8 - Friday, April 15, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
SPRING FOOTBALL GAME PREVIEW
Daily Sports Editor Tim Rohan breaks down the top
five storylines to watch for in tomorrow's scrimmage
Fifth-year senior Ryan Van Bergen will be relied upon as a defen-
sive leader in Greg Mattison's newly installed 4-3 scheme.
The Defensive Line
They may not be the four Horsemen of Notre
Dame lore, but Mike Martin, Craig Roh, Ryan Van
Bergen and Will Campbell will surely be fun to
watch under Hoke and Greg Mattison's tutelage.
For one, they're back playing in a defense (the 4-3)
that emphasizes and thrives on the play of its defen-
sive line. As a former defensive line coach, Hoke has
put more pressure on his defensive line to be the strong point
of his defense. He wants to win in the trenches.
And for the Michigan defense to make a turnaround, it has to
start up front.
They're a deep group, too. Jibreel Black is slated to be a danger-
ous pass-rusher and Quinton Washington and Will Heininger
are big bodies who can fill in at times.
Imagine trying to run through Martin and Campbell or
standing in the pocket waiting for Roh to come off the edge like
Terrell Suggs - just watch on Saturday.
Sophomore running back Stephen Hopkins runs with the ball in a
spring practice. He will be competing for starting nod.
Hopkins and the battle at running back
The same five running backs from a year ago are still in the mix. Some
things haven't changed.
But the offense has, and with a new emphasis on the position, it will be
extremely important to find a No. t and No. 2 back for Hoke before the fall
Think back to the days when Mike Hart and Chris Perry carried the ball
26-plus times a game, and Lloyd Carr was able to hitch his wagon to his
runningback and run to victory - that's what Michigan's running game
will look like once again.
Hoke has said that Stephen Hopkins has been the most consis-
tent running back this spring, but Vincent Smith has also drawn
praise from Borges.
Hopkins isa big back who hits the hole hard, according to
Hoke, which is why Hopkins has played some fullback this
See if you can call which one of Hopkins, Smith, Mike
Shaw, Mike Cox or Fitz Toussaint will be the next Mike
Redshirt sophomore Seth Broekhuizen will be one of four kick-
ers competing for the starting job in the fall.
The Kicking Game
If you have four kickers, do you really have one?
Brendan Gibbons, Seth Broekhuizen, Kris Pauloski and Jer-
emy Ross are competing for the spot and it will be interesting
to see if there has been improvement since last season.
Rich Rodriguez basically gave up on the kicking game and
had one hand tied behind his back when it came to play calling
in the opponents' territory.
Make no mistake about it, a good kicking game may go unno-
ticed, but a poor kickinggame trulyhurts.
The poor weather expected to come on Saturday won't help, but
it won'tnbe hard to top Gibbons' and Broekhuizen's 4-for-14 perfor-
mance last season.
Spring Game's surprise player
Denard Robinson burst onto the scene during last year's spring
game and it spilled over into a productive summer where he
developed into a new-look passer.
And Roy Roundtree has had two successful spring games in a
row. But which potential unknown will step up in the 2011 version
of the game?
1. Cam Gordon: Gordon has had more hype than any other defen-
sive player over the past year and he has moved onto another posi-
tion - this time it's linebacker. And Mattison, in particular, has
been drooling over Gordon's potential since the beginning of the
spring. Gordon's an athletic player, but only time will tell if his
latest position change will pan out.
2. Carvin Johnson: Johnson has been one of the safeties who
has stuck out this spring. Earlier this week, Hoke said that
Johnson has been one of the defensive players who has been
vocal at the back end of the defense, helping get other play-
ers aligned. He started out his true freshman season as
a starter and he could be the starting safety, next
to Jordan Kovacs, this fall.
3. Will Campbell: He barely saw the field
last year, then decided on his own to switch
to the offensive side of the ball. Now, he's
decided to come back, and the big defensive
tackle probably made the right decision. He's
working hard and developing into a player who can be counted on
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