8 - Friday, April 4, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
What to Watch For: Spring Game
as a te
By GREG GARNO inexperienced and young backs
Daily Sports Editor takes over behind an equally
inexperienced offensive line.
chigan coach Brady Hoke But enter Michigan offensive
like almost everything coordinator Doug Nussmeier
his team, except for and his new running back-by-
e his team as a whole. committee system he plans to
ce begin implementing this season.
ce Michigan Nussmeier will bring a system
in from Alabama that has utilized
ary Spring Game multiple running backs.
When: Nuosmeier and Michigan will
g Saturday 2 P.M. lean heavily on a pair of power
, Hoke Where: backs = sophomores Derrick
ken an Michigan Green and De'Veon Smith =
istic Stadium and make use of redshirt junior
on TV/Radl: Justice Hayes on third downs
player STN for a change of pace,
each "De'Veon has had a very
on good spring, Derrick has had
, before saying "we're a a better spring than he did
way from being any good" in the fall," Hoke said last
am Thursday. Thursday. "Justice Hayes has
arly every player has a done some really good things,
e to start, and the team and I'm really proud of him,
ng since moved past last both carrying the ball and in the
n's disappointing 7-5 finish protection game. It'd be nice to
pring, get Drake (Johnson) back and
ough it may not feel put him in the mix."
pring yet, the Michigan Green and Smith are both
ll team is set to host its physical backs, weighing more
practice of the year before than 220 pounds, but Green's
er. physicality is beginning to show
won't be a game, it'll be through after he was considered
like a practice," Hoke said, the No. 1 running back coming
eed reps. You go through out of high school by Rivals.com.
ster, we need as many reps "He looks better, his balance
eachable moments with is probably better, vision is
ional football - red zone better, just more quickness
third-down stuff." through coming out of the
Daily previews which holes," Hoke said.
ines to keep an eye on
e annual spring practice
Nhich running back will
2. Is the offensive line
stronger without Lewan and
Sophomore running back Derrick Green is in the mix for the top spot in the backfield in offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's running back-by-committee system.
us to mesh and come together 3. The defense is changing Norfleet and has the speed that record of 1,993 set by Steve
the way we didn't last year," said positions redshirt sophomores Amara Breaston,
redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Darboh and Jehu Chesson don't "This year, it's time for one to
Kalis. "I think we're going to be Speaking of change, Saturday quite have on the outside, come home," Norfleet said. "That
pretty good this year, will be the first chance to get a Canteen could be in the mix is the big goal this year, to bring a
"Having (Lewan and look at a linebacking corps that on special teams this season, couple back.
Schofield) was crucial for rotated returning starters. but watch closely to see just how "It's kind of frustrating, but at
helping us grow and stuff, but Fifth-year senior Jake Ryan big of an effect his speed has in the same time, it's something you
it's a totally different experience has moved from the outside to practice, just have to deal with. It's hard to
now." the inside, while senior Desmond return a kick - alot of things have
But everyone figures to Morgan has moved from the 5. Can Norfleet finally to happen. So, I'm just looking to
be in the mix, according to outside to the inside. break one off? put the team in good position and
Hoke, including early enrollee Ryan joins junior James Ross get as many yards as possible."
Mason Cole. The freshman III in the middle, where he Dennis Norfleet has had one After two years of adjustment
out of Florida has impressed figures to be more involved and stat looming over his head for the from high school, look to see if
teammates and coaches this active in the plays, as opposed to past two seasons: zero kickoffs "Wood," as Nussmeier recently
spring, so much so that he could being left alone and left to choice. returned for a touchdown. nicknamed him, can put all the
be in the mix. "Now, I'm in the middle of But he can certainly take pieces together.
impress the most? The obvious answer seems
like a no. Lewan is projected in
The better question might not the top 20 in this May's NFL
be who impresses the most, but 'Draft and Schofield should also
can anyone impress at all? be picked somewhere on the
A nightmare season for the final day.
Wolverines' ground game was But a young group figures
only compounded by the loss to be stronger, thanks to more
of its No. 1 back in Fitzgerald chances to bond and work
Toussaint and senior tackles together.
Taylor Lewan and Michael "I think the five of us all
But whatever happens
Saturday may have little effect
on the end result, after Hoke
changed his line for at least half
everything," Ryan said. "As
Coach Hoke said, I'm more
prolific (there), I guess."
Ryan won't get a chance
Saturday to fully show off how
far he's come in the transition,
but after he managed to record
30 tackles last season in limited
time, his increased reps should
only bring improvement.
4. Keeping up with Canteen
There's been a lot of buzz
about freshman wide receiver
Freddy Canteen being the
fastest man on the team.
Canteen clocked a 4.43 in the
40-yard dash entering spring
practice, and has presented one
of the more explosive options off
the line of scrimmage Michigan
has seen in quite some time.
But very few people have
talked about Canteen's ability to
run routes, except Hoke.
"(Canteen is a) good route
runner, a guy who is entrenched
in trying to be the best he can,"
Hoke said. "He learns well,
he listens well and truly has a
passion for the game."
Canteen figures to see time
in the slot this season, replacing
Drew Dileo and providing a
taller option than junior Dennis
Norfleet. At 6-foot-1, Canteen
has an extra six inches over
solace in approaching the record
for number of returns and return Daily Sports Editors Max
yards. With 229 more yards, the Cohen and Alexa Dettelbach
junior will break the program contributed reporting
Junior Dennis Norfleet has yet to return a kick for a touchdown in his career.
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