The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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derstands the calls and how to put everybody on the same page — and that really makes a difference at that position. You're not forced to block people one-on-one constantly. That's the good thing about playing center — there's very little of that going on. "He's done a nice job. I'm really happy with Ricky." Both Barnum and redshirt fresh- man Jack Miller have shown they're capable this spring, and they did again at Saturday's spring scrim- mage (minus an errant snap or two for each). Embracing the role was the first step toward Barnum's suc- cess. "It was very exciting," Barnum recalled of being asked to make the move. "I enjoy playing center. It was very different at first, but it's some- thing I kept working on. Eventually I got better at, and I really like it. Offensive coordinator Al Borges on Ricky Barnum "Ricky has come a long way for a position he really hasn't played very much, From a profile perspective, Ricky fits that position better than he probably does any other position." coaches say I'm a natural at it, but I've just got to keep working at it, harder and harder than everybody else. You're making the calls, pick- ing up blitzes and being in charge." It's taken some time, Barnum "I'm enjoying the position. The Three Understated Positives Here's a look at three developments that may have been somewhat overlooked with the focus on finding playmakers at wide receiver and a capable center: The Fullbacks: There's a key role for capable fullbacks in offensive coordinator Al Borges' offense, and head coach Brady Hoke believes he has a few. Redshirt freshman walk-on Joe Kerridge has had a "tremendous spring, took a pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Russell Bellomy on play action and turned it into a nice gain out of the backfield in the spring game and has proven adept as a blocker. " Hoke said — he Head coach Brady Hoke said redshirt freshman walk-on fullback Joe Kerridge (shown, above) had a "tremendous spring." PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL about Stephen's growth as a fullback, and he can be a big back in the I-formation down on the goal line, added, noting the snaps "weren't good" when he first started. Now, though, he's one of the positives on a line with plenty of experience. Redshirt sophomore walk-on Joey Burzynski's emergence at left guard has created competition with fifth- year senior Elliott Mealer, but that's one of the few question marks. Red- shirt juniors Taylor Lewan and Mi- chael Schofield have solidified their holds on the left and right tackle po- sitions, respectively, while fifth-year senior Patrick Omameh is a fixture at right guard. Overall, there are more answers "We're as comfortable as you can be at this point with our personnel there. I like them all. "[Fifth-year senior] Paul Gyarmati, [junior] Stephen Hopkins — I'm so excited " Hoke added. "He's really come on. is the No. 2 quarterback, Borges noted, but the coaches are getting more and more comfortable with Bellomy. He showed moxie and poise in addition to great decision-making ability this spring. "Those were really his first real snaps in Michigan Stadium. I don't know how many people were here, but there was TV and all that stuff," Hoke said follow- Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Russell Bellomy: Junior Devin Gardner " ing the spring game. "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; he knows the offense. He only had one throw that got away from him. That was a mechanics situation. Until you really look at it and analyze it you don't know. But he handled himself okay. than questions on offense coming out of spring ball, and much more depth than there was in the spring of 2011. ❑ num is a clear No. 1, but it takes more than one to get through a season. Miller's proving to be up to the challenge. "There's been improvement in some footwork and the things you look at from a technical side of it," Hoke said. "Strength gains are going to be huge for him this off-season in the weight room. Jack's made progress." Redshirt Freshman Back-up Center Jack Miller: Fifth-year senior Ricky Bar- " — Chris Balas MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 27

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