Expectations have been high for William Campbell from the time he stepped on campus over a year ago, but none were higher than those he placed on himself. The All American prospect expressed disappointment early last season after playing sporadically in the first half of his freshman campaign. However, hard work and attention to detail led to more playing time as the year progress. By the time the Ohio State game rolled around he was a fixture in the defensive line rotation and was finally exhibiting the promise the coaches and fans always knew he had. Now in his second camp as a Wolverine, he feels he is picking up right where he left off.
"I'm doing real well," Campbell said confidently. "Little improvements here and there… probably just staying low more often. I'm more in condition now of course, but (the main improvement) is just probably staying low and just knowing what the play is and playing hard."
Part of Campbell's growth is attributable to his emulation of two Michigan line standouts … one past, and one current.
"Brandon Graham was a great player," stated Campbell. "He taught us a lot. He taught us that if someone goes down, somebody got to step up, so we just going to roll from there. Mike Martin is a great player and I've learned a lot from him. He's my (camp roommate). I think that (the coaches) did it on purpose."
The Michigan coaching staff is certainly hoping that Martin's impressive camp performance rubs off on his young protégé because if it does, there could be some very positive things in store for store for the Maize & Blue. Now weighing in at a svelte 320 (soon to be 315?) pounds, the former Detroit Cass Tech standout is hoping to become more of an impact player in the Wolverines' modified defensive scheme.
"I'm getting used to the 30-front defense," he said. "Last year, we probably was more like, ‘take this one gap' but now we're – ‘attack and play whatever gap you're in' – that sort of stuff. I probably like this one better. Basically (the defense) is just simplified for us so we can just play hard all the time and not worry about if we're doing something wrong or anything. It has been a lot easier for guys just coming off the ball. In your stance you already know what you got to do real quick because there are not a lot of things that you have to do technique wise - just come off the ball and get things done."
After Saturday's scrimmage there is one technical issue that headman Rich Rodriguez indicated his defense will have to focus a lot more on, and that's tackling. For his part, though, Campbell isn't alarmed by the performance.
"We have some stuff to brush up on," the sophomore lineman admitted. "Probably just wrapping up. You can get better every day. Every practice you are going to find something wrong that you can improve on. That was like our first time playing when it was wet, so we've just got to wrap up. As a whole, I think we are coming together, becoming more like glue."