The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 5A
*Ryan's energetic play fits well with new scheme
By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Editor
His helmet was so beaten it
looked like he had fought off a
Redshirt freshman linebacker
Jake Ryan first noticed pieces
of his winged crown coming off
during the first week of spring
practice. His helmet was the
only one that had to be repaired
this spring as an off-yellow paint
covered most of the front left
side, serving as a medal of the
hits he's levied this spring. Then
that paint started taking blue
scuff marks from even more hits.
"When Jake's on the field, he
adds a little something out there
and you can just feel it," Michi-
gan coach Brady Hoke said.
"There's an intensity."
"He's a tough sucker," Hoke
added on the Inside Michigan
Football television show. "He's
fun to be around ... He is truly a
guy who loves to play the game,
and that's the fun part about it."
During Michigan's spring
game last Saturday, Ryan stood
out as a member of the second-
team defense - behind first-
teamers Cam Gordon and Marell
Evans - and showed a diversi-
fied skill set: in Michigan defen-
sive coordinator Greg Mattison's
complex defense, he showed
quickness during blitzes and the
ability to shift his hips and drop
. into coverage.
And in a game with little scor-
ing, the linebacker dropped back
during a cover-4 zone call. Back-
up quarterback Devin Gardner
looked right and stared down
his receiver heading toward the
middle of the field. Ryan stepped
it in st
a lot o1
at of the pass, intercepted quarterbacks Denard Robin-
:ride and returned it for a son and Devin Gardner on their
d touchdown. heels. And if he's not starting by
spring has been good," the fall, Ryan could at least see
said. "I feel like I've time as a potential weapon to
ved a lot, just getting the throw at opponents.
e down. The defense is After the game, Hoke talked
but once you get it down, about how he was pleased with
now it and you work for- the pressure his defense was able
to get, saying it was good to see
n redshirted last year some "active guys." Ryan could
Rich Rodriguez and now certainly apply to that group.
s playing a different posi- Ryan's approach, which com-
outside linebacker - in pliments Mattison's aggressive
'on's 4-3 defense. attitude, may be exactly whatthe
coaches want out of a linebacker.
"I think we've worked more as
' a unit," Ryan said. "We're strip-
ping the ball more, everyone is
aplayer getting to the ball faster, there's
a on no loafing.
is defense at "They're making us swarm to
the ball. You have to tag the ball
ome point." once it's down. When they're
still running, you have to tag
it because they're just going
to keep on running, and we're
re have been some grow- going just swarm to the ball and
ins for Ryan, but he makes get to it."
it with his intangibles. Before he gets to the ball,
gan linebackers coach Ryan will have to work his way
Smith told MGoBlue.com through and around huge Big
s favorite part about Ryan Ten linemen. That will come eas-
even when the young guy ier once Ryan adds some bulk to
ng in what he's doing on his 6-foot-3, 224-pound frame.
Id, he goes hard. "I've been saying since last
ed Mattison: "He's made year that Jake's going to be a
f mistakes, and then every player on this defense at some
e comes back the next day point," fifth-year senior defen-
it right. The one thing sive end Ryan Van Bergen said.
really been pleased with "He just has to develop more
ie shows tremendous ener- physically. He's not very big. He's
speed off the edge, which not very heavy. He has to hitthe
is something we definite- weight room hard this summer
I in our package." and he could probably be a big-
tison dialed up all sorts of time contributor."
cated blitz packages dur- Ryan could follow junior
e spring game that kept defensive end Craig Roh's lead in
Redshirt freshman linebackerjake Ryan has drawn praise for how he has picked up Greg Mattison's defense this spring.
the weight room. Roh didn't have
the luxury of an entire summer
to get bigger when he was thrust
into a starting role during his
true freshman year. Now, Roh
has climbed to 251 pounds and
said he plans to add 10 more
pounds of muscle this summer
himself to deal with those big
"My freshmen year I was play-
ing at 235 (pounds)," Roh said.
"In the Big Ten, that's tough
to do. Soyou just put on some
weight and it helps.
"And you just get mashed
around a little bit. It's nice to do
the mashing sometimes."
Van Bergen: "We've still been wearing the same helmets"
. By TIM ROHAN of alumni and former Michi-
Daily Sports Editor gan football players flocked to
Ann Arbor for multiple events
Fifth-year senior defensive end highlighted by Saturday's spring
Ryan lranjBergen has hila>hrde i game. Ottriday, Michigan cohach:
head coaches since he's been Brady Hoke met with more than
at Michi- 250 former players during a team
gan. But he First seen on meeting in which Hoke discussed
doesn't think -the game how important the alumni were
he's any to teaching the current players
less of a Wolverine than Michi- about the tradition of Michigan
gan players who have fists full of football, among other topics.
bowl-game rings. On Friday at his charity basket-
Over the weekend, hundreds ball game at Pioneer High School,
former Michigan star receiver
Braylon Edwards said that Hoke's
regime already has a different feel
than Rich Rodriguez's.
i[It's just different," Edwards-
said. "You feel welcome. That
right there is enough. You can
feel that warmth. That sense of, 'I
played here, I deserve to be able to
come back and walk around.' That
wasn't there. He's bringing that
After the spring game, Van Ber-
gen was asked what it was like to
see some former Michigan greats
back in the Big House.
"It's just kind of unsettling,"
Van Bergen said. "It's great that
thIeV're back. iautnlirekinda like,
'Where have they been the past
two or three years?' Because
we've still been wearing the
same helmets we have been since
they were here. You know what I
"It's good to have them back,
but at the same time, it's new all of
a sudden. Which is a good thing,
it's good to have alumni back to
Players like Mike Hart and
Steve Breaston said they felt no
animdsity frotm 4odriguez or his
?staff and they were always wel-
comed back, but both said maybe
other players had their own rea-
sons for not coming back.
Michigan missed a bowl game
'for its firsttwo years under Rodri-
guez - which, in 2008, marked
the first time in more than 30
years that the Wolverines had not
played in a bowl. Rodriguez was
replaced by Hoke in January after
Rodriguez finished his career
with a 15-22 record.
"Ihave no ill >feelings toward #
(Rodriguez)," Breaston said.
"(But) when it comes to Satur-
days it's all about winning games.
And everybody keeps makingthis
whole, 'Oh, he wasn't accepted.'
days you get accepted. It changes
a lot ... When you win ballgames,
you're goingto be here."
Your standard, sappy and
heartfelt senior farewell
There are a lot of things I
didn't learn in college.
I still set off the smoke
alarm when making grilled
cheese sandwiches, I can't tell
I wouldn't CHANTEL
know where JENNINGS
to begin with
But in four years, I've gone
from being a premed student to
an English major, I've been an
activist, a GDI, a sorority girl,
back to a GDI, an almost-IM
sports champion, a volunteer
in prisons, a basketball coach, a
Spaniard, a Daily writer, a Daily
photographer, a student and a
But when asked to define
myself, I always end up using
the word "writer." I used to
think that was solely because of
my experience at The Michigan
Daily, but to be honest, I'm not
sure how much the Daily taught
me to write so much as it allotted
me the space to do so.
It's been a pleasure covering
sports teams for three years. But
more than anything, I realized
the Daily has taught me how to
be an adult. It taught me to be
grateful, to apologize when you
should and to give everything
i you can because someday, some-
how, it will come back to you
(Quid pro quo, John Rubadeau).
So, I think I'll use this last
byline to do all of that.
Thank you to everyone I've
worked with. The good and the
bad have made me the writer I
Thank you to whoever sub-
sidizes the cost of the vending
machine at the Daily. It's been
nice spending just 50 cents on a
can of Coca-Cola to help me fin-
ish my articles.
Thank you to my friends.
Mostly, to my four roommates
who, for the better part of this
year, had no idea which state I
was in or when I'd be coming
home. You are all wonderful, and
the regret of my Daily career will
be never writing the ex-athletes
feature. I'm sure it would've been
Pulitzer worthy. My bad.
Patrick, for the past two
years you've been offering me
quotes for stories. Considering I
never covered the football team,
they've been worthless. But for
today, here you go.
"The early bird gets the
worm," Patrick Collins said Mon-
day. "The second mouse gets the
On a less serious note (thanks
for the transition Nez, but you
still can't date my little sister),
I would like to apologize to my
professors. I don't think I was
ever anyone's favorite student.
I've skipped far more classes
than I should've and I've been
half asleep for the others.
I've often gotten comments
on my papers that read: You
better on deadline than on the baseline at the Duke/
for my class. And there's Michigan basketball game this
the inevitable groan, "Oh, year, I wanted to tell Coach
ite for the Daily." (Read: Beilein that I think he's a great
is your No. 2 priority and coach. More importantly, I
you.) wanted to tell him I think he's
since you're probably a good man.
g this, sorry to my parents Had I not spent the past
just realized how much I three years seeing these ath-
prioritize my schoolwork/ letes as people and seeing the
/exams considering you're emotion behind the moments
es who paid for this edu- that make them such, I'm not
But let's be serious, how sure if I'd see him as anything
of my final papers have you more than a basketball coach.
None. How many of my Writing has made me more
irticles? Almost all. human and helped me to see
others in the same light.
I think in 10 or 20 years, I'll
i write better really start to understand how
much the Daily gave me. And in
)n deadline these four years when I was in
classrooms learninghow much
han you do I didn't/wouldn't ever/couldn't
ever know, I was learning who I
Dr my class. was and what I could do on the
second floor of 420 Maynard.
It was the most frustrating
and rewarding thing I've ever
can't be that upset. I was done. I hope it continues tobe
going to study medicine or that way as long as I can write,
as. There are people who because if I can find a place like
passion for that, and I the Daily and fellow writers that
iate that those people are work as hard as they do (for as
re because I am not one little as they do), I'll be in a very
a. special place.
put in countless hours at So thank you to those who
aynard St. I've spent more deserve it, sorry to those who
on coffee than Iever desire it and goodbye to those
l here and I'd like to think who have read this.
that I've helped keep a few of the
restaurants on State Street afloat
during this recession.
I've done my best to separate
myself from being a fan at the
events I covered. But as I sat
-Jennings will be graduating in a
week and a half and leaving Michigan
sometime thereafter. Until then, she
can be found at Dominick's and can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.