You've probably heard by now that several of Michigan's players and staff are changing positions, primarily on defense, perhaps in response to the Wolverines' final two games last season against Ohio State and Kansas State, which featured two of the worst defensive showings in the Hoke era.
Here's a basic run-down of all the changes we've been able to track so far:
Staff Position Changes
- Roy Manning (outside linebackers) will now coach cornerbacks
- Mark Smith (inside linebackers) will now coach the defensive line
- Greg Mattison (defensive line) will now coach the linebackers
- Curt Mallory (cornerbacks and safeties) will now work primarily with safeties
Everyone else seems to be staying put for right now.
Player Position Changes
Jake Ryan is moving from strongside linebacker (SAM) to middle linebacker (MLB or "MIKE"). Via MLive:
ANN ARBOR -- Michigan senior Jake Ryan begins the final spring practice of his career on Tuesday. And he'll do so at a new position.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke, during an interview with Ann Arbor's WTKA 1050-AM on Friday morning, said that the coaching staff has opted to move Ryan from strong-side linebacker to middle linebacker for the 2014 season.
"He's one of our best football players instinctively, but when he's playing SAM and you face those detached formations, it gets him away from the action at times," Hoke said. "Just think back to the Ohio (State) game, where we had a guy who is a pretty daggone good football player and he's out of the box not (being able to) make plays.
"This will give him an opportunity to be more prolific for us."
Hoke says James Ross is now at SAM— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) February 25, 2014
Michigan will run more of this:
There has been much speculation that this is largely in response to offenses becoming more spread-oriented, and Seth at MGoBlog speculated that Michigan might eventually do away with the SAM position altogether.
There are some changes on the offensive side of the ball as well.
Wyatt Shallman is at H-back and RB, with Heitzman at TE— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) February 25, 2014
Here's MGoBlog's take:
With [Willie] Henry seemingly locking down three-tech that potentially bounces out one of Strobel/Wormley/Godin to SDE, where Brennen Beyer is probably your starter anyway. Heitzman gives Michigan a shot at blocking someone, anyone, and won't be missed.
Defensive back Ross Douglas is moving to running back. Via MGoBlue's twitter:
Hoke: Ross Douglas moved to RB.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) February 25, 2014
That's kind of an odd move, in my opinion, given Douglas's size. I'm not even sure he's heavier than 180 lbs. However, with Thomas Rawls' transfer to Central Michigan, it wasn't out of the realm of possibility.
Hoke: The plan is to get [Devin Funchess] 'schooled' up on the outside.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) February 25, 2014
Although "schooled up on the outside" isn't exactly a clear as crystal confirmation. If Funchess is officially moving to wide receiver, it's a good move. He hasn't been the blocker that he's needed to be at tight end, but he's too much of a receiving threat given his size and his hands.
Lastly (at least for now), Brady Hoke announced the current starting line-up for the offensive line. Via Kyle Bogenschutz:
Hoke says right now first team OL is: LT David Dawson, LG Kyle Bosch, C Graham Glasgow, RG Kyle Kalis, RT Ben Braden— Kyle Bogenschutz (@KyleBogie) February 25, 2014
We'll keep you posted.
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