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Michigan takes advantage of depth, early schedule to rest injuries

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Speight, Michigan make easy work of Hawaii (0:47)

Wilton Speight throws three touchdown passes in the first half as Michigan goes on to top Hawaii 63-3 in the Wolverines' home opener. (0:47)

Michigan's considerable depth on the defensive line will get a bit of a test this weekend without the help of mainstays Taco Charlton at defensive end and Bryan Mone on the interior.

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said he didn't expect either player to at the Big House this Saturday against Central Florida. The coach went on to say he wasn't sure when the two players would return, but it doesn't appear that either is in for a long-term recovery. The line's depth, in fact, might be what's keeping Charlton, Mone and a few other Michigan stars on the sideline in the first couple weeks of the season.

"No need to bust your knee up when we're up 40 points," fellow defensive linemen Ryan Glasgow said Monday afternoon. "Especially against a team like Hawaii when we won by 60 points you don't need to play until the final snap. ...[Players] can sit out with something because of the depth that we have. I think that's a luxury we have that many team can't really say they have."

Glasgow brought up All-America cornerback Jourdan Lewis as an example. Lewis missed the season opener against Hawaii while working his way back from a minor injury during training camp. Harbaugh said it was a coach's decision to keep Lewis off the field, but he said that decision had nothing to do with discipline despite speculation on the subject during the television broadcast of the Hawaii game. Harbaugh said Lewis was "getting close to being healthy enough to play in the game," so he suited up in full pads and warmed up with the team before kickoff.

Harbaugh was particularly unhappy with ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham, who mentioned “discipline” as a reason Lewis might not be playing, without going into specifics.

"Jourdan Lewis is one of the finest guys we have on the team,” Harbaugh said. "Football character and off-the-field character. Just total character. There's few, if any better, than Jourdan Lewis. Just wanted to clarify that for the record."

ESPN said Monday that it had called to talk about the comments with Michigan officials.

The team's returning running back, De'Veon Smith, also watched the last three quarters of the Hawaii game on the sideline rather than risk aggravating bumps and bruises. Smith left the game in the first quarter and was later seen wearing a wrap around his ribs and midsection. Harbaugh said he expected both Lewis and Smith to play this Saturday.

"We know what De’Veon can do and we’ll expect him back in the lineup this week," Harbaugh said.

The same goes for offensive guard Ben Braden and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. Both players sat out in the 63-3 win over the Warriors but are practicing this week and will be available to play if they make it through the week in good shape. Hurst will potentially be a boost in the middle of the defensive line where Mone formerly helped pad an experienced and talented group.

Mone had an MRI after Saturday's game according to Harbaugh, but his leg was healthy enough that the 310-pound junior returned to the field for one series after the injury before he and the coaching staff decided to shut it down for the afternoon.

Michigan's next two opponents, UCF and Colorado, each won by big margins in their season openers but neither is expected to present a major challenge to the seventh-ranked Wolverines. UCF opened the week as a five-touchdown underdog for their trip to Ann Arbor. Michigan is listed as having a 90.6 percent chance of beating Colorado the following weekend.

In theory, that should give Michigan more leeway to nurse some of its lesser injuries before beginning the Big Ten conference schedule in late September.

A few Wolverines may be in for a longer break before making their 2016 debuts on the field. Linebacker Noah Furbush, backup to Jabrill Peppers at the strongside outside position, had a leg-length brace on his right leg during Saturday's game. Harbaugh said he thought Furbush might be recovering for a while. Freshman running back Kareem Walker, the country's top running back prospect in the 2016 recruiting rankings, is focusing on schoolwork at the moment -- as he works "through some things academically," according to Harbaugh.