The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 63 be times in a game where your favorite pass rush move isn't working and that doesn't mean you give up. "They're going to give up something and you have to be smart enough to know what they're willing to give up because that's how you attack them, but you won't even have that chance if you've given up before the play starts." "You have to be willing to take a risk every now and then," Rumishek said, finishing off the wisdom conveyed. "You have a responsi- bility within the framework of the defense, but you have to know when you have help and then you have to go for it and be willing to gamble a little because the payoff will be you on top of that quarterback, and him a little more anxious on the next play." ❑ Mark Messner, 1985-88 — 36 sacks: The only four- time All-Big Ten defensive player in Michigan program history, Messner recorded 11 sacks as a redshirt fresh- man in 1985, had seven in his sophomore year, then 10, and finished his career with an eight-sack campaign. "We knew as a freshman that Mark was going to be a great player," said Lloyd Carr, who was a defensive assis- tant from 1980-94 before his 13-year run as head coach from 1995-2007. "He was not the biggest lineman, and he played inside too. He was a very versatile athlete, and he had tremendous instincts. He was smart. "In terms of his work ethic, he excelled in everything he did at Michigan — he was an Academic All-Amer- ican and that says everything you need to say about him. "He was a well-respected guy and very, very tough." Brandon Graham, 2006-09 — 29.5 sacks: Graham is the only player in school history to record 8.5 sacks or more in three seasons, and one of only two Wolverines (Messner the other) with a pair of double-digit sack campaigns after notching 10 as a junior and 10.5 as a senior. The 6-2, 263-pound Detroit native also had 26 tackles for loss in 2009 in being named the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. "He was a bigger guy than LaMarr Woodley and he was able to play inside from time to time, and then outside too," Carr said. "You talk about great quickness and power — he was overpowering. "Brandon was not a finished product when he came to Michigan, but he worked hard and by the time he got into that sophomore year, there was no doubt he was going to be one of the great defensive ends we've ever had at Michigan, and as I watched him the next two years after I retired, he was dominant." James Hall, 1996-99 — 25 sacks: A starter op- posite Glen Steele in 1997, Hall had four sacks in his sophomore year and then exploded as a junior, hitting the QB 11 times for a mark that still ranks third in the U-M annals. He topped off his career with seven more sacks, and at the time of his graduation, ranked second among Wolverines with 25. "He wasn't a guy that when you looked at him, you would think in your mind: 'There's a defensive lineman,'" Carr said. "He went undrafted, and the only reason I can think why is because he didn't stand out physically [at 6-4, 235] — but he was smart, athletic and unbelievably consistent. "You never ever had to worry about whether James Hall was going to come to play. Never had to worry about his attitude. He was an outstanding leader, and he's one of the great success stories because he went on to have a long NFL career." LaMarr Woodley, 2003-06 — 24 sacks: Bouncing between outside linebacker and defensive end his first three years, Woodley still put up good numbers, including 12 sacks and 32 tackles for loss. He exploded as a senior, tying a U-M record with 12 QB sacks in being named the nation's top defen- sive end (Ted Hendricks Award winner). "In a 2006 game against Notre Dame, he picked up a fumble and ran 50-60 yards for a touchdown. That was one of his great plays, and he had a lot in his career, but that stood out in terms of the special athletic ability he had," Carr said. "For a big guy, he was as quick as a cat. "He's a relentless pass rusher. He is so strong and so powerful, and a wonderful athlete. I don't think anybody involved in his recruiting doubted that he was going to be a great football player, and he was." Glen Steele, 1994-97 — 24 sacks: Steele didn't lead the Wolverines in sacks until his senior season, tallying seven, en route to first-team All-America and All-Big Ten honors, but he consistently produced throughout his career, with six sacks in 1996 and eight in 1995. "Glen came in as a tight end, and he had great hands," Carr said. "He was so strong and explosive out of his stance. He could run and all those things, but the de- cision [by head coach Gary Moeller] to move him to defensive line was a brilliant choice because what he brought was a competitiveness and he was a man. "In terms of a guy that could play in the 1970s and 1980s, you could have dropped him into any era, and those traits that great football players have had throughout the decades, Glen Steele had. "He was fun to coach because he didn't let the game get too complicated. He just had this great confidence in himself that he was going to beat the man across from him." Curtis Greer, 1976-79 — 48 tackles for loss: Michigan didn't keep track of sacks prior to 1980, but Greer ranks fourth all time at U-M in tackles for loss, and former players and coaches insist he would rank among the Wol- verines' all-time sack leaders. "In preparation for spring practice my first year in 1980, we watched their games from the previous season, and I can remember Bill McCartney was the defensive coordinator and they kept stats, and they said that Curtis had broken their record for sacks by a Michigan football player," Carr said. "He was a great football player. He is what you would want from that position. "He was extremely athletic and had great movement and burst off the ball." — Michael Spath Michigan's Top Pass Rushers Top Sack Producer Year-By-Year 1983-2013 Year Player, Pos. Sacks 1983* Rodney Lyles, OLB 5 1984 Kevin Brooks, DT 6 1985 Mark Messner, DT 11 1986 Mark Messner, DT 7 1987 Mark Messner, DT 10 1988 Mark Messner, DT 8 1989 Michael Evans, DT 7 1990 Michael Evans, DT 7 Martin Davis, OLB 7 1991 Brian Townsend, OLB 6 1992 Chris Hutchinson, DT 11 1993 Buster Stanley, DT 8 1994 Jason Horn, DT 6 1995 Jason Horn, DT 11 1996 David Bowens, DE 12 1997 Glen Steele, DE 7 Josh Williams, DT 7 1998 James Hall, RLB 11 1999 James Hall, RLB 7 2000 Victor Hobson, OLB 3 2001 Dan Rumishek, DE 7 2002 Victor Hobson, LB 6 Shantee Orr, DE 6 2003 Pierre Woods, DE 7 2004 Pat Massey, DT 5 2005 LaMarr Woodley, RLB 7 2006 LaMarr Woodley, DE 12 2007 Brandon Graham, DE 8.5 2008 Brandon Graham, DE 10 2009 Brandon Graham, DE 10.5 2010 Ryan Van Bergen, DE 4 2011 Ryan Van Bergen, DE 5.5 2012 Jake Ryan, OLB 4.5 2013 Cam Gordon, OLB 5 * Michigan began keeping track of year- by-year sack leaders in 1983; single- season record in bold italics Glen Steele produced a team-high seven sacks for Michigan's 1997 national championship team and finished his career with 24 QB takedowns. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 60-63.Art Of The Pass Rush.indd 63 6/19/14 12:40 PM

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