Michigan Wolverines: Richard Ash

Big Ten lunch links

May, 20, 2014
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You cannot give up on the gravy.

Region Series Quick Hits: Southeast 

June, 13, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Quick Hits is a look at the must-know facts for each region in regards to Michigan and its football recruiting efforts. It will give you an idea of the Wolverines’ history in that region, as well as what one can expect from that region over the next few seasons.

SOUTHEAST

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- While Michigan’s offense has a bunch of questions surrounding who will play where and how much time freshmen might see, the Wolverines’ defense has other issues.

These, though, aren’t so bad.

Michigan has significant depth -- albeit some inexperience -- at every spot on its defense. This allows the Wolverines to come closer to reaching defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s goal of being able to rotate players at both defensive line and linebacker to keep them fresh for later in games and later on in the season.

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Michigan begins spring practice on Saturday with both some question marks and some major returning talent. Brady Hoke says of his team: "We're very young. But these guys have a lot of fight to them." There will also be a lot of fighting for starting jobs, beginning in a few days. I recently caught up with the third-year Wolverines coach for his thoughts on the approach of spring ball:

What are the main things you're looking for this spring?

Brady Hoke: Well, you know, we've got a lot of open spaces. Some guys graduated, some guys aren't with the program anymore and we've got a lot of young guys. I think we only have 11 starters back on both sides of the ball, so there's going to be a lot of great competition, which is exciting. I think the leadership of our seniors, they've done a nice job of holding everybody accountable. But when you get out there with the pads on, it's a little different than just running around in shorts.

[+] EnlargeBrady Hoke
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsWith only 11 returning starters, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he's excited about the competition this spring.
Some of that competition will be on the offensive line, where you've got three open jobs on the interior. How do you see those battles right now?


BH: Well, I think the interior of both lines, there's going to be a lot of competition. We've got to find a center, and that's between [Jack] Miller and [Graham] Glasgow, and Joey Burzynski will try to figure that out a little bit, too. At the guard positions, Ben Braden is going to move down inside and start out at the left guard, but he'll have a lot of competition because Burzynski is back and so is Blake Bars. Kyle Kalis will move into the right side, and it will be interesting again with [Kyle] Bosch and some of the guys who have been here a little bit. I think it will be a really good competition at all three of those inside positions.

Having Taylor [Lewan] back is huge. I think it's great for him and great for Michigan. Mike Schofield has had a really good winter. He had some real bright spots during the course of last season, and I think his development is going to be something special.

You mentioned the defensive line, where you also lost a couple of veterans. How does that shape up?

BH: I think inside, we get Jibreel Black for another year and Quinton Washington. But once you get through that, there are a lot of young guys ... Willie Henry, Ondre Pipkins, Ryan Glasgow, Richard Ash and Chris Wormley are all guys who can either play the inside tackle or the strongside end. We'll find out the guys who are competitive. Tommy Strobel is another guy we think had a real good winter, and Keith Heitzman. So it's going to be fun to see them compete.

Does having so many young guys in key spots on the line make you nervous? Or do you have a lot of confidence in them because you recruited most of them?

BH: I think it makes you nervous if you think you may have recruited the wrong guys. But we like the work ethic. We like how they've come in to learn and with a lot of enthusiasm. I think there's some competitiveness that we need to keep pushing as a program. You know, we lost five games on the road. We've played pretty well at home but we've got to do better on the road and that's a mindset, a mentality that you have to compete through everything, on every down.

Devin Gardner goes into spring practice as your starting quarterback. How has he developed as a leader?

BH: I have been really excited about the progress he's made. I'm seeing that maturity that it takes and the leadership it takes and the competitiveness it takes to be the quarterback at Michigan. I think that's a real big part of how he's grown, and I think he's done a nice job with it. I'm liking the direction he's going, and hopefully he can just keep going and keep growing.

What about your running back position this spring, with Fitz Toussaint hurt and Derrick Green not there yet?

BH: You know, Fitz has come along pretty well. I don't think he'll do a lot of contact or anything like that, but I think he'll be cleared for a lot more drill work. That's gone real well. We've moved [Dennis] Norfleet back to running back and we're going to give him an opportunity. Dennis, he's a smaller guy, but he's a very competitive, very tough young man. Drake Johnson is a guy we redshirted a year ago, and we really liked the way he competed in scout situations. In the bowl practices, we did some scrimmages and gave him a lot of carries, and we're very excited about what he has to offer.

