The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 35 of 83

MICHIGAN FOOTBALL would respond, but other that that, there was no hesitation," Black said. "It's not a huge transition. The way you use your feet and hands are dif- ferent, but everything else is pretty much the same. "I think I'm making some big strides for the team. Coming from the outside to the inside, I'm able to use my quickness. I'm faster off the ball." A three-year starter with 38 con- secutive starts, Roh hasn't put up the numbers — 6.5 sacks among 21 tack- les for loss — expected of someone with his experience, but he has largely been playing out of position for three years, too small (6-5, 238 pounds) to be a defensive end as a freshman, too big (251 pounds) and lumbering to be an effective outside linebacker in his sophomore season, and not quite quick enough or explosive enough to be an impact rush end as a junior. But at strongside end, the 270- pounder, who is looking to gain 10 more pounds, will be an asset athleti- cally while his smarts, discipline and toughness will also help at a post critical to defending the run. "Craig Roh will be a better football player moving into a five-technique than he would be on the edge where there are a lot of open spaces," Mat- tison said. Roh's selflessness has also created Senior defensive tackle Will Campbell (left) and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Richard coach acknowledged the Wolverines are better off in the trenches than they were 12 months ago. "We really are more physical than a greater opportunity for sopho- mores Frank Clark (6-2, 252 pounds) and Brennen Beyer (6-3, 255) to com- pete at the weakside defensive end position. They are expected to create consistent pressure on the quarter- back while racking up double-digit tackles for loss. "Both of those guys are athletes and quick learners," Roh said. "Brennan Beyer is a little bit more stocky. He is a run stuffer and is a real strong guy. Frank Clark is just a freak athlete. "Both are doing a great job learn- ing, but they need to keep growing more." head coach Brady Hoke expressed some dissatisfaction with the level of physicality on Michigan's offensive and defensive lines. That wasn't any shocker, given Hoke's hard-driving pursuit of constant improvement. When pressed on the matter in the days that followed, though, the head 36 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2012 HOKE NEVER SATISFIED, BUT SEES PROGRESS ON LINES Near the end of spring practice, we were last year at this time," Hoke said. "When I say that, we're more physical from the standpoint that we play a little faster. The effort down the field, the second and third block, the point of attack … I think we're just playing with better fundamen- tals than last year at this time." The Wolverines are also playing Ash (shown during a blocking drill before the spring game) both made strides this spring. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL better falls or springs. He's grown up a little bit and really playing with more confidence. Joey Burzynski, a young man out of Carlsbad, he's done a good job, made an impact as a guard in there and a second or third center." Meanwhile, redshirt juniors Taylor Lewan and Mike Schofield — at left and right tackle, respectively — have represented the solid rocks of the of- fensive line this spring. "I think Taylor has progressed, and with some new people in key spots. One of those involves fifth-year se- nior Ricky Barnum, who has taken over at center for departed Riming- ton Award-winner David Molk. Hoke likes what he's seen out of Barnum this spring, as well as some other U-M offensive linemen that haven't seen the field extensively in the past. The head coach specifically noted fifth-year senior guard El- liott Mealer and redshirt sophomore walk-on Joey Burzynski. "He's really going to be a good center for us," Hoke said of Barnum. "His athleticism … there are still is- sues of getting the ball where we need it out of the gun, that part of it, making sure we're not making the quarterback work too hard for it. "Elliott Mealer has had one of his I think there's more progression for him still because of his abilities, but Schofield's done a nice job," Hoke noted. An even bigger rebuilding project took place on the defensive side of the football, with Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen and Will Heininger out of eligibility. The Wolverines look to plug in senior William Campbell and junior Jibreel Black at nose tackle and the three-technique, respectively, while moving senior Craig Roh to strongside defensive end and let- ting sophomores Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark compete hard at the rush end spot. A key has to be Campbell, with the Wolverines looking for a big body to anchor their defensive efforts on the interior of the line. "Will Campbell has made some

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