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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
WolverineNation Mailbag

By Michael Rothstein

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Fall is just around the corner, well, a season away but that means football is coming up soon.

In that spirit, we discuss a lot of redshirt freshmen, pure freshmen and linebackers in this week’s WolverineNation mailbag. Oh, and also the perfect summer treat of deliciousness.

Questions for next week’s mailbag can go to @chanteljennings on Twitter or jenningsespn@gmail.com through the email.

On to your questions.

andrewwink from The Den: Which redshirt freshman do you think will have the biggest impact on this year's team?

This is a pretty interesting question, Andrew, because not much is known about them. I’ll pick two -- one on each side. Offensively, I’ll go with Kyle Kalis. The right guard appears to have solidified his position as a starter on the line and will be a large key to the Wolverines having both running and passing success in the fall. You might not hear about him as much as a Jehu Chesson -- and that’s a good thing if you don’t -- but he’ll be critical. Defensively, look to Willie Henry. The departing seniors tabbed him as one of the more impressive redshirt freshmen, and with an obvious opening on the defensive line left by Will Campbell’s graduation, he could end up being an impact player early. The seniors really liked his size and the looks he could give. Being consistent is his biggest issue.

Kenny Demens
Michigan MLB Kenny Demens carried significantly more weight than his probable 2013 replacement.
SU24 from The Den: Is there any concern regarding our lack of size at middle linebacker (Desmond Morgan & Joe Bolden are both under 230 pounds compared to Kenny Demens at 248 last year)?

Not really. Two things here. First, even if they were concerned about it, I don’t think the coaches would let on. Second, as much as you’d like to have a massive, Ray Lewis-type in the middle, as long as the man in the middle can make all the calls correctly and play intelligently, there won’t be too many problems. This is actually a more comfortable spot for Morgan and a place he has played in the past. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him thrive here.

JGrimes153 from The Den: With Ben Braden and Kalis most likely starting this year, how do you believe they will perform?

There will be some struggles early due to a building of chemistry and an adjustment to the true speed of playing in a game. That will be across the line with the exception of bull rushes on the tackles by defensive ends. Michigan will be fine there. They both have the talent level to be high-class linemen, though, as early as the end of this season. Braden’s future is likely at tackle -- think the path Michael Schofield took -- but Kalis could be a four-year player at right guard.

Kyle from New Jersey: Does Dymonte Thomas have an actual chance to start?

At safety? Probably not. Thomas Gordon has one spot and Jarrod Wilson will likely get the first look next to him. If you add in the nickel look, which Michigan will be in a decent amount of the time this season, then yes, you can consider him a potential starter. At worst, Thomas has a similar role to Wilson last season in which he plays sporadically as he learns, setting him up for a bigger role as a sophomore.

@chrtomas from Twitter: Who invented the Baco -- "bacon taco" -- and why?

If you don’t know what this is about, Baco is a taco with a shell made entirely of, you guessed it, bacon. I had this culinary masterpiece at a West Michigan Whitecaps game a few weeks ago during a visit there and am proud to say that yes, I am a survivor of digesting the baco. It was a masterpiece, and I’m stronger and smarter for having eaten it.