The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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28 THE WOLVERINE ❱ SEPTEMBER 2023 BY CHRIS BALAS W hen Michigan's 2023 foot- ball team took fall camp f ro m t h e p ra c t i ce fa c i l - ity to Michigan Stadium for its first scrimmage of the year Aug. 12, some expected to see wide eyes and a little bit of rust … including Jim Harbaugh. After all, the U-M ninth-year coach said he hadn't been on a team in his entire playing or coaching career that wasn't that way, at least a bit. What he witnessed, though, was a team that looked ready for its first game. There's depth at every posi- tion on both sides of the ball, plus star power. Essentially, this team has it all, and it played out that way. One of the surprises, though — the defense looked a bit ahead of the of- fense, at least at times. It was that way in the first scrimmage Aug. 12, accord- ing to our spotters. Here's a look at all three levels of the defense heading into the Sept. 2 opener with East Carolina. Defensive Line Harbaugh said Aug. 15 he noticed the defensive line enjoying success against an outstanding offensive line in many drills a day earlier, and that had been a bit of a theme halfway through camp. The O-line had been playing well, too. "I would even say as good as the of- fensive line has been, the defensive line probably got the better of them," Harbaugh said. "That's [sophomores] Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant, [se- nior] Kris Jenkins … [grad] Cam Goode has really asserted himself. "We're [also] shooting strong at the edge position. [Senior] Jaylen Harrell has been good. [Senior] Braiden Mc- Gregor, [sophomore] Derrick Moore, and [junior] Josaiah Stewart, as well. [Junior] TJ Guy is a guy who has as- serted himself at that position." But Jenkins is the player expected to lead them, and he's improved dramati- cally as a pass rusher. Senior offensive AHEAD OF SCHEDULE Michigan's Defense Could Be Its Best Of The Last Three Years Second-team All-Big Ten linebacker Junior Colson spent extra time on his conditioning this summer to add strength and power, and has worked on his striking ability. PHOTO COURTESYY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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