Thomas Rawls is coming back, and I think he learned a lot last year about the vision he needs to play with, and I like how he's competed through the [winter]. And Justice Hayes is a guy who gives you a little bit different look because of how he can get on the perimeter. He did some things in a couple of games last year, but now I think he'll have a big stage to prove himself more this spring. And he's a bigger guy now, he's 190-something pounds, so he's a little bigger.

[+] EnlargeDrew Dileo
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsMichigan coach Brady Hoke said that he's pleased by more than just the on-field success of WRs Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon.
You have Jeremy Gallon back at receiver, but you lost Roy Roundtree. You sounded excited about some of the younger guys there during bowl prep. Is spring their time to step up now?

BH: Yeah, I think so. First of all, I think the leadership with Gallon and Drew Dileo, they've done a really nice job being leaders at that position. They're not big guys, but they have a real spirit for the game and really do a nice job of working and leading. We have Amara Darboh, who played a little last year, and Jehu Chesson, who we redshirted a year ago. And I think Jeremy Jackson has had a very good winter; we're very excited about some of the progress he's made. Joe Reynolds is a guy who walked on here, and he's done a very nice job. And Bo Dever, his dad played here and he walked on. I think that during the course of the spring, we'll be in pretty good shape there. I think as we keep going, we'll keep improving at that position.

Linebacker was a strength for you last year and looks to be so again. Do you see some good competition there this spring, particularly at the weakside spot?

BH: Yeah, I think with Desmond Morgan and James Ross, there's going to be great competition. Joe Bolden and Royce Jenkins-Stone and Mike Jones are all guys who are very competitive, and I think the three young guys coming in are going to be guys who will give us a lot of good competition and a lot of good depth. Kaleb Ringer is coming back from injury, so we'll see what he can give us. At the sam linebacker, Jake [Ryan] is coming back, and we really like what Cam Gordon has done during the winter. So I think we feel a little stronger at that position.

How do you replace what Jordan Kovacs gave you in the secondary?

BH: I don't know if you ever replace that kind of leadership, but I really think Thomas Gordon, he's played a lot of football here, and it's time for him to demonstrate the leadership. And he's doing that. Because of the number of snaps and everything he's done, he's really fallen into his own a little bit. Courtney Avery has played a lot of football, and whether he's a corner a nickel or wherever, he's got to give us great leadership and great reps. Blake Countess is getting healthier; he'll do some things during the spring. Josh Furman, I think, has come on.

We've got to see where Terry Richardson is and where Marvin Robinson is. Both those guys have played a number of snaps. We've got Raymon Taylor back, who I think started every game for us last year, we're excited about his development. Dymonte Thomas is a guy who's going to compete, and he'll pressure some guys. Jarrod Wilson is another guy who played some last year for us. Ross Douglas is here early. Jeremy Clark is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound safety we redshirted a year ago, and it's going to be a big spring for him to make some moves.

So I think we may have more personnel back there. And even more in the fall when Channing Stribling gets in, and Reon Dawson gets in and Jourdan Lewis. I think it's going to add something to our secondary.

Finally, what has your message been to the team this offseason after last year's 8-5 season?

BH: Well, our message has been, we haven't met the expectations at Michigan. That's something that as a football community… that we really feel that we have to do a much better job in all areas, from the coaching aspect of it, from learning and playing with the competitiveness we want to have, from every player at every position playing with the intensity we want to play with. It's about having a mindset and a mentality of how we want to play the game. We make no excuses, but at the same time, we know we have a lot we can do to play better football.
Over the next few weeks, WolverineNation will look at every position on the Michigan roster and give a depth chart analysis of each position on the roster heading into the offseason.

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and his defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, both have backgrounds as defensive line coaches and perhaps more than any other position on the roster, have high expectations for their defensive linemen. Hoke believes a lot of a team’s success starts there.

Both also preach the importance of technique perfection -- and have for years. It is what makes this year’s defensive tackles group an interesting one for the Wolverines.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. --- During the bye week, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said junior wide receiver Devin Gardner was fine after sliding into a structure during a play at Notre Dame Stadium two weeks ago. But on Saturday night following the Wolverines' 44-13 victory at Purdue, Gardner addressed the issue himself.

"I hit the ground and my shoulder felt really weird," Gardner said. "I didn't really feel good about it. And then I was advised to probably stay down. I'm fine."

Against Purdue, Gardner caught two passes, accounting for 31 yards and one touchdown -- the only passing touchdown of the game.

