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Mike Elston sees pass rush potential from edge rushers, interior linemen in spring ball

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It will be hard to recreate the special duo of pass rushers the Wolverines had in 2021.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 Michigan at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines had arguably the best pass rush duo in the country last season with Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. The only downside of having an incredible tandem like that in the backfield is you’re likely only getting it for one season.

That is the case for the Wolverines, as both could be first round picks in this year’s NFL Draft, Hutchinson potentially being the first overall pick. With spring ball ramping up, it’s time to really start thinking about the 2022 season and who on this team can fill the void of Hutch of Ojabo departing.

Michigan has a new defensive line coach this season; Mike Elston came over from Notre Dame and he has a tough assignment filling that void.

“You’re not gonna, they’re going to be their own type of player,” Elston told the media on Tuesday afternoon in regards to replacing the two stars. “You’re not going to have the same player that Aidan was or that Ojabo was. We have guys on the team that have skill sets that you know are developing and can add the value they added. But it’s not going to look the same. It’s going to be a little bit different because Mike Morris and Taylor Upshaw, they’re going to play different. You hope that production is there. We got young guys coming on like Braiden McGregor and Jaylen Harrell.”

In terms of the pass rushers, there’s a few guys Elston specifically has his eye on, including interior defensive linemen.

“Mazi Smith is a very capable pass rusher, Kris Jenkins, George Rooks,” Elston said. “All those guys are capable of pass rushing, it’s just we need to build it in, we need teach them and it goes down to the technique and leveling to the quarterback. An inside rusher, the biggest thing is you cut them loose, then rush the quarterback, and all of a sudden, he’s running by the quarterback where the defensive end should be. So them leveling out and making sure that they don’t run by the quarterback.”

It’s going to be interesting to see who steps up for Michigan this year to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. There are a lot of changes coming to this team, not only with the pass rushing.

Lucky for us, we get our first taste of the 2022 Michigan football team this Saturday at the spring game.