Senior cornerback Courtney Avery played at outside corner and at nickel back at times last season on the Michigan defense. This spring, however, he said he's focused on playing on the outside as a cover corner and continues to work on the little things to improve early on this spring.
"Really, just coming in working footwork, grabbing a receiver or two, doing some one-on-ones. And lifting and staying in shape, really is the important thing," said Avery.
With the loss off graduated seniors Jordan Kovacs and J.T. Floyd, Avery said the Wolverines secondary should still be one their stronger areas going into next season.
"I would say our secondary is going to be our strength," Avery said. "Our defense as whole is going to be pretty strong. Because right now we're just working on different techniques (and) working hard on this spring. (We're) figuring out the things we really need to work on executing those defenses—hopefully it brings us to the top coming into the fall."
One player who is set to replace Kovacs' in the secondary, is sophomore Jarrod Wilson. And he has impressed Avery early on in spring camp.
"Jarrod Wilson, he is a very hard worker and really hones in on his techniques and keys and things," said Avery. "But our safety core they're going to be fine, they're going to be great. So I am looking forward to watching them and working with the them."
Washington Talks D-Line
Going into his senior season as a second year starter on the Wolverine defensive line, redshirt senior defensive tackle Quinton Washington wants to bring the hardnosed defensive "tradition" back to Michigan.
"Run stuffing, sack getting, being a nasty D," Washington explained. "And we just want to bring that tradition back. Michigan has a tradition of being a physical defense.
"Our mentality is—we've been working all summer. That's one thing we have to break our mental barrier. I feel that by just working with (strength coach Aaron Wellman) right after the season, we've made strides just in the weight room. That's carried over to the football field now. So, it's coming along well."
Washington, along with fellow senior defensive tackle Jibreel Black, are taking it upon themselves to be the leaders of the defensive line early on in spring practice.
"Working with Jibreel (Black) is really good," Washington said. "He's a senior leader. We had to put it on our self. We've lost a lot of great guys, Will (Campbell), Craig Roh, losing a lot of great guys who held down our defense. So it had to be on us on the defensive line. We have a lot of other big time players who play a lot and they have to understand it's on them too."
Sophomore nose tackle Ondre Pipkins is Washington's backup, but that hasn't stop Washington from encouraging the talented second year player to beat him for his starting position.
"He's working hard," Washington said of Pipkins. "I encourage him, because he's playing nose with me. I want him to not only play, I want him to be a leader. If he can start, he can start. I want him to build his confidence. He is coming along very well."
Avery, Washington talk spring D (w/video)
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