UM Freshmen LBs Like Competition

Michigan linebacker coach Mark Smith discussed another full haul of linebackers in the 2012 class. Smith shared his thoughts on the attitude of the four signees, how he plans to use them and what he likes most about his new linebackers.

Michigan brought in a full class of linebackers in the 2011 class and quickly took the commitments of four more linebackers in the 2012 class. According to linebacker coach Mark Smith, depth at linebacker is key.

“The biggest thing we always try to do is make sure we have enough depth and have enough competition because as soon as you don’t have either one of those... linebacker is a position of attrition meaning that with the amount of hitting and the amount of stuff that goes on you’re going to get kids banged up. So you want quality kids that are playing behind them but you also want quality kids so that during the course of a game, a young man doesn’t have to play 60, 70 plays, he can play 40 and another kid plays 25,” said Smith.

“What you like about that is they didn’t look at it that way, they didn’t say wait a minute I can’t go there because he went there.  You like kids that like competition -- and all four of them, not one of them balked about the other ones. They’re excited about, hey I get to play with him or compete with him or against him, whatever it might be. Create the depth and the competition you want to be better.”

Bringing in a class of four linebackers when only three can be on the field at the same time will increase the level of competition, and that this Michigan coaching staff is looking for.

“The biggest thing it does is it creates competition for these kids, that they feel they have to compete for their job -- not only every year but everyday because there’s a good player behind me,” said Ferrigno.

Michigan has two freshmen linebackers enrolled early and on campus for spring football in Kaleb Ringer and Joe Bolden.  Both will get a look in the middle.

“They’re going to play inside linebacker somewhere, whether it be a MIKE or a WILL. We’ll wait to see what happens with them, wait to see where they fit in best,” said Ferrigno. “I think all four of those kids have the ability to play either position.”


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Michigan brought in a full class of linebackers in the 2011 class and quickly took the commitments of four more linebackers in the 2012 class. According to linebacker coach Mark Smith, depth at linebacker is key.

“The biggest thing we always try to do is make sure we have enough depth and have enough competition because as soon as you don’t have either one of those... linebacker is a position of attrition meaning that with the amount of hitting and the amount of stuff that goes on you’re going to get kids banged up. So you want quality kids that are playing behind them but you also want quality kids so that during the course of a game, a young man doesn’t have to play 60, 70 plays, he can play 40 and another kid plays 25,” said Smith.

“What you like about that is they didn’t look at it that way, they didn’t say wait a minute I can’t go there because he went there.  You like kids that like competition -- and all four of them, not one of them balked about the other ones. They’re excited about, hey I get to play with him or compete with him or against him, whatever it might be. Create the depth and the competition you want to be better.”

Bringing in a class of four linebackers when only three can be on the field at the same time will increase the level of competition, and that this Michigan coaching staff is looking for.

“The biggest thing it does is it creates competition for these kids, that they feel they have to compete for their job -- not only every year but everyday because there’s a good player behind me,” said Ferrigno.

Michigan has two freshmen linebackers enrolled early and on campus for spring football in Kaleb Ringer and Joe Bolden.  Both will get a look in the middle.

“They’re going to play inside linebacker somewhere, whether it be a MIKE or a WILL. We’ll wait to see what happens with them, wait to see where they fit in best,” said Ferrigno. “I think all four of those kids have the ability to play either position.”

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