Editor’s note: This is part nine of 10 positional previews on the Michigan football team entering the 2014 season. Check out our other previews here.
By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter
Last season, Michigan’s defensive line left a lot to be desired during the Big Ten schedule. In the upcoming season, the Wolverines look to return back to their roots with experience and toughness.
Anchoring the defensive line this year is senior weak side defensive end Frank Clark. Clark is returning from a productive season where he tallied 4.5 sacks and 43 total tackles as a starter in all 13 games.
“Everybody knows defense wins championships,” said Clark. “We actually can be one those best defenses in the nation, one of those top five defenses that everybody talks about.”
In the ninth of 10 positional previews on the Michigan football team, Geoff Mehl breaks down the defensive line.
Along with Clark is returning senior defensive end Brennan Beyer. Clark and Beyer are the cornerstone to the defensive line that will help take the defense to the next level.
Beyer was solid in 2013, but tended to disappear in some games. He tallied 27 total tackles, but had an underwhelming two sacks. This year he will be leaned on to step that production up and pressure Big Ten opponents.
Behind Beyer and Clark are young players with a lot of upside. Taco Charlton and Mario Ojemudia will also see decent playing time as specialist pass rushers and rotational ends.
At the defensive tackle position there is quite the log jam of potential starters. The recent depth chart lists Willie Henry and Ryan Glasgow as the starters but there are several guys who will get playing time.
Chris Wormley, Maurice Hurst Jr. and Ondre Pipkens are making a splash in camp and should see a lot of action early in the schedule. Look for one of these three to push Glasgow and Henry for the starting positions.
Depth: Matthew Godin, Henry Poggi, Tom Strobel, Bryan Mone, Brady Pallante, Lawrence Marshall.