The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 9 M ichigan football features more senior standouts than it has in a long time, so it's not surprising the winged hel- mets will be well represented in postseason all-star games. At least 12 Wolverines are presently scheduled to take the field in late January. The Reese's Senior Bowl — Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala. — annu- ally features some of the top outgoing players in the college game. At press time, five Michigan seniors were slated to perform in that contest. Wide receiver Amara Darboh, linebacker Ben Gedeon, defensive linemen Ryan Glasgow and Chris Wormley, and defensive back Jourdan Lewis are all on the roster slated for Mobile. The four defensive performers were key elements of one of the nation's best units. Michigan wound up No. 1 nationally in total defense, fractionally ahead of Alabama. The Wolverines and Crim- son Tide both allowed 261.8 yards per game rounded out, but Alabama's final 15-game average comes out to an even 261.800, while Michigan's is 261.769. The Wolverines wound up second nationally in scoring defense, allowing 14.1 points per game, behind Alabama's NCAA-leading 13.0. Michigan was first nationally in third-down conversion defense (21.0 percent), third in red-zone defense (71.4 per- cent), first in average passing yards allowed (142.5), 15th in average rushing yards allowed (119.2), second in passing ef- ficiency defense (94.19 rating) and second in average tackles for loss (9.3). Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown heaped praise on his defensive performers in the days leading up to Michi- gan's Orange Bowl showdown against Florida State. He talked about coming in from the East Coast and getting no pushback from veterans who had worked in multiple sys- tems before he arrived. On the whole, he stressed, the buy-in from the experienced Wolverines, and their talent, produced strong results over the course of the season. "There's no stinkers in there," Brown said. "There are particular plays you can pull out … but there are no stinker efforts, where you look up at the scoreboard and you've given up 45. "One, I may commit suicide, but two, we just haven't had it. All of that lends to consistency at the top of your leader- ship chain — from the coaches to the players." He pointed to a player like Gedeon, who is not high on draft charts, as someone who really developed over the course of his senior season as a vocal leader and contributor. "That guy right there," Brown noted, pointing out Gedeon. "Where would we be without that guy? I have no idea. That guy wouldn't say boo in spring practice, if you asked him to. Now, he makes all the checks, everybody's looking at him — he's got it all down. "He's one of those guys now where, if I go to the board Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Seniors Will Show Their Stuff In Annual All-Star Contests Linebacker Ben Gedeon brought just 70 career tackles into 2016, but eclipsed that total with a team-best 106 stops in his final campaign. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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