Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Wolverine Renovation — Defensive Line — Part IV
Last year Michigan returned plenty of starters from an atrocious 2010 defensive unit. That was good news and bad news. But as the season progressed, the supposedly below average talent became better and hung in stubbornly to help Michigan win big games. Much of that talent returns and some interesting newcomers could add for excitement.
The primary concern here, at least on the surface, is replacing the run stuffing and play making contributions of Mike Martin and RGB. The other two major line contributors, Craig Roh and Jameel Black, have undertaken position switches. There are candidates on the defensive line to step up and plug the holes, literally and figuratively. The cast starts with Big Will Campbell, down to a tiny 315 or so pounds. Will has never put it totally together, but this spring and summer saw maximum effort and the talent to shine is within reach. Big Q Washington is in a similar situation, but similarly he is a good enough athlete to have a breakthrough year. Richard Ash is now around 300 pounds. Time will tell if that is a good weight or not. But Richard offers some relief for the NT or 3T slots. Technician Nathan Brink has put on weight and will play. Like Black, Brink is minimally big enough and mobile enough to handle the 5T spot, but neither is a monster, and getting a pass rush from this collective group remains a concern.
The newcomers that will play inside on defense in 2012 hold promise, none more than Peewee Pipkins. It is very difficult to be an above average lineman as a freshman on either side of the ball. Pipkins has big time potential that needs to be transformed, one game at a time, into big time performance. Peewee is a monster, slimmed down to a mere 330 pounds or so, and a player that has notable speed for a player of that size. He will play, how much he contributes remains to be seen. Chris Wormley has bulked up enough to be considered as a probable inside player and Matt Godin seems to be one of those RVB types that are solid if not spectacular.
The defensive end slot became a concern with the legal difficulties and suspension of Frank Clark. Craig Roh is going to play strong and that is that, but rush end is now not as stacked as once thought. Brennen Beyer is not the pass rusher deluxe that Coach Mattison so badly wants. Jake Ryan will probably play at rush in selected spots. The most promising pass rusher may well be undersized Mario Ojemudia. He may be one or two years away from causing havoc.
Next up the Linebackers, Defensive Backs and Special Teams.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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