The Wolverine

October 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  MICHIGAN FOOTBALL game," Hoke said. "He gave up one sack, but that was really the only thing that really stuck out. He got pushed back once or twice, but for his first start we thought he did pretty well." Cole wasn't the only freshman to get the nod in the opener. True frosh Jabrill Peppers also made his starting debut, opening at the nickel in Mich- igan's secondary, as well as getting the assignment as Michigan's punt returner. U-M hadn't played a pair of true freshmen in an opening game for a number of years. In the 2009 season, rookies Tate Forcier, at quarterback, and Craig Roh, at defensive end, took the field in the opener for Rich Rodri- guez's crew of Wolverines. WILLIE HENRY STEPPING FORWARD ON DEFENSIVE LINE Head coach Brady Hoke and defen- sive coordinator Greg Mattison hailed 6-2, 293-pound redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Willie Henry both late last year and into this one. The stout stopper is maturing in the mid- dle of the Michigan defense. Henry, who followed senior de- fensive end Frank Clark to Michigan from Cleveland's Glenville High, noted it wasn't always smooth sailing in his adjustment to Michigan foot- ball. He's growing increasingly com- fortable, though, in an anchor role for the Wolverines up front. "It's hard to go hard and do ev- erything right if you don't know the plays," Henry admitted. "It's know- ing your plays, getting in better shape, trusting yourself and believ- ing that you can be the best player on the field." He believes in himself more than ever now, and is far from alone in that respect. Clark likes what he's seen from his fellow Glenville alum. "Willie is just being the player we need him to be," the senior observed. "The defensive line, especially the in- terior, you need the tough, big guys in there to clog up that run. Him along with the rest of the guys inside are a big cause of why we've been hav- ing success against the run … Wil- lie's come a long way and is poised to have a good career here at Michigan." Henry isn't racking up huge sta- tistics (seven tackles through three games), in keeping with his position. As Clark mentioned, it's not the job of the men in the middle to ring up big numbers. They're doing the dirty job of tak- ing on double-teams, jamming up the middle and creating potential plays for others. Hoke noted Henry might be the strongest player on the 2014 roster. Such a reference makes him smile, but he's not one to try and draw ex- tra attention to himself. Henry did acknowledge getting to 28 repetitions of 225 pounds at a time, up from 18 when he first arrived, thanks in large part to Michigan strength and condi- tioning coach Aaron Wellman. "Coach Wellman works and pushes everybody to their limit," Henry said. "I just happen to be one of the stron- gest guys, but people like Kyle Kalis

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