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Tuesday Morning Brews: Ch-Ch-Changes

Football, football, football, plus a little softball and baseball

NCAA Football: Michigan at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Tuesday morning Brews, folks. This morning we’ll be talking about changes on and off the field for the football program. We also have a quick check-in with softball and baseball. I also want to note that football individual game tickets go on sale July 11th for those of you who don’t have season tickets and may only be able to make it to a game or two this fall. Those tickets will be made available based on donor points, with the general public gaining access a couple days after that July 11th date.

Let’s hit the links:

MGoBlue recently profiled one of the new additions to Jim Harbaugh’s staff, Assistant Head Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Pep Hamilton. For Hamilton, who got the nickname “Pep” because he was a “little bit hyper” as a kid, this will be his second stint working for Jim Harbaugh - the first was Harbaugh’s final year at Stanford. Hamilton already owns an impressive coaching resume with stops in college and the NFL. He has experience working with top QBs, like Andrew Luck during Hamilton’s time with the Colts, and I look forward to seeing what he adds to the staff this year.

We all like Spring Practices for football because it provides a preview of what’s to come in the fall. For the coaches and players, it’s an important time to work on physical conditioning and learn the offense and defense. Offensive Coordinator Tim Drevno says spring is an important time to, “understand the concepts,” and that’s particularly true for the guys looking to grab a starting spot this year and for the 2017 early enrollees. There are a number of starting positions up for grabs on both sides of the ball, and it all starts in Spring Practice.

Patrick Kugler is one guy looking to grab a starting position, and he’s competing hard for it this spring. Kugler is a rising RS Senior who saw action off the bench last year on the OLine. With the graduation of most of the line, Kugler looks to make one of those spots his own in his final season with the team. Kugler cites his aptitude for the game as one of his strengths, which fits well with his role last year as a backup center. The center is the leader of the OLine and must read the defense and make calls to the other linemen before the snap. With a number of talented options on the OLine, competition for starting spots this spring has been fierce.

The defense that takes the field in the fall will be young, and Tyree Kinnel says next year will be “a new chapter” for the defense - but youth isn’t leading to a lack of intensity this Spring. Rashan Gary says the young guys are hungry and are flying around during Spring Practices. According to Gary, the energy that the young guys bring is building off the intensity of Coach Brown and Coach Mattison. Youth may even be a motivating factor for the defense next year. Kinnel says they’ve heard a lot about the “youth problem” but he also says they’re ready to go out and compete on the field.

Michigan Softball’s win streak came to an end on Sunday, the final tally being 14. Offense wasn’t hard to come by on Saturday, as the Wolverines’ comfortably won the first two games 7-2 and 8-4. But the Wolverines’ offense faltered in the final game of the weekend, and they fell to the Buckeyes 5-0. The weekend’s results moves Michigan to 28-8-1 on the year, with an 8-1 record in conference. Softball will be back in action tomorrow evening when they travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, and then on to College Park for a three game set against Maryland this weekend.

Michigan Baseball also saw their win streak (9) come to an end this past weekend, also as a result of the final game on Sunday. Michigan staged a frantic comeback to keep the streak going on Friday, topping Illinois 9-8. On Saturday, they cruised behind strong defense and offense to a 7-0 victory. On Sunday, they once again found themselves needing a comeback, but this time came up short - losing 7-5. Baseball now holds a 25-7 (6-3) record and will be back in action this afternoon at 4 PM when Eastern Michigan comes to Ann Arbor.

Detroit Red Wings fans know that the final game was played at Joe Louis Arena Sunday evening, as the club moves to the soon-to-be-completed Little Caesars Arena next season. A site of many games for Michigan Hockey, the program also factored into the final goal scored in the building. Former Michigan phenom Dylan Larkin assisted Riley Sheahan’s second goal of the night (yes, seriously, Sheahan scored not only his first goal of the year in the final game but also added a second goal which was the final goal scored in the arena). Michigan legend Red Berenson was also on hand, having played in Detroit for four seasons during his career.

As a reminder, the Football Spring Game will be this Saturday, April 15th. The game will start at approximately 1 PM, following a lacrosse match against Ohio State that starts at 10:30 AM. Both events are free and open to the public. For those unable to be in Ann Arbor this weekend, BTN will show the game on tape delay starting at 3 PM. After the Spring Game the team will head to Rome where the final spring practices will take place.