The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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his overall spring efforts. Borges said Gardner enjoyed an "outstanding" spring, while Bellomy has been "steady and solid," hitting open receivers and limiting mistakes. Bellomy connected on 6 of 9 passes U-M's spring game isn't for entertainment. It's about getting more accomplished. That said, the Wolverines still featured a few highlight moments to look back Checking The Spring Game Highlights Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges didn't pull any punches, stressing that for 40 yards in the scrimmage. He ben- efited from his first action in front of that large a gathering, Hoke assessed. "Those were really his first real snaps in Michigan Stadium," Hoke said. "I don't know how many people were here, but there was TV and all that stuff. Just to see how he handled himself, the huddle … I kind of ripped him one time because I didn't think he commanded the respect he needed. "But he's a young kid. He's smart, on when spring drills wrapped up at Michigan Stadium. Here are some of them. • Best Individual Performance — This one has to go to sophomore tailback knows the offense. He only had one throw that got away from him. That was a mechanics situation … but he handled himself okay." Robinson, meanwhile, handled him- Thomas Rawls, who carried 10 times for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the scrimmage. Rawls demon- strated the hammer-like physicality that distinguishes him, allowing him to garner tough yards. It should also be noted that redshirt junior Fitzger- ald Toussaint carried just five times and picked up 39 yards, displaying strong moves after piercing the line of scrimmage. • Best Run — Give this one to Rawls self impressively all spring. In addition to stepping up into an even more vocal leadership role, he got very serious about his mechanics, cutting down on turnovers, etc., according to Borges. The offensive coordinator noted Robinson committed only a quarter of the turnovers this spring that he did last spring, and showed significant progress in not "falling off throws," or throwing off his back foot. Although those inside Michigan Stadium would have liked to have seen more of him, U-M's coaches saw enough all spring to bolster confidence. The second half of the scrimmage began with a three-and-out on a Bel- lomy-directed drive, featuring the one poor throw Hoke referenced. Gardner then drove the Wolverines from their own 32 to the 9, sandwiching a 16-yard scramble and a 23-yard toss to redshirt junior Jeremy Gallon — the longest pass completion of the afternoon — around Toussaint's 12-yard run. Hoke didn't allow quarterbacks to be hit, and it appeared Gardner ben- efited from a missed call late in the series. Junior safety Marvin Robinson looked like he touched Gardner down for a sack, but officials ruled an in- completion, keeping the Wolverines in good field goal range. Redshirt junior placekicker Brendan Gibbons — last seen beating Virginia Tech in overtime in New Orleans — missed his 26-yard field goal attempt. Bellomy then directed a four-and- out, Michigan's defense rising up to bury Rawls on a fourth-and-short con- emy Gallon served notice of his intent to remain heavily in the mix, making two grabs for a team-leading 29 yards in the scrimmage. His 23-yarder (prior to a missed field goal) proved his best. He reached back on a throw slightly be- hind him to haul in the football, hanging on while getting hit over the middle. • Best Throw — There weren't really any eye-openers, Gallon's grab the longest as well, for his 21-yard touchdown burst after bouncing off a thwarted tackler just beyond the line of scrim- mage. After that, Rawls rumbled away to the south end zone. • Best Catch — Redshirt junior Jer- Redshirt junior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon caught two passes for 29 yards in the spring game, with his 23-yard reception providing one of the day's most memorable plays. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL on a toss from junior quarterback Devin Gardner. The best might have come from redshirt freshman QB Russell Bellomy, on a rollout toss to walk-on redshirt fresh- man fullback Joe Kerridge. First, it demonstrated Bellomy's ability to throw on the run, and it also highlighted a previously unknown performer in Kerridge, whom U-M head coach Brady Hoke noted performed very well this spring. Best Defensive Play — Sophomore cornerback Blake Countess delivered it, goal attempts all of last season, but never got the call. He showed he's willing and able if it arrives this year, blasting through a 43-yard kick for the only made field goal in the spring game. — John Borton version attempt. Gardner moved the Wolverines 53 yards in eight plays to complete the scoring, tossing a 13-yard pass to Smith and scrambling out on an 11-yard keeper along the way. Rawls again did the honors, power- as a group, have come on. "There's a maturation they've had as ing into the line and reaching the ball out to score on a two-yard rush. While Hoke found, and will find, plenty to pick apart regarding the 15th of 15 Michigan practices in the spring, an assessment of the Wolverines as tougher and more physical than they were a year ago says plenty. He's also pleased with the way his quarterbacks, quarterbacks," Hoke said of the group. "When you're a quarterback at Michi- gan, that's pretty significant. You've seen some of that when you look at leadership, the fundamentals. We're still not where we need to be or where I would like us to be with tempo, hud- dle, all those things. We need to be a little better there." There and in other areas, the head coach continually prods. September may seem like a long way off, but it's coming. ❏ MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 23 slicing in front of a Michigan wideout to pick off Gardner's first throw of the afternoon. Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison insists he worries about young defenders relaxing after enjoying early success, but Countess appears ready to assuage those fears. Best Special Teams Play — Sophomore Matt Wile stayed ready on long field

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