When a defense is as porous as Michigan’s was last year, there’s not a whole lot of job security.
The Wolverines opened preseason camp Monday with auditions for opportunities in the secondary and possibly at linebacker.
“This will be the most competitive battling for starting positions in training camp that I’ve had in probably 10 years,” said coach Rich Rodriguez, entering his third year in Ann Arbor.
Returning players naturally have the edge going in, but that could change if a true freshman emerges quickly.
Michigan desperately needs help in the defensive backfield.
“Everyone of them is going to get thrown into the mix,” Rodriguez said of the true freshmen. “Whether it’s Cullen Christian, Courtney Avery, Marvin Robinson, Carvin Johnson, Ray Vinopal, Terrence Talbott. I’m anxious to see if they can compete.”
The Wolverines’ top prospect at defensive back, Demar Dorsey, won’t be with the team because he was denied admittance by the university.
The other newcomers should still help fix the team’s depth problem in the secondary. They are also talented, which bodes well for the future. The inexperience, however, is the concern for now.
“Our numbers defensively are going to be better, but they’re going to be with freshmen, at least in backup roles,” Rodriguez said. “When that’s the case, it makes you nervous.”
Another competition to watch in camp comes at linebacker. Mark Moundros hasn’t gotten much playing time as a fullback in the spread offense. So Moundros moved to defense during spring and is a candidate for playing time at middle linebacker.
Michigan, coming off a 5-7 season, opens Sept. 4 against Connecticut at the newly renovated Michigan Stadium.