ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Now that the spring practice session has concluded for Michigan, offseason conditioning and work will need to be put in for the players to prepare for fall camp. That's where the real test begins.
However, senior linebacker Mike McCray passed the spring with flying colors. After injuries getting the best of him early in his U-M playing career, he appears ready to make a contribution this season.
It also helps that McCray is playing in a defensive scheme that allows the linebackers to blitz freely. Despite the defensive coordinator change, McCray feels like Don Brown has had a major impact on him as a player while not changing too many things in the process.
"I feel like he's impacted us a lot," McCray said. "He doesn't get on us. If we make a mistake he'll correct us but he doesn't get on us because he knows we're to learn the defense still a little bit. He's a really great coach. (Playing in Don Brown's scheme) been relatively the same. Me and Ben Gedeon are one of the two oldest players in the room and I feel like I have to step up and be more of a leader than I was before. That's probably the biggest change so far."
The spring game was the first in-game action McCray has seen in quite some time. He has felt the frustration more than anyone, someone who wants to play so badly but can't because things got in the way. Now, with the spring game over, a simple hug with dad put things into perspective.
"It feels real good," McCray said. "After the game I hugged my dad, it's been awhile since I've been out there. He knows what I've been going through and it just feels real good."
Leading up to fall camp, McCray won't be doing anything special. He knows things can change in an instant, he's taking things one day at a time and trying to improve each and every day.
"I'm just taking it day-by-day," McCray said. "Not thinking about being injured before, I'm just going out there trying to do my best and get better every day."