ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After a frustrating spring filled with injuries which limited his time practicing with the new coaching staff, defensive lineman Taco Charlton is finally healthy.
And the defensive line is better off with him at full strength.
After spending most of his short Michigan career on the interior of the defensive line, Charlton, like others, has found a new position on defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin’s defensive line as an end.
Despite the fact that he missed time early on in spring, Charlton has grown to the change and feels like he belongs.
“I feel real comfortable,” Charlton said. “I didn’t get a chance to really play a lot during the spring, I’ve been injured, but coming back in the fall and going through training camp and now getting a couple of games in, I feel right at home in my new position.”
He made his presence felt during last Saturday’s victory over Oregon State by being a disruption and forcing a turnover when the Beavers were once again driving in the first half. It was the closest Oregon State was to scoring apart from the very first drive of the game.
Another defensive lineman that has made his presence felt in a big way early on in the season is Chris Wormley. With the defensive line boasting a lot of depth that has in-game experience, Charlton believes that Wormley is not on the only lineman opposing defenses should look out for.
“Chris is a guy that works hard everyday,” Charlton said. “We believe everybody on the defensive line is someone they have to worry about. Chris is a great contributor; he’s going to do some big things. I believe no matter if they are paying attention he’s going to continue to do great things.”
Defensive lineman Matt Godin said recently that the U-M defense caused around 90 turnovers during the fall camp. Now, two turnovers down this season, being aggressive and getting to the ball is something that has been hammered home by Durkin.
“Coach Durkin preaches to us every day, every single day, probably since he’s been here that he wants us to go after that ball,” Charlton said. “He wants that ball back for our offense. That’s something he’s been preaching to us and that’s something we practice every day in practice is getting the ball out and getting the ball back for our offense.”
What’s next for Charlton and his defensive lineman? To continue being aggressive and attempting to get the ball back for the offense during every single play. If it works in practice, eventually it’s going to translate to Saturday’s.
“Just keep going after the ball,” Charlton said. “We want to get three-plus turnovers a game. It’s something that we preach every day, even before the game, during the game, we want that ball back. We tell each other that. Each day, each practice we’re going after that ball and, hopefully, it carries over to the game and we do the exact same thing.”