Rudock's health 'seems good,' Harbaugh says

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jake Rudock

Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock has been practicing and his health is "good," according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh, making his weekly Thursday appearance on the "Stoney and Bill Show" on 97.1, said Rudock has been practicing this week despite being injured against Minnesota last Saturday. Rudock was knocked out of the game late in the third quarter after a big hit and did not return to the game. Harbaugh said he suffered bruising to the ribs and torso.

"Seems good," Harbaugh said about Rudock's health. "He has not missed day of practice."

Tim Drevno, Michigan's offensive coordinator, said before practice Wednesday he "absolutely" expects Rudock to play against Rutgers on Saturday. Michigan is 6-2, 3-1 Big Ten and Rutgers is 3-5, 1-4.

"He's out there throwing and running around," Drevno said. "He looks good, he really does."

Backup Wilton Speight played in relief of Rudock and led the Wolverines to the game-winning score and two-point conversion. Michigan's defense stopped Minnesota at the half-yard line on the final play of the game.

UM doesn't rule out position change for QB Zach Gentry

Harbaugh told the show that the "unsung hero" of the game was strength coach Kevin Tolbert.

"Because our team has gotten stronger and you really saw it on that goal-line play at the end where our front seven, well, call it the front 11, did a great job stopping that goal-line play," he said.

Harbaugh touched on several other subjects during the show:

On three-way player Jabrill Peppers. (Harbaugh was asked if maybe Peppers can jump in the booth and call a few plays on radio.): "Yeah, well, I don't think he'll line up at center or guard or tackle, but he's doing a lot. Quarterback, wildcat quarterback, lines up at running back, slot receiver, he lines up at wide receiver and, as you mentioned, nickel, corner and safety. It's pretty amazing when you start thinking about the memorization of all those assignments. Very bright young man and (he has) the athletic instincts it takes to be able to execute all those different assignments, and he does it naturally. He gets it the first time. Just teaching somebody something and watch him go out on the practice and execute it the very first time is very rare."

On comparing Peppers to 1997 Heisman winner Charles Woodson: "You hate to compare anybody to anybody else, but it's rare what he's doing. He's in all three phases. He's a three-way player, sometimes you hear about two-way players. We didn't even mention he's also the kickoff returner and punt returner. He's playing three ways. He's covering kicks on the kickoffs. He played 95 plays in the (Minnesota) game. That was the most by anybody."

On Michigan's secondary (U-M has allowed 317 and 328 yards passing in the last two games): "As great as the goal-line stand was -- as you can imagine, it was the high point -- there were some other points in that football game. The (team) meeting wasn't as pleasant when we watched the tape. It's the understanding of everybody on the team contributing to making improvements. Offensive players, as well. The practice, the looks need to be better. We've kind of slid in that area just the look we've shown the defense the last couple weeks on our scout team, so we've ramped that up. We're looking for improvements."

On the coaching clinic Michigan is hosting March 10-12 with Harbaugh's brother John and his Baltimore Ravens staff: "It's very unique. I don't know if anybody has had a coaching clinic where there's been two staffs, one college and one pro staff. We're going to strive to make it the best clinic that's ever been run."

On the College Football Playoff rankings (Michigan is 17th, the highest ranked two-loss team): "Something I'm not really concentrating on to give you an in-depth answer on the polls. We're focused on our preparation for our game Saturday."