Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 121 of 179

120 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW improved at a tremendous rate. He was abso- lutely amazing." He'll be even better if he improves his hang time, which Kornblue believes he will. Robbins, meanwhile, continues to work af- ter undergoing back surgery a year ago. He might have the bigger leg, but needs to be more consistent. "Brad has ability to hit monster punts, but you've got to do it consistently," Kornblue said. "Punting is about technique and consistency, and then Brad had the injury, which really set him back. He's been making progress, and I anticipate a competition this fall. Every time I've talked to him, he's had a good attitude about it." Many Happy Returns Hart did a great job helping the Wolver- ines win the "hidden yardage" battle in many games last year, but there is plenty of room for improvement in the return games. The Wolverines finished only 74th nationally with 19.74 yards per kickoff return and were 44th in punt return average (10.53 yards a runback). Regardless, the punt return game seems to be in good shape with junior wideout Dono- van Peoples-Jones returning after his second straight season on an All-Big Ten team for his specialist exploits (third team, both coaches and media). He averaged 10.0 yards per at- tempt on 25 returns last season, including a return for a score for the second straight sea- son, when he took one back against Nebraska. Peoples-Jones battled injuries all spring and was limited, but sophomore Ronnie Bell showed he was more than capable in his ab- sence. There are other options, as well. "Ronnie can be a dynamic weapon back there, and I think [freshman] Mikey [Sainris- til] can be a dynamic weapon back there," Par- tridge said. "[Redshirt freshman linebacker] Mike Barrett's been really good back there too. He's just smooth catching the ball. "Hopefully, Donovan comes back healthy and ready to go, but you may have to put two of them back there." Sophomore defensive back Ambry Thomas returned 19 kickoffs last year, averaging 21.7 yards a runback. He'll try to build on those numbers, but Barrett and Bell will get their shots there too. "We're not going to take it off Ambry's plate," Partridge said. "We've just got to im- prove some things with him in terms of the ability to catch the ball moving forward, and he knows that. "He's just such an explosive athlete we've got to get the ball in his hands whenever we can. He and Ronnie are neck and neck for that kick returner spot, and Mike Barrett's back there too." There are plenty of reasons that special teams can be truly special in 2019. ❑ SPECIAL TEAMS SPECIAL TEAMS SPECIAL TEAMS In his place-kicking debut last year, then-freshman Jake Moody set U-M records for single- game kick scoring (19 points) and made field goals (six). PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL ROSTER No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year Elig. Hometown (High School) 44 Matt Baldeck* LS 6-0 217 Jr. So. Lewiston, Idaho (Lewiston) 18 George Caratan* P 6-2 210 So. Fr. Pacific Palisades, Calif. (St. Thomas More [Conn.]) 33 Camaron Cheeseman LS 6-4 235 Sr. Jr. New Albany, Ohio (Gahanna Lincoln) — Trey Harper* LS 6-5 245 5th Sr. Dayton, Ohio (Chaminade-Julienne) 17 Will Hart P 6-3 192 Sr. Jr. Hunting Valley, Ohio (University School) 2 Jake Moody K 6-0 177 So. So. Northville, Mich. (Northville) 3 Quinn Nordin K 6-1 206 Sr. Jr. Rockford, Mich. (Rockford) 3 Brad Robbins P 6-2 206 Jr. So. Westerville, Ohio (Westerville South) 39 Alan Selzer* K 6-3 176 Sr. Jr. Dallas, Texas (Lake Highlands) * Walk-on "It's great. I couldn't ask for better as a coach. They're competing, they're getting after each other and they're great teammates for each other. … They're there for each other, they're coaching each other, and they're competing against each other. It's exactly what you want." CO-SPECIAL TEAMS COACH CHRIS PARTRIDGE ON KICKERS JAKE MOODY AND QUINN NORDIN

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