Limited receivers, position change in Michigan's first Fiesta Bowl practice

Limited receivers, position change in Michigan’s first Fiesta Bowl practice

TEMPE, Ariz. — Michigan football could be without a trio of receivers for the Fiesta Bowl later this week.

AJ Henning, Andrel Anthony and Amorion Walker were not full participants on Tuesday, the Wolverines’ first live practice in Arizona ahead of Saturday’s college football playoff semifinal against Texas Christian (4 p.m., ESPN).

All three players were at Diablo Stadium in Tempe for practice, but weren’t in the pads or going through pre-practice warm-ups during the game open to the media.

Henning, who also serves as Michigan’s punt returner, has been used sparingly on the sidelines this season, catching just seven passes for 63 yards. The same goes for Anthony, a sophomore, who had seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Walker burned his redshirt in six games, catching a pass for four yards.

While not huge losses, playing without them would hurt Michigan’s depth at receiver. The Wolverines relied on wide Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson for much of the season, and got serious contributions from tight ends Luke Schoonmaker and Colston Loveland.

Michigan (13-0) will practice again Wednesday and Thursday, with Thursday’s session once again open to the media. We will then update their status.

Following: Michigan, ready to play ‘best of the best’, arrives at Fiesta Bowl

Michigan defensive back RJ Moten celebrates after firing Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford during the second half Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s No. 5 beat Penn State’s No. 10 41-17. (Jake May |

In the meantime, we have some injury updates, notes on a potential position change and more:

• Running back Donovan Edwards continues to wear a cast on his right hand, albeit smaller, and carries the ball with his left. While that could certainly be a deterrent, Edwards has shown he can still get the job done.

• Defensively, RJ Moten seems to have changed position since the Big Ten championship. The redshirt junior has appeared in all 13 games this season at safety (10 starts) but was practicing with linebackers, signaling a potential trade for the bowl game.

Michigan is thin at inside linebacker, and the 6-foot, 223-pound Moten could give the team some depth at the position. Junior Colson and Michael Barrett are listed as starters, but they don’t have much experience behind them. Junior Kalel Mullings is now training to run full time while junior Nikhai Hill-Green, an expected starter for the year, remains out with injury.

• Edge rusher Mike Morris was back in uniform and didn’t seem restricted in the media game. The team’s sack leader this season missed the game against Illinois with a lower-body injury, tried to play against Ohio State and missed the U.S. title game. Big Ten.

• Speaking of Hill-Green, he was out of uniform on Tuesday to train and do minimal physical activity. He continues to come back after an injury sidelined him for the entire regular season.

• Interesting fact about Michigan’s practice site, Diablo Stadium in Tempe: it is the spring training stadium of the Los Angeles Angels and the site of baseball games for the Arizona League.

Why do the Wolverines practice at a baseball facility? Due to its natural grass surface, Michigan players get a real feel for the surface before Saturday’s game on the grass pitch inside State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

Learn more about Michigan football:

Eight signers sign up early at Michigan, start training ahead of Fiesta Bowl

Michigan’s award-winning OL fueled by last year’s Georgia disappointment

TCU aims to ‘shock the world’ in playoff game with mighty Michigan

How QB JJ McCarthy captured the hearts and minds of UM football

TCU wants to prove it can be physical, not just fast, against Michigan at Fiesta Bowl

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