Michigan's final week of spring practice culminates Saturday with the annual spring "game" at Michigan Stadium (12:40 p.m EDT).
Unfortunately, head coach Brady Hoke will conduct a controlled "scrimmage" instead, due to an untimely injury and a shortage of players at some positions.
With the recent knee injury to backup quarterback Russell Bellomy, Michigan's only two competitive quarterbacks—Devin Gardner and Brian Cleary—will be off-limits to any contact.
Therefore, fans won't be able to critique Michigan's new and improved pass rush until this fall.
Here are the players whose stock either rose or fell as spring practice wound down.
Will Hagerup, Michigan's first-team All-Big Ten punter, has been suspended since the Outback Bowl with South Carolina.
It was the second suspension in an up-and-down career that also saw him miss the first four games of 2011 for violating team rules.
With each passing day one wonders if Hagerup will be around when Michigan opens the 2013 season Aug. 31.
That would leave Matt Wile as U-M's kickoff specialist, punter and extra-long field goal kicker.
Kenny Allen, a redshirt freshman from nearby Fenton, shares Wile's versatility and could help in any of the positions. Don't be surprised if Allen is Michigan's punter this fall.
With a pair of outstanding recruiting classes in 2012 and 2013, Michigan is beginning to build outstanding depth at several positions. Rush end is the perfect example. Before Jake Ryan was lost for all or most of the 2013 season, it looked like Frank Clark, Mario Ojemudia, Brennen Beyer and early enrollee Taco Charlton would battle for the job.
Because of Ryan's injury, Beyer moved to SAM linebacker, still leaving three talented Wolverines to battle for playing time.
At this point, Clark appears to have the early edge, but it's just a matter of time before the 6'6”, 265-pound Charlton is ready to step up. “He is really getting strong...I can’t wait for Taco to be able to understand the defense, understand how a Michigan player plays, and just let those physical abilities go,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison told Scout.com.
"The good thing for Taco is he gets to see two guys that are veterans that kind of know how to play it, and he gets to see what’s right or wrong and so he can learn a little quicker.” Mattison said (via mlive.com).
By midseason it wouldn't be inconceivable to see Clark and Charlton on the field at the same time.
Starting freshmen along the offensive line has been frowned upon in recent years. The practice was still rare a year ago, but LSU started a pair of freshmen in a victory over Florida, while Maryland started a true freshman against Florida State.
"I would venture to say that you don't want to make a living out of starting a bunch of true freshmen on the offensive line," Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley told The Baltimore Sun. "That's the one position where maturity, strength—those things come as you develop within the system.
When Michigan's season opens against Central Michigan, two redshirt freshmen—Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis—may start at guard for the Wolverines.
Braden, a 6'6”, 314-pounder from Rockford (Mich.) HS, is taking the left guard slot vacated by Ricky Barnum and Kalis, a 6'5”, 297-pounder from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, takes over right guard from Patrick Omameh.
Both Braden and Kalis came to Michigan as tackles, but the need this season is at guard.
"(Braden’s) a big guy.” Michigan right tackle Michael Schofield told mlive.com. “It’s a new position for him, so there’s some learning problems, but of course that happens. That’s what happened to me when I moved to left guard my sophomore year. He’ll pick it up because he's already becoming a great option."
Kalis, a Scout.com 5-star recruit, decommitted from Ohio State to join the Wolverines as a member of the 2012 recruiting class,
"He just wants to tear your head off," offensive line coach Darrell Funk told annarbor.com. "He plays like that all the time and practices like that all the time, and we need that. You can Xs and Os all you want, and that’s important, but at the end of the day, it starts up front."
Michigan's senior defensive tackle Jibreel Black has seen the youngsters' contributions this spring.
“Braden and Kalis are stepping up pretty well from last year to this year," Black told mlive.com. "They’re pretty athletic for as big as they are, so you’ve got to bring it every time.”