Defense Stymies Offensive Progress in Spring Game Scrimmage

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Michigan football team was on display during Saturday's spring game. The defense had a solid showing while the offense is still showing inconsistency issues.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke has said that the offense heading into the spring game was going to be vanilla, about as basic as it gets.

After Saturday, it is clear there is a long way to go.

During the 45 minute scrimmage portion of the practice, the defense was clearly the bright spot in the contest. It was aggressive, flying to the ball and set the tone early.

In fact, the very first play of the game saw senior quarterback Devin Gardner drop back to pass and threw an interception to sophomore Jourdan Lewis. Gardner, who had troubles completing passes, finished the day with only two completions. The biggest play of the game came on completion number two, a 45-yard strike to early enrollee freshman Freddy Canteen.

For U-M, the 45-yard completion was the only play of excitement.

At face value, the offense still has a long way to go until they are game ready. Hoke feels the same way.

"Is there room for improvement?" Hoke asked rhetorically. "Oh my gosh... There's no question. We need a lot of improvement."

While the offense is struggling to improve, the defense proved that the added aggressiveness could be the missing ingredient to get the defense back to where it used to be. Disrupting plays and forcing bad throws, the lineman had a successful day.

Senior Frank Clark was a presence in the backfield as was Willie Henry who played with the third-team defense. Both players blew right through the offensive line and stopped the ballcarrier in its tracks. Lewis, who had an interception to begin the scrimmage, was aggressive and made his presence known as well.

For Hoke, the biggest concern for the offense right now is inconsistency. He echoed those sentiments after the practice was over.

"Inconsistent," said Hoke. "I think there were a couple good runs in there that they did a pretty good job with. They needed to be a little more consistent in the protection game. Through the course of the 15 practices I thought there was some improvement."

With tempered expectations heading into the season from media and fans alike, the offense is still battling an area that plagued them last year. Their inconsistency.

On Saturday, it is clear they're not quite ready yet.

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