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Spring Position Previews: Defense

Defensive Line
Van Alstyne
Van Bergen

The loss of Germany hurts DE depth, but the Wolverines are strong in the middle, and have some real potential in guys coming off the edge. Taylor seems poised to have a good year stopping the run up the middle. There is 2 or 3-deep depth at every position, but the real question is how much quality there is at each of these positions. Sagesse will redshirt unless there is a huge depth problem.

Nobody will be lost to graduation, but Terrance Taylor MAY be able to make the jump if he has a really good year. Still, with depth as poor as it is on the defensive line, expect the staff to go for a couple of defensive ends (including one top guy) and a defensive tackle, maybe two. This year will be a time for the staff to improve the depth, especially losing a couple of guys after the next season.

Or C. Graham
or Thompson


This is a definite rebuilding year for a linebacker corps losing two of three starters. The depth chart will probably not be completely set until after fall camp. Fortunately, the Wolverines are 2-deep at every position. Some of these guys need to improve, and expect both freshmen to take a redshirt. I am surprised to hear that Panter is not practicing all that well, as I didn't think Michigan would bother with a JuCo unless they thought he'd be able to contribute right away. There's the off chance that he takes a redshirt (he has 3 years to play two) as well.

Shawn Crable is graduating after this season, as is Chris Graham. If Graham wins the starting job this year, the team will again have to replace at least two starters. The MLB position seems fairly strong as far as depth, even if Cobrani Mixon transfers to Cincinnati, as has been rumored. A couple of OLBers should come in this class, as well as maybe one MLB to build further depth, since Thompson and Panter both have junior eligibility (unless Panter redshirts).

Defensive Backs
S. Brown




This position, long a subject of much bitching for Michigan fans, looks to be relatively strong this year. If Trent and Sears can continue to improve (reports from spring camp indicate that Sears is looking very good), the corners should be adequate, though still the weakness of the position group. New coach Vance Bedford has helped this position a lot. The nickel back position is a new one for Ron English’s defensive scheme, and Brandon Harrison looks to fill that role, with freshman Michael Williams backing him up. Expect redshirts for Babb, Rogers, and Woolfolk, though nothing is guaranteed.

To graduation, Michigan loses Anton Campbell, a career special teamer (who actually impressed in spring practice), Jamar Adams, a three-year starter at SS, Brandent Englemon, and undistinguished safety. With a bunch of safeties in the past couple classes, Michigan will probably only need to take one or two. At the CB position, nobody is lost to graduation, but Doug Dutch (unrenewed 5th year candidate) is unproven at the position, as is sophomore Carlos Brown. Expect a couple of CBs to be taken, including at least one super (I’m going out on a limb here by saying they’ll land one – wait a minute, they already got U.S. Army combine MVP Boubacar Cissoko).

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“Spring Position Previews: Defense”

  1. Anonymous Dave110 Says:

    DE Jeremy Van Alstyne graduated, I think you meant incoming freshman Ryan Van Bergen. And Marques Walton left the team.

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    Indeed. Thanks for the corrections.