Vincent Smith, David Molk among 6 Michigan players out for spring practice
Vincent Smith stood on the sideline, helmet on, watching Michigan's first spring practice Tuesday. But the sophomore running back won't be taking part in any of the Wolverines' 15 workouts this spring.
Smith and five other players are still on the mend from off-season surgeries.
He and center David Molk both underwent surgery to repair torn ACLs; receiver Junior Hemingway and linebacker Brandon Herron had minor knee procedures; and defensive tackle Mike Martin and special-teams standout Zac Johnson are coming back from shoulder injuries.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Molk, who hurt his knee in the Penn State game last October, "will be able to do some limited things" during spring practice, but won't take part in any contact drills.
Martin and Johnson may return in a limited capacity as well, and Rodriguez said he hopes Hemingway will be back toward the end of spring practice. The Wolverines' spring game is April 17.
With Smith out, Michigan will audition several new faces at running back this spring. Mike Shaw, Michael Cox, Fitzgerald Toussaint and true freshmen Stephen Hopkins and Austin White ran through drills Tuesday. Only Shaw and Cox saw playing time last year, both in limited capacites.
Smith was Michigan's top returning running back with 48 carries for 276 yards.
"It’s going to be those five guys and we still may put some of the slot receivers at running back as the spring goes along," Rodriguez said.
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.