Ann Arbor — Michigan's objective was to find a featured back, but don't be too quick to crown Derrick Green as that guy.
Not yet, at least.
Through three games, Green has led Michigan in rushing — 332 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore is averaging 6.6 yards a carry and has two 100-yard rushing games.
Then there's De'Veon Smith. The sophomore has 189 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns, averaging 7.9 yards a carry.
"We'd like to have one guy be featured but having a guy like De'Veon to go to is a big plus," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "And so we'll keep rotating guys through. (Green) got the majority of the reps and you never know where that could change where De'Veon gets the majority of them."
Green was the back highly recruited out of high school who arrived at Michigan 20 pounds overweight and then suffered an ankle injury in camp last fall. He has shed the weight and now carries 220 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame.
Hoke was asked if Green's weight loss has been the trigger for his performance this season or if his field vision has improved.
"He was a freshman a year ago, a true freshman," Hoke said. "Came in not in good shape. Hurt his ankle, lost a bunch of reps. (He) started to come around at the end of last year, him and De'Veon both. I'll put them both in there.
"(Green) really did a nice job in the weight room and spring football and winter conditioning. He's gotten more reps and seeing things better. I think it's a combination (weight loss and vision), and I think it's also a little bit of a combination the guys up front (on the offensive line) are creating some space."
Don't even ask
Hoke did not wait Wednesday to take questions about injuries.
As has become the norm since after the first week of the season, Hoke has ruled out answering questions about injuries or offering status updates and timetables for potential returns.
"We're not going to talk about injuries, and I might as well bring that out now," Hoke said. "Some of that is because you can say something about something and then you're wrong. Everyone heals differently. And for the kids, (we) want to make sure we're doing a good job protecting them."
Receiver Devin Funchess, cornerback Ray Taylor and safety Jarrod Wilson missed last Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio) with undisclosed injuries. Linebacker Desmond Morgan has missed the last two games (he has been on the sideline with his right arm in a cast).
No Isaac this year
Michigan will be without tailback transfer Ty Isaac this season.
Isaac, a highly recruited back out of high school, came to Michigan from USC in part to be closer to his ailing mother in Illinois.
Michigan filed a hardship waiver with the NCAA that would have allowed Issac to play, but after that was rejected, an appeal was filed.
Hoke said the appeal also was turned down.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Isaac will sit out this season and have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
"He's handled it great," Hoke said. "He's our scout running back, one of the two guys who fill that role. He had a great day (Tuesday). From an attitude standpoint he's been awesome."
Utah defensive back Brian Blechen told the Salt Lake Tribune he's impressed with Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner's grasp of the position and handling of the offense.
Gardner has completed 68.2 percent of his attempts for 546 yards and five TDs, but has four interceptions and a fumble.
"It looks like he understands the system," Blechen said. "He doesn't try to do too much. But when he has to, he's a great athlete, he's got a strong arm. He's got good receivers around him and a big O-Line. He can get you on the ground or in the air."
Utah at Michigan
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Records: Utah 2-0, Michigan State 2-1
Line: Michigan by 4½
Series: Tied 1-1 (Utah 25-23, Aug. 30, 2008)
Did you know? Michigan has started 2-2 four times since 2000 — 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012.