ANN ARBOR—Michigan coach Brady Hoke and the rest of his staff have their work cut out for them with just over two weeks left until Central Michigan comes to the big house to open up the 2013 season. Several starting positions remain open, a two-deep not yet established, even decisions on redshirts for freshmen that just wrapped up summer school on Tuesday.
One thing Hoke is certain of? His Wolverines remain as young, and at some spots, as inexperienced, as any team in the country, making Saturday, the first official team scrimmage of fall camp, as crucial as ever.
“You want to see guys separate themselves when pressures on,” Hoke said Wednesday. “I think that’s a big thing. I think 61 of the 85 guys are first or second year players, of the scholarship guys, so, there’s a lot of guys who haven’t played football in front of 114,000 (fans) and how they react in different pressure situations -- we want to try and get them in as many of those as we can.”
Vying for the second string quarterback spot along with redshirt freshman Brian Cleary, true freshman Shane Morris saw an increase in reps in recent practices, showing enough progress to draw praise from his head coach.
“We gave a lot of snaps to Shane today,” Hoke said. “We think he’s made some strides and like what he’s doing. But, again, after we get him going up to the stadium, scrimmaging a little bit, putting some pressure on him and the different things that we want, I think we’ll know a little more.”
Another freshman increasing his workload is running back Derrick Green. Out with an injury early on in camp, Green is back and working himself into the rotation, perhaps a little ahead of schedule after practicing full go again in recent days.
“He’s done some things,” Hoke said. “He came back probably a little earlier than he should of just because he wanted to play. And he showed a couple flashes a couple days ago.”
Dealing with the lingering effects of a hamstring injury, junior linebacker Brennen Beyer is still being nursed back onto the practice field.
“Beyer practiced a lot of stuff. He’s doing all the contact work in a supervised situation. We’re not throwing him out there when we’re going 11-on-11 yet, but we’re probably being a little more careful with his hamstring than anything.”
Hoke said Saturday’s scrimmage will offer the coaching staff plenty of information as they look to make several decisions between Sunday and Tuesday of next week.
Michigan opens up the season with Central Michigan on Aug. 31 in Ann Arbor.
To watch video of Hoke from Wednesday, press play below.