moore has a lot to do with that. But they’re doing a phenomenal job and just happy about the way that they’re doing it.