CollegeFootballNews analyzes the top spring unit-battles: their OL and WR stories include Michigan.
Hoke on Jake Ryan, the CB Unit, more
On the positive sides of the injury, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said there is a possibility Ryan could return this season—or he "hopes" anyways.
‘Well, we hope so. We're being very optimistic," Hoke said on Ryan recovering time.
However, Hoke isn't making any promises.
"I can't make those predictions," Hoke said. "I'm not qualified."
While the Wolverine head man surely wants Ryan to return to the field next fall, he said his recovery time is hard to gauge this early in his rehab.
"I think everybody is different. Nine months, 12 months, some people say (on the recovery time from a ACL injury)," Hoke said on Ryan's possible return to the Wolverines next season. " Some people say, six to nine (months). I think it just depends on the individual."
Competition at Sam Linebacker
Now that Ryan is no longer listed as No. 1 OLB on the depth chart—another player will have to step up and take over his spot. Even without the injury to Ryan, Hoke says the competition was still going to strong in spring camp.
"I think they had that impetuous anyway, because the competition that we want to have," Hoke said on the competition at outside linebacker. "I don't think (redshirt senior Cameron Gordon) is doing it any differently than he did before. I think we move ( junior Brennan Beyer) over there a little bit, because he has played it some for us and gives another body. So I don't think they've change their work habits, their study of the game, their work ethic."
At 6-foot-3, 254-pounds, Beyer made the switch from strong side defensive end to outside linebacker for depth issues. Hoke said Beyer won't have to make any physical adjustments weight wise to play his new position.
"You know, Brennan is a smart kid," Hoke said. "He has a high football intellect. A high educational intellect. I think he is a kid who loves to play. I think he is a guy who really has changed his body. He continued to physically. So, he can handle anything—especially from the mental process."
When junior cornerback Blake Countess went down with a ACL injury in the Alabama game last season, junior Raymon Taylor stepped in and helped fill the void that Countess left on the field. With the experience Taylor gained, Hoke said each corner should bring something to the table next season.
"I think Raymon has done a very good job,' Hoke said. "It's exciting to see Blake, cause he is doing everything but full (contact) drills. I think how Ray really is really taking it serious. I think (senior Courtney Avery)is playing better. He seems to be moving better. He seems to be more physical. So I think we will have a nice skill set of guys to compete with."
On Last Year's Redshirted D-lineman Improvement
"I think they all, I'm not going to pick one guy out," Hoke said on the defensive lineman who redshirted last season. "But I think they all have done a nice job. I think when you look at numbers from the weight room and the numbers from body fat and lean muscle and all thing that go with that. I think how they run around on the field. How they're absorbing. There is also the guys who don't absorb quite as much. Because once they get scout team, technique and fundamentals may be the same but what you call it is different. And so, I think they are doing a nice thing with all those intangibles. Then out here—they're competing really hard."
Defense Playing Faster
Michigan has focused on being a faster defense since Hoke took over two years ago. And now--Hoke says the defense is getting to closer to his vision because the more athletic players he's recruited to Ann Arbor.
"I think No. 1 is players, athletes," Hoke said. "Then I think the next part of it is understanding the defense and reaction. Because defense is such a reactionary part of football. I think all those things and playing faster."
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