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Thursday Morning Brews: Heroes

Football, Softball, Baseball, and Hockey in this morning’s Brews

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Good morning, folks, and happy Thursday. We’re just two days away from the weekend. In this morning’s Brews we’ll be talking about heroes, and we feature yet more news from Football Spring Practice as we approach Saturday’s Spring Game in the Big House. We also check in on Baseball and Softball, and recognize the colossal contributions to Michigan Hockey by the man simply known as Red.

Let’s hit the links:

In 2016, Michigan’s defense was the best in the country - and arguably one of the best units Michigan has ever fielded. Referring to last year’s defense, DL Coach Greg Mattison said, “In coaching, you can go a long time and never have a defense like that.” Despite losing 10 starters, Michigan’s defense will feature some familiar faces when it takes the field for the Spring Game this Saturday. Guys like Mo Hurst and Rashan Gary will provide continuity and experience up front. Mattison says that spring practice is a time to make huge gains, and to identify the guys that the team will win with in the fall. With Hurst, Gary, and Senior LB Mike McCray leading the way, the defense should be in good shape despite its relative youth.

Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class took on an international flavor with the addition of DB prospect Benjamin St. Juste from Rosemere, Quebec. St. Juste recently authored a story on his journey to Michigan for Radio Canada, a division of the CBC. The new Wolverine talks of the faith his mother had in him, his days playing what Americans know as pee-wee or Pop Warner football, and the hours he spent in the gym and doing drills. The story is a good read, though it is written in French. For those who ne parle pas Francais, the Google Translate plug-in for your browser does a passable job in this instance.

MGoBlue continues its profiles of players during Spring Ball and, this week, tells the story of Khaleke Hudson - who is looking to fill the void left by Jabrill Peppers. Like Peppers, Hudson is trying to make the transition from Safety to the hybrid-LB position known as VIPER in Don Brown’s defense. In the interview, Hudson discusses the loss of his father to gun violence in 2013 and how Hudson came to be at Michigan. Khaleke uses the pain of loss as motivation in the classroom and on the field, to make his father proud of him and to be a role model for other kids in his hometown.

After having its streak (9) ended on Sunday, Michigan Baseball got back to its winning ways Tuesday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over Eastern Michigan. The 13-inning saga finally concluded when Sophomore Jonathan Englemann knocked a walk-off double into left-center field, plating Junior Jake Bivens who had singled to lead off the inning. The win moves Michigan to 26-7 on the year. The Wolverines will be back in action this afternoon when Oklahoma comes to town.

As we brought to you Monday afternoon, legendary Michigan Hockey coach Red Berenson has retired. He joined the program as head coach in 1984, and has become synonymous with Michigan Hockey in the intervening years. Berenson’s career at Michigan spanned 33 seasons during which he accomplished 848 wins, 21 conference titles, 23 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 Frozen Fours, and 2 national championships. As Nick, Will, and I discussed on Sunday, despite this illustrious career it had become clear that it was time for the next chapter in Michigan Hockey to begin. To commemorate Berenson’s considerable contributions to Michigan, the Athletics Department produced the above video to commemorate his time as a player and a coach for the Maize and Blue.

Michigan Softball also returned to its winning ways after having its own streak (14) ended on Sunday. Michigan State came to town yesterday afternoon and the Wolverines took care of business. Michigan received a stellar outing from Senior pitcher Megan Betsa who struck out 17, and eight of the final nine, on the way to her 15th win of the season. The Wolverines now have a 29-8-1 (9-1) record and will travel to Maryland for three games this weekend. Go Blue.