NOT BLADE PHOTO / UM Photo Services, Martin Vloet Enlarge
ANN ARBOR Wouldn t you know it? Michigan freshman running back Sam McGuffie found his way onto YouTube once more.
His left foot sliding forward on the wet Notre Dame turf last week, McGuffie looked like a human wishbone while an Irish defender held onto his right leg. (He s OK, by the way.)
It s all right there on YouTube.com, the popular video sharing Internet site, just like those famous clips of McGuffie from high school where he literally hurdles a standing defender en route to a touchdown.
In fact, there is more than one highlight tape of McGuffie set to music, no less on YouTube from his days at Cy-Fair High in Cypress, Texas, featuring shots of him spinning, juking, backflipping, sprinting, and, yes, hurdling all over the place.
I ve YouTubed him, as I m sure everybody else in the country has, said Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, whose staff must devise a way to stop McGuffie when the No. 8 Badgers and Wolverines return from bye weeks and meet Sept. 27.
He s obviously got a lot of talent, raw talent that converts to being a very good football player.
Be it on the Web or on plain old game film, McGuffie is a sight to see with a football in his hands.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound budding star is coming off the best game of his young career, in which he rushed for 131 yards and caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Wolverines 35-17 loss to Notre Dame. He had 100 yards of total offense in the first quarter!
If you re watching the film and don t notice him, then you re not really watching the film, said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who studied McGuffie watching game film in preparation for the Spartans date with Notre Dame tomorrow.
Through three games, McGuffie is easily leading the Wolverines in all-purpose yards with 314 almost 200 more than the next closest player. He s started all three of UM s contests at running back and was averaging 71 rushing yards a game.
Though the starter, McGuffie is just one in a rotation of running backs that, ahem, runs five deep.
Then again, there hasn t been as much rotating because McGuffie has clearly been the most reliable of the Wolverines five running backs.
Juniors Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, and Kevin Grady have battled nagging injuries and/or fumbles, and in Grady s case, a one-game suspension for drunken driving.
Freshman Michael Shaw has looked explosive at times he has six carries for 51 yards but he too has been slowed by health problems and a costly fumble.
UM coach Rich Rodriguez praises McGuffie for what he has shown, but also regularly points out that his top runner is still making mistakes. He cites things such as making the right cuts and trusting his speed in the open field.
He s making his reads even better each week, getting comfortable out there, which is a good thing. He s a really good competitor, Rodriguez said. Still it would be good to get Mike Shaw healthy and get him, and then maybe Carlos, Brandon Minor, Grady, so we have a little bit of depth there. It gives us a little more luxury.
A man of few words, McGuffie hasn t spoken to the media since UM s 16-6 win over Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 6, and didn t have much to say then. He was stopping to do an interview with reporters after last week s game but was escorted to the team bus by a media relations staffer.
So much of what the outside world knows about McGuffie it learned through what it s seen of him, not heard.
He seems like he s a great effort guy, and one that s going to be very hard to defend, Bielema said.
Contact Joe Vardon at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-410-5055.