The Michigan Wolverines launch fall camp on Monday, August 6th, and will square off against Alabama in just 26 days. There is much to be accomplished between now and the game against the Crimson Tide, which will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
One of the top priorities will be to establish some depth along the offensive and defensive lines. Personnel wise, the Wolverines were a little thin in the trenches during spring practice. As a result, a highly touted freshmen class will have an opportunity to fill in some key spots on both lines. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a true freshmen start on the offensive line.
The underpinning of any team coached by Brady Hoke is the defensive line. Hoke broke in as a D-line coach, as did Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison. So it should come as no surprise that last season, the defensive line improved by leaps and bounds. The resurgent line sparked the rise of the Wolverines overall defense.
Year two of the Brady Hoke era brings some much needed stability back to the Michigan Football program. In fact, it will be the first time that the seniors will run the same defense as they had the previous season.
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Another major theme associated with Coach Hoke is the emphasis placed on senior leadership. With that in mind, he took the senior class on a leadership retreat this summer. They trained with Navy SEALs, ran a youth football camp, and toured the Rose Bowl.
This year’s team, otherwise known as Team 133, while not as deep as the teams in the coming years will be, has a strong group of leaders. Chief among them are Denard Robinson, Jordan Kovacs, and Taylor Lewan. That trio was selected by the coaches to represent Michigan at Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago. On the field, Robinson is the ring leader, Kovacs will quarterback the defense and Lewan will anchor the offensive line.
One unpleasant note as the Wolverines begin fall camp is the suspensions of Fitz Toussaint and Frank Clark. Both players were arrested this off season and their status for the Alabama game is uncertain. Toussaint was Michigan’s leading rusher last season and Clark is a budding star on defense.