Michigan not expected to play any more freshmen, barring catastrophe
ANN ARBOR -- Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison looked up at one point against Air Force, and realized that seven of his 11 players on the field were sophomores or younger.
That point was the fourth quarter of a one-score game.
Michigan has gone young this year as it searches for answers, especially on defense. It already has played 12 true freshmen.
But coach Brady Hoke said he won't play any more than that -- at least, he hopes not.
“I think we’re kind of where we want to be, unless we get totally drilled somehow at a position,” he said Wednesday.
The most prominent freshmen have been Dennis Norfleet and Devin Funchess. Norfleet started at kick returner in the first two games, and Funchess was named the Big Ten's freshman of the week for his four-catch, 106-yard day against Air Force.
Linebackers Joe Bolden and James Ross are challenging starters Kenny Demens and Desmond Morgan, respectively, for starting jobs. Bolden played the whole second half against the Falcons and finished with 10 tackles, second on the team.
The other freshmen who have played: Tight end A.J. Williams; defensive backs Terry Richardson and Jarrod Wilson; linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone; defensive linemen Mario Ojemudia and Ondre Pipkins; receiver Amara Darboh; and fullback Sione Houma.
Michigan already has eclipsed the eight true freshmen it played all last year.
Which freshmen have impressed who have yet to see the field?
“I think the two 'D'-linemen are going to be pretty good players," Hoke said of Willie Henry and Tom Strobel. "I think the guys on the front line offensively, they’re going to be good players. (Receiver Jehu) Chesson’s a good player. You know, the safeties (Jeremy Clark and Allen Gant), they’re good players. They’ve all done a nice job.”