Michigan Football: 2012 Spring Game Position Battles to Watch

Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterApril 13, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - APRIL 16: Michael Shaw #20 runs for a short gain during the annual Spring Game at Michigan Stadium on April 16, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Michigan's "spring game" is just about upon us. We use the scare quotes because it's only a "game" insofar as there will be points awarded to satiate the fans; it won't actually be a football scrimmage at all. Michigan's a little too thin for that this spring—it happens—but there will be drills, situational plays, whatever it takes to give fans a little something for their troubles.

At any rate, at the very least, Wolverine fans will be able to watch all of the players and all of the position. Here are a few situations to especially keep an eye on.

Wide receiver

Obviously, with Michigan predisposed to using three-WR sets, setting a "starting three" and establishing depth are both critical at this position. Roy Roundtree is set in stone at flanker, and Jeremy Gallon is a safe bet to be the man the slot. Jerald Robinson is the likely third starter, but he's dealing with a minor shoulder issue, so he might be limited on Saturday. Drew Dileo isn't very good, but he's back and he's experienced.

That's four. Who's next in line?

Defensive line

The faces are familiar here, but the positions aren't. Craig Roh has moved to a five-technique, while Jibreel Black is a three-technique DT. Will Campbell is pushing to be an every-down one-technique.

There's going to be a battle for weak-side rush end (Roh's old position) between Brennan Beyer and Frank Clark. Who's Hoke going to like?

DE Nathan Brink being out for the spring game doesn't help the depth situation.


Kenny Demens is the man in the middle, but he's coming back from a mild concussion (no word on if that's Brady Hoke's way of saying, "You must have had a head injury to tweet out that stuff about being out for the year"), so we could see freshman-to-be Joe Bolden running with the first unit.

Desmond Morgan and Jake Ryan were solid as freshman starters at OLB last year, but all indications are that Cam Gordon and Brandin Hawthorne are making pushes at OLB too, so let's see if anyone stands out.


Hear me out. Denard Robinson is a known quantity. He's the starter. But the real drama is going to be what goes on below him in the depth chart.

Devin Gardner was ineffectual last year as Robinson's backup. He apparently has the athleticism to play WR, but the coaches have kept him at backup QB for the spring because him taking 100 percent of the snaps is a riotously ill-advised expectation for Robinson's workload in 2012.

Russell Bellomy is in the mix here too, but if he's not even at Gardner's level (which is what the depth chart indicates for right now), the coaches may decide it's not worth the risk to QB depth to move Gardner out wide. So all eyes should be on both Gardner and Bellomy here.