The Michigan Wolverines took the field inside the Big House on Saturday, generating plenty of buzz for the 2013 season with an intriguing spring game, which turned out to be essentially a glorified practice session.
There was no score and no real statistics. But there was plenty to watch and dissect for Michigan Football fans.
With snow coming down at times on Saturday, the crowd was light for this weekend's much-anticipated event.
It is snowing at Michigan Stadium. Welcome to the spring game!— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 13, 2013
Football is back in the Big House for a day. Feels like November too. twitter.com/kmeinke/status…— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 13, 2013
A little after lunch time, the Wolverines emerged from the tunnel as a team, with Devin Gardner and his orange "don't hit me" jersey leading the way.
Team 134 coming out of the tunnel... Notice something new? vine.co/v/bF7TX1KbPDq— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) April 13, 2013
All of Michigan's quarterbacks donned the orange jersey on Saturday in the wake of Russell Bellomy's ACL tear a couple of weeks ago.
With chilly weather taking over Ann Arbor, talented left tackle Taylor Lewan and his teammates were working hard to warm up on Saturday.
Taylor Lewan & teammates warming up vine.co/v/bF7Uzi9dqO2— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) April 13, 2013
Things got really strange at the start, as a robot delivered the game ball to the referees at midfield.
Brady Hoke opened up the April entertainment with the least exciting play in football.
Michigan starts its spring game with .... a punt.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) April 13, 2013
It didn't take long for Saturday's spring game to take on a spring practice type of feel.
Breaking off into position groups. This is just a straight up practice right now.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 13, 2013
Michigan's highly touted offensive line prospect Kyle Bosch was dressed for Saturday's action but was limited by a cast according to Michigan Football beat writer Nick Baumgardner.
Kyle Bosch has a massive cast on his right hand -- he's dressed, though.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) April 13, 2013
The Wolverines defensive line dominated during drills on Saturday, giving Big Blue supporters something to be excited about next fall. With Jake Ryan and Frank Clark coming back to wreak havoc up front on defense, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has plenty of reasons to smile.
OL/DL drills heavily favored the DL, outside of Schofield and Lewan. Burzynski was OK too. But I saw Braden and others get lit up.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) April 13, 2013
The defensive line was definitely the most impressive unit on Saturday, and it should come as no surprise. With Clark getting better and better and Mattison dialing up unique plays, this unit is sure to be fun to watch in 2013.
On offense, quarterback Devin Gardner looked solid but not great early. He completed over 59 percent of his passes for 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in five games last year but finished just 2-of-4 for 38 yards on his first series in the new pro-style offense.
How do you feel about Michigan's spring game performance?
Backup quarterback Brian Clearly, a walk-on, struggled himself, missing his first three targets and fumbling a snap early on.
There were two touchdowns in the red-zone drills, but the defense won the battle for the most part on Saturday, pressuring the passer, picking off passes and wrapping up ball-carriers.
Overall, there was a lot to take away from Saturday's spring game, including the stellar play on the defensive line. Unfortunately, national championships aren't won in April. Brady Hoke and the Wolverines have plenty of work left to do if they are to knock off bowl-eligible Ohio State this coming November.
The good news—Michigan will have over four months to improve and gear up for another challenging Big Ten schedule.
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