Apr 13, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines kicker Brendan Gibbons (34) kicks a point after touchdown out of the hold of wide receiver Drew Dileo (9) as head coach Brady Hoke watches during the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Special Teams -- Start Working

Posted at 8:00am — 5/21/2013

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Special Teams — Start Working

Always there is talk about who will play as freshmen. And that is fine because what else is there to do in May?

The easiest way for redshirt and true freshmen to find the field, as freshmen, may be to make the special team assignment.

Many times defensive backs, linebackers, and quick centers have an upper edge as there is a need for a combination of size and speed on return and coverage teams.

Some players absolutely love and highly desire to hit the field early, even at the expense of throwing away a red-shirt year. Some young players are highly talented and waiting in the wings, but still most capable of handling special teams.

The kickers are experienced and Dileo is a very solid holder, saving Michigan’s bacon a few times the last couple of years. So, the real work needs to be emphasized on return and coverage teams, an area that still remains average for the Wolverines.

September 8, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke talks to kicker Matt Wile (45) and punter Will Hagerup (43) before the game against the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It is a long way to August, and no one knows the conversations coaches and players will have regarding special teams. There is a likelihood that many of the crop of 2012 will continue to play special team, or crack through to see the field.

Ross Douglas may be a good candidate this fall. He is very smart, learns quickly, and has pretty good speed. It would not be a surprise to see Ben Gedeon get some time. He simply loves to hit people and is a smart player that plays within the system instead of trying to invent a new method of coverage. Mike McCray is in the same boat. Both may then see some time at linebacker if the redshirt is burned.

It would be no surprise if Jourdan Lewis contributes to Michigan’s special teams. He simply has the skill set to get down the field on the outside on coverage teams. Khalid Hill is as big as a linebacker and he possesses decent speed. He may be the type that would love to see the field in any manner possible.

Fall will shake this all out, but frankly, as stated above, Michigan’s coverage teams need to jump to a higher level. That is accomplished through having elite athletes and a true focus on working hard as a unit. Players must value special teams time. Going 90% will not get it done in a big game.

Special teams, don’t leave home without them.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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