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Michigan expects to move past misery this season
“You can see Tate and Denard have some experience,” Rodriguez said. “But Devin’s a real competitive guy. The hard part for us is to limit their contact. We don’t want to get them beat up in August, but we want to get them ready to play.”
Rodriguez also has to identify his best running backs to replace Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown in camp this month. Vincent Smith, coming off knee surgery, Michael Cox and Fitzgerald Toussaint are the leading candidates to get handoffs. Roy Roundtree, Martavious Odoms and Junior Hemingway will likely be the go-to receivers.
The Schilling-led line has already made a favorable impression.
“I like the way we looked physically up front,” Rodriguez said. “Our young guys on the O-linemen look like they’ve grown up. We’ll be a deeper team up front on both sides of the ball.”
On defense, Michigan desperately needs to get better.
The Wolverines gave up nearly four touchdowns a game last season and have to cope with the losses of defensive end Brandon Graham, cornerback Donovan Warren and linebacker Stevie Brown. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson is back despite the problems last season, giving the players some consistency.
“The familiarity, not just schemes, but also personality really helps,” said Rodriguez, who calls plays on offense and delegates most decisions on defense.
Linebackers Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton, holdovers from Carr’s last team, will get a chance to lead a unit that needs Ryan Van Bergen and Craig Roh to rush the passer to help a shaky secondary.
Michigan’s kicking game might be a problem with an unproven kicker _ Brendan Gibbons or Seth Broekhuizen _ freshman punter Will Hagerup and without a returner with a successful track record.
The NCAA outlined five major rules violations, all related to practices and workouts, in a notice of allegations sent to the school in February. The only one the school strongly disagrees with was the one that charged Rodriguez with a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.
“All that other stuff, I told them, `Let me handle it,’” Rodriguez said.
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
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