Sam Webb

Michigan's young defensive line group making strides says Don Brown

Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown highlights the future of the defensive line.

Interview by Sam Webb

Story by Josh Henschke

Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton and Ryan Glasgow. All mainstays on the defensive line that Michigan must replace next season. If anyone worries about what the defensive line will be returning next season, it's crystal clear that the anchors on the front line will be in good hands for the foreseeable future.

As spring condition and practices are preparing to kickoff, U-M defensive coordinator Don Brown has been able to get a firsthand look at some of the younger players and the strides they have made throughout the offseason. Of course, the first youngster, naturally, that comes to anyone's mind is Rashan Gary. Someone who is expected to play a major role for the U-M defense this season and certainly showed flashes of his potential in the time he saw.

Well, according to Brown, Rashan Gary is still Rashan Gary. He certainly didn't forget how to play football.

“Rashan Gary is a scary human being (laughter)," Brown said. "That’s all I can tell you. I run the mat drill deal and the four-point drill, they have to start in a semi-football position, knees bent, ankles flexed and then you call them out to the mat and they leap at you. He is always in front of me and I think he does it on purpose, but when he leaps, it is like, ‘Oh my god, he may kill me’ (laughter). He is competing at an unbelievably high level. He has tremendous leadership skills for a young guy."

A common misconception on the defensive line is that it has to replace four starters. While that statement is true, the Wolverines, Brown in particular, loved to rotate his players onto the field to keep them fresh seeing as he had the depth. That depth last season now will have an excellent chance at becoming full-time starters.

A few names are sticking out to him early on.

"I think Carlo Kemp has done a really good job," Brown said. "Last year at this time, I might have traded him in for two used footballs (laughter), now we’ll keep him around. We feel pretty good about him. He’s all business. He wanted to fight me this morning, which is fine, I love that, but he is competing at a high level. Chase Winovich is being Chase Winovich. Mo Hurst is doing an outstanding job and Bryan Mone is Bryan Mone, hard-nosed, tough. It’s nice because everybody says well, you lost four starters on the defensive line, but really those four guys played the whole time and now we’ve just got to develop depth behind them. In the D-line that’s kind of how I would look at it. Rashan has been very impressive.  Reuben Jones has done a nice job.  He was slowed a little bit early with some injury, but he’s back full speed, 100 miles per hour so that is good."

Stay tuned to the Michigan Insider for details on the "Viper plan" this spring, the growth of Josh Uche and Elysee Mbem-Bosse, and more. In the meantime, for more of Brown discussing winter conditioning standouts, press play below.


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