The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 83

like this: Tell Nick Saban I feel sorry for him. We're ready to roll. That didn't happen, of course, and T he stunner would have in- volved Brady Hoke striding confidently into the interview room and saying something BY JOHN BORTON not just because Michigan's head foot- ball coach chose to play coy. He un- derstands better than anyone that his team needs major leaps forward before stepping onto the Cowboys Stadium surface to take on defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 1. gan's players to take into their own summer workouts. Similarly, the tip of the spear on the offensive line has changed. Fifth-year senior Ricky Barnum settled nicely into the center spot this spring, put- ting himself in position to succeed 2011 Rimington Award winner David Molk. Barnum has consistently drawn Brady Hoke Stresses Improvement As Michigan Exits Spring MILES TO GO their own field on April 14, following their annual spring game, they weren't awash in happy talk. Hoke witnessed some aspects of the day he didn't like, and mentioned them early and promi- nently. "We were too soft in the middle, way So when the Wolverines jogged off too soft in the middle of the defense," Hoke said. "Some of those [successful] read plays, they were too lateral defen- sively in my opinion, instead of knock- 'em-back football. We didn't do that." Hoke and Michigan's defensive Robinson's only series of the day — provided fuel for critique. Redshirt freshman Jack Miller stepped in at center later, and two more snaps hit the turf. Hoke touched on it, knowing there's a long summer ahead with plenty of time for his prin- cipals in the crucial exchange to get together. "The frustrating thing was, we put assistants reconstructed the Michi- gan line in the months between U- M's Sugar Bowl victory and the start of spring practice. Instead of Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen and Will Heininger lining up to swap helmet paint with blockers, it's now senior end Craig Roh, senior nose tackle Will Campbell and junior defensive tackle Jibreel Black — among others — mix- ing it up in the trenches. Michigan's defense acquitted itself reasonably well in the 60-play main scrimmage, allowing just two touch- downs and a field goal, picking off a pass, and later looking staunch at times in goal-line drills. Hoke knows it's not good enough, and will use ev- ery misstep as motivation for Michi- Hoke had some praise for his team following the spring game, but he also was quick to point out areas that needed work, including the middle of the defense. three snaps on the ground," Hoke said. "I don't care who it is at quarterback … nor do I care who it is at center. That's fundamental football." And so it went in the postgame praise for his efforts at the spot, for improving regarding working in tan- dem with the guards, making calls, etc. But a missed exchange with senior quarterback Denard Robinson on the first drive of the scrimmage — and palaver. The head coach likes plenty about the team he'll put on the field in the fall. Spring football, though, is all about getting better, and shaping up the aspects that aren't so likeable. It's also about discovering more players who can contribute, and the Wolverines put a heavy emphasis on that search. Robinson played a mere six snaps out of the 60, connecting on his first two passes before the drive stalled on the dropped snap and a batted-down throw on third-and-long. With that, Robinson's day on the field ended. "It was kind of frustrating, but I love talking to the guys, making sure they're doing well," Robinson said. "It's all good. We had fun today." Redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN had plenty of fun on the following series, directing the Wolverines 68 yards for a touchdown. He went 4 of 4 MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 21

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - May 2012