Michigan’s offensive identity continues against Ohio State: LT Ryan Hayes

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The Michigan football program Monday offered no official update on star running back Blake Corum, who suffered an apparent knee injury in last weekend’s win over Illinois. UM coach Jim Harbaugh said Saturday Corum’s knee was “structurally good,” but the Heisman nominee only played two second-half snaps against the Illini.

Whether or not Corum plays Ohio State this weekend, expect the Wolverines to continue playing on their offensive philosophy, the left tackle Ryan Hayes said Monday afternoon.

“I don’t think we’re going to change identities in this game. Obviously Blake is a big part of our offense, a big part of our team, but I think our identity stays the same,” Hayes said.

Here’s everything else Hayes, a starter on the offensive line in 2021 and 2022, said about the Ohio State game:

On the meaning of the running game against Ohio State:

Well I think in a game like this, I think winning the line of scrimmage, winning the rushing totals is a big factor in the game. So I think it will be very important for us to control the line of scrimmage

When Ohio State looks tougher than last year:

You have the new defense coordinator. We watch them a few bits in the film every week and I think they really fly to the ball. They’re playing together this year and they definitely look a lot better.

On his approach to the rivalry after Jim Harbaugh said there was “no reason to hate”:

I agree with what Coach said. I think we’re both 11-0. The season built that point and at that point it’s win or go home. So we’re just trying to win.

How Michigan prepared for Ohio State throughout the season:

We’ve had them in the back of our minds every day since January. Everything we do revolves around them. It’s all about winning that game at the end of the season. So I think it won’t start until January. Always keep them in the back of your mind. Have periods with them. We watch her film almost weekly. So just start with that.

In preparation for the Ohio State Defense Line:

It’s probably definitely the best Front Seven we’ve played to this point. I think they are really good players. We prepare the same thing every week. Obviously this week means a lot. But we’re going to do the same things we’ve been doing all season.

About the first time at Ohio Stadium since 2018:

Most of the players on that team weren’t there because obviously last time it was COVID and we couldn’t go. I’ve obviously heard stories. I expect a noisy, crazy environment. We’ve played these games here before. So I think we will be prepared.

On preaching respect in the rivalry when Ohio State brings an added benefit:

We will come prepared. Nobody wants to lose this game. I think we will have all the motivation we need. Everyone brings their best game, so I’m not worried at all.

On Jim Harbaugh’s comments on the gratitude of being in this game:

We are all very happy to be here. We wanted it, we planned it, and we got here. We feel good. But obviously we know this game – if we don’t win this game, the season doesn’t really mean much. So if we don’t win this game, we probably won’t be too happy.

How Much Blake Corum’s Absence Affected Michigan Against Illinois:

This obviously has an impact. He is probably one of the best, if not the best, player in the country. Losing Blake is huge for us, but I think we had a lot of guys that we gathered around us. And in the end we found a way to win, which is great for us.

On his confidence in Michigan’s offense with Blake Corum’s status in question for Ohio State:

We’re planning that. He’s a great player but I think everyone else will just step up with him and I think we’re up to the challenge and we’ll do it.

On JJ McCarthy’s conduct as he led the offense into Ohio Stadium:

He’s an extremely quiet player. It doesn’t get too high, not too low. I always try to talk to him during the game but I don’t think he really needs someone to talk to him. I think that’s just about him. Some people have that and he has it.

If anyone on the team understood Harbaugh’s Bjorn Borg ‘Ice Man’ reference:

I still don’t know. [laughs] I’m not sure.

About Harbaugh calling his team “Lucky Warriors”:

We’ll be happy on Saturday but it’s just business all about winning this game. Like I said, if we don’t win this game, what does the season really mean?

To his consolation on offense when Michigan misses more than usual:

We have complete confidence in this room — the quarterback room and the wide receiver room. I know if we have to, we’ll be able to protect. He’ll be able to throw that around. We have complete faith in JJ and the receivers and the tight ends.

On the run-pass tally if Blake Corum had been handicapped or out:

I don’t think we’re going to change identities in this game. Obviously Blake is a big part of our offense, a big part of our team, but I think our identity stays the same.

Photo by Bryan Fuller, MGoBlog.com.