Ryan on new Position: 'I'm Getting Better'

Fifth-year senior Jake Ryan is adjusting to his new position at middle linebacker, as the Wolverines coaching staff is looking to utilize his skill set in the middle of the Michigan defense this fall. **Read Inside**

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- One of Michigan's biggest moves this off-season was moving Jake Ryan to middle linebacker to get him more involved defensively and utilizing his lateral quickness on the field.

On Saturday, Ryan made his first appearance at his new position in Michigan's annual spring game. Ryan made his presence known throughout the contest. He was able to cause havoc in the middle of the field as the defense won their fair share of scrums at the line of scrimmage. He also displayed his lateral quickness on numerous plays, which was the reason behind the position switch.

However, afterwards, the fifth-year senior admits his new position is still a work in progress.

"I'm getting better," Ryan said. "This game definitely helped me out. The whole entire spring helped me out. I'm just going from here and bringing into the summer and the summer workouts, and getting better there."

U-M coach Brady Hoke agrees.

"I think Jake inside there is still some things that he needs to clean up a little bit," Hoke said. "But he can go sideline to sideline and that's kind of what we wanted."

Earlier this month, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said on a radio interview, that Ryan has transitioned to his new position with ease – citing he has embraced watching film and has become a "general" on the field by pointing out plays before they even happen.

"He's made the transition very easily," Mattison said. "He hasn't played linebacker I don't think since his senior year of high school. Although, we had him in there at times when were blitzing and things like that. He is now a full-time linebacker and every single day he improves on something. The biggest thing for a linebacker that he is figuring out -- is seeing the plays over and over again.

"When you see that, now you know guys are studying film. Now you now guys are being generals on the field. That's what great linebackers are. They can't just do their job, they got make sure everybody else has chance to play their position as well as they can."

And clearly Ryan just listens to what Mattison has to say.

"Coach Mattison tells us every single day, ‘you need to get to the ball.' And that's what I have been trying to do," Ryan said. "You know, if it's having me guard a receiver out on the sideline – I'll do that. That's what I like about this defense. That's what I like about the position."

Michigan open its season at home versus Appalachian State on Aug. 30.

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