Spring Game Burning Questions: Defense

Michigan's defense is looking for playmakers to emerge and Saturday's spring game is a test. Is Jabrill Peppers playing as well as the coaches say? Can Michigan find a pass rush?

Defensive Line: Will Michigan find pass rushers?

Michigan's inability to create consistent pressure with its front four will continue to be addressed heading into Harbaugh's first season with the Wolverines. Strong up the middle with players like Willie Henry and an emerging Bryan Mone, it appears both could be ready to take the next step as difference making defensive tackles. But what happens on the outside?

Chris Wormley is rotating outside along with a true pass rushing end in Lawrence Marshall, but who will be the specialist off the edge causing speed issues for tackles and panic among quarterbacks? The spring game will provide an opportunity for someone to emerge at a spot Michigan desperately needs to find difference makers.

Linebacker: Will three establish themselves?

The return of Desmond Morgan for a fifth and final season in Ann Arbor should come as welcomed news for Michigan fans. Not the biggest, not the fastest, Morgan provides experience, toughness and depth at a position the Wolverines are trying to build it at.

Factor in the emergence of Joe Bolden this spring and this is a unit that could have a chance to improve quite a bit. Bolden is athletically gifted as an inside linebacker and mentally understands the game. Can Bolden take the next step?

With James Ross, the question has always been consistency. For Ross, a proverbial hammer at linebacker at 6-foot-1, 232-pounds, can he find balance dropping into coverage as well as providing tough run support?

Defensive Backs: Can Michigan play press coverage?

With Jabrill Peppers move to safety, there will be more pressure on U-M's corners to step up and fill his void left on the outside.

Jourdan Lewis looks locked to be the one corner. He was clearly Michigan's best cover corner last season and should have no problem playing press coverage on a consistent basis. Between Channing Stribbling and Blake Countess, one of them is going to have to take control of the other corner spot. Who, well, that remains to be seen.

Kyle Bogenschutz and Josh Newkirk contributed to this report.


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