Michigan Defense: They Have The Ability To Be Top 3


“Defense wins games.” “The best defense is a good offense.”  These two sayings, while true depending on the situation, are very misleading.  They are not the same, meanwhile, not entirely separate.  In order to capitalize on good defense you need an, at least, complimentary offense.  So many people have pointed out the flaws of the Wolverines offense and, if I didn’t know any better, I would think the defense was just atrocious in 2014.  However, I know better. I know the Michigan defense.

The talk, so far, in 2015 is on the offense, QB situation, and Harbaugh’s homecoming.  So let’s talk defense.  We all know how big a deal Jabrill Peppers was to land in the 2014 recruiting class.  We all know what he could be.  So he will not be the topic of discussion right now.  Right now, we talk about what we may be able to expect from the Michigan Wolverines defense.

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For a young defense who finished ranked #7 in the nation in total defense there is still much-needed improvement and stepping up in 2015.  In 2015, the Wolverines will not have Jake Ryan, a defensive captain, team leader, and tackles leader.  In the middle of last season the Wolverines would also cut ties with DE Frank Clark for a domestic allegation.  Atop these two huge players the Wolverines also lose Brennen Beyer, Raymon Taylor, and Delonte Hollowell.  Don’t fret though, with Taylor leaving he will likely be replaced by former Stanford Senior CB Wayne Lyons; and Desmond Morgan was granted another year of eligibility after he was injured very early last year, so watch for him to have a big season trying to fill the shoes of Jake Ryan.

This should also be the year of shock for many coming up against this dominant defense.   Expect to see many different defensive line combinations to fully initiate a defensive presence.  With Taco Charlton, Chris Wormley, Mario Ojemudia, and Ryan Glasgow likely starting on the line, there is more-than-capable backups in play behind the starters.  Ojemudia and Ondre Pipkins are the only seniors on this defensive line, look for those two to make some of the biggest statements for the Wolverines this year. Though the rest of the guys may not start, don’t be surprised to see some playing time for Henry Poggi, Maurice Hurst, Willie Henry, Tom Strobel, Bryan Mone, and Matt Godin.  This line has the ability to make quarterbacks suffer and running backs think twice, we should expect to see that used this season.

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In their senior season will be James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone who will likely be sharing some SAM LB responsibilities.  The whole LB crew of Joe Bolden, Desmond Morgan, and James Ross will be an incredibly interesting one to watch this year.  Again, in a similar fashion to the D-Line, this group is not a one stop shop.  They are quite plentiful in this area with quality backups in Ben Gedeon, Michael McCray, and – as mentioned before – Royce Jenkins-Stone.

I am more than sure that D.J. Durkin will throw in some interesting looks to fully utilize Jabrill Peppers’ abilities and talents, which we all know should be an impressive sight from Michigan this year.  More importantly are the rest of the DBs.  This group is probably the weakest especially with the loss of Raymon Taylor.  Michigan is hoping that Wayne Lyons will be able to pick up the slack he will leave behind, but don’t overlook this year’s corner crew.  Blake Countess will continue to pester the opposing receivers in his senior season.  Don’t forget about Jourdan Lewis and Ross Taylor-Douglas who both played good minutes last year for the Wolverines.  Jourdan Lewis also led the team with 2 picks last year, I expect him to double that production this year.

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Michigan Wolverines

Also keep an eye out for Dennis Norfleet, who we could very well be seeing on both sides of the ball this year.  Let’s not forget about the safeties! Jay, how could we forget safeties?  This is one of the most important areas of this Michigan secondary!  Jarrod Wilson will be heading up the Strong Safety position yet again.  Last year he had 50 tackles total, the only two Wolverines beating him in that category being Jake Ryan (112) and Joe Bolden (102).  Along with his tackling he also had 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble.  Don’t be surprised either if we see the Safety backups.  At Strong Safety the backup is Delano Hill, who will be able to give Wilson much needed rest.  Backing up Jabrill Peppers will be Jeremy Clark and Dymonte Thomas, both of whom I’d expect to see some playing time this year (especially if Durkin switches Peppers around in certain sets).  Tyree Kinnel is a recruit picked up this year, a sleeper in some people’s minds, and one I wouldn’t be surprised to see get some playing time this year as well.

As if being a talented guy picking up receivers and stuffing runs isn’t enough, expect to see some of the biggest returns in the NCAA by Jabrill Peppers.  He will be teaming up on returns with Dennis Norfleet, another two-sided threat.  This double headed dragon will be one of the best in recent memory, and I personally am more excited to see them than I actually have words for.

You all know the offense, but, THIS IS THE MICHIGAN TEAM 136 DEFENSE!  Expect the most!

Stats and figures can be found at http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/112914aab.html

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