Kevin Leach still starting, Obi Ezeh not sulking for Michigan
Kevin Leach did enough in his first start at middle linebacker last week against Illinois to earn another this weekend against Purdue.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Wednesday that Leach remains first-team for now, but he praised junior Obi Ezeh for responding well to his demotion.
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
“The worst thing you can do if you’re not feeling that you’re getting the playing time you want or playing as well as you’d like is to go in the tank,” Rodriguez said. “We want guys that’ll fight back. We’re in a situation now where we’ve got to fight back from adversity. We’ve kind of been there before and we don’t want to be in that situation, but it tells the test of a guy’s character, and he’s got a lot of character.”
Ezeh had started 29 straight games before he was benched for most of last week’s 38-13 loss. He played in a goal-line situation in the third quarter, and saw some regular defensive snaps when the game got out of hand in the fourth.
Rodriguez said he made the move to Leach, who had 11 tackles, one sack and graded out the best of any defensive player last week, to combat Illinois’ speed and spread offense.
Purdue likes to spread the field as well, albeit more in a throwing capacity, but the physical Ezeh could return to the starting lineup next week when Michigan visits Wisconsin.
“Obi’s still in the mix,” Rodriguez said. “It really depends on how the team is going to attack us and who we want to put in at the time.”