"It's OK; I'm fine," Gardner said. "I played today and I felt like I played, blocked and did everything that receivers should do."

Other injuries: Senior safety Jordan Kovacs wore a brace on his right knee throughout the Purdue game, though he said he was fine. … Brandon Moore (MCL), Stephen Hopkins (hamstring) and Richard Ash (undisclosed) didn't make the trip to Purdue. … Brennen Beyer (knee) and Marvin Robinson (undisclosed), who were recently held out of games, both made the trip and played.

DL Brink out indefinitely

October, 1, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan’s defensive line took another hit Monday as the school announced redshirt junior defensive tackle Nathan Brink will be out indefinitely after suffering an undisclosed injury last week.

Brink played in all four games, making two tackles, including 1.5 for loss.

He is the latest Michigan defensive linemen to have an injury this season. Sophomore end Brennen Beyer is expected back Saturday after missing the past two games with a knee injury. Tackle Richard Ash is also expected back this week after having an undisclosed injury that forced him to miss two games earlier this season.

Freshman defensive lineman Chris Wormley is out for the season with a torn ACL.

In Brink’s place, Michigan could turn to Ash and freshman Ondre Pipkins to provide support. Pipkins has played in four games, making four tackles.

Brink was not mentioned earlier Monday when Hoke went through his injured players, although he did say in mentioning his other injured players "the guys who aren't out for the year, the rest of them, they are OK."

It is unclear whether that statement included Brink.
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke met with the media Wednesday afternoon for the final time before the Notre Dame game Saturday. Here are a few quick notes from the press conference:

INJURIES
Out: Brandon Moore (MCL)

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Notes: Talking Irish, injuries

September, 17, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Notre Dame might be moving to the ACC for almost all of its sports and its future rivalry with Michigan might be in some question, but Wolverines coach Brady Hoke played both sides when asked about it Monday.

“I don’t know, they are going to the ACC and they have to do what they need to do for them,” Hoke said. “If it continues, that’s great. If it doesn’t, then we’ll move forward.”

Michigan and Notre Dame have played fairly continuously over the past two decades and are slated to play yearly until 2018, when the contract calls for a two-year hiatus.

It is a rivalry, too, that has had its share of excitement. The teams usually would be the first early season barometer of where they might end up finishing the season. It is one of three main rivalries for the Wolverines, along with Michigan State and Ohio State.

Michigan is one of the few teams with a winning record against Notre Dame -- 23-15-1 -- and in South Bend, Ind., where the Wolverines are 9-8-1. The last three games of the series have all been decided by four points, with Michigan winning each one in the final minute.

“This is one of the oldest, fiercest rivalries in college football,” defensive end Craig Roh said. “You don’t treat this game like just another game. It’s Notre Dame. This is the peak of college football right here, Notre Dame versus Michigan.”

Splitting time at linebacker
While Hoke wouldn’t say freshman Joe Bolden and fifth-year senior Kenny Demens were essentially splitting time at middle linebacker, evidence would show otherwise. Against Air Force, Bolden played the entire second half. Against UMass, both Bolden and Demens saw fairly similar amounts of snaps.

Hoke did say how they divvy up snaps has nothing to do with different packages Michigan uses but is all about the performance of the two players.

“They’re both going to play,” Hoke said.

Bolden and Demens are both tied for fifth on Michigan in tackles with 12.

Injury update
Michigan looks like it will have some of its multitude of injured players back this week for the Irish.

Hoke said tight end Brandon Moore (knee) would “probably not” be ready for Saturday, but linebacker Desmond Morgan (head) and defensive lineman Richard Ash (body) “should be” ready. He wasn’t sure about the status of fullback Stephen Hopkins, who missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, or defensive end Brennen Beyer, who has a knee injury.

Michigan goes injury-free Saturday

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As Michigan walked off the field Saturday after a dominant 63-13 win over UMass, the Wolverines had another victory, one they hadn’t seen this season.

They emerged from a game healthy for the first time this season. Kind of.

Michigan had no major injuries during the game, unlike the previous two weeks, when the Wolverines lost cornerback Blake Countess (ACL) for the season, tight end Brandon Moore (knee) for several weeks and defensive end Brennen Beyer (knee) for an unknown period of time.

“I don’t know if we had any boo-boos today,” Hoke said. “But we’ve had one of those years where we have had a lot of guys dinged up.”

However, the week itself wasn’t as kind.

(Read full post)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan now has an idea of who it will play and who it will redshirt this season.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday that he feