The Wolverine

May 2014 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 37 of 153

BY MICHAEL SPATH S ophomore safety Dymonte Thomas would see it appear on film once, then twice, three times, maybe even four. A mistake. The way he read the of- fense, perhaps the angle he took, or the man he narrowed his gaze on. A myriad of errors that would often repeat themselves during an entire practice before the defensive backs would gather for film study and the misstep would be pointed out. During spring practices, which concluded April 5, if Thomas had a slip, position coach Curt Mallory would often correct it immediately. The 6-2, 191-pound Thomas was grateful for so much individual at- tention, noting that when Mallory was responsible for both the corner- backs and safeties from 2011-13, he was often spread too thin. "It makes a big difference [hav- ing him coach safeties exclusively]," Thomas said. "When you made a mistake last year, he was looking at the corners and the safeties, and he could be talking to a corner and a safety messed up. I have a question on a play and he didn't see it, and the whole practice would go on and I'm making the same mistake. "Now when he's just at safety, if I make the mistake, I can just ask him and he'll tell me to fix it, and next play if it comes up again, I'll fix it. "In the meetings, Coach Mallory would try to focus on the safeties, and try to focus on the corners, and when I was at nickel, I was really not even in the picture on film a lot. He was really focused on three different people, and was trying to give us all attention." In 2013, the Wolverines ranked 23rd nationally in interceptions, pick- ing off opponents 17 times. How- ever, U-M ranked No. 66 nationally in passing defense (surrendering 231.3 yards per game), No. 51 na- tionally in opponent passer rating (123.9) and No. 47 nationally in yards per attempt allowed (6.9). The Maize and Blue allowed 42 passing plays of at least 20 yards (No. 69 nationally). DIVIDE & CONQUER The Decision To Split The Secondary Between Two Coaches Is Paying Off

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