Michigan running back Chris Evans on the intensity of fumble drill. Angelique S. Chengelis
Ann Arbor — There were five turnovers in Michigan’s loss to Michigan State last Saturday, and that included two fumbles.
The Wolverines have now lost six fumbles this season.
Running back Chris Evans said the fumble drill, which is a typical part of practices, was of a longer duration on Tuesday and more intense.
“It was like the circle where we were doing the drill, if you stepped in it, you could feel — even if you didn’t have a ball, you felt like you needed to do this,” Evans said, holding an imaginary football close to his body. “Even the trainers were holding the Gatorade tighter.”
Evans drew laughs from the media, but the practice was no joke.
The drill is for running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, and receivers, according to Evans, and features three different stations — fumbles, picking up fumbles and holding the ball as someone is punching at it.
This time, though, the punishments on the line were tough.
“If anybody fumbled in the group, we’ve got to run a lap,” Evans said. “And we’ve got this new rule, if you have it loose during a practice, during a period, you can’t practice the whole rest of the period. Periods are like 10 minutes, so you’re going to miss out on a lot of reps and good plays.”
There was more “heat in the air” Evans said, as the coaches made the drill more intense and urgent.
“Coaches were yelling more and trying to strip the ball more,” he said, adding that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was yelling along with the other coaches.
No one made a mistake.
“Everybody made it through and they were telling the scout team to punch it out,” Evans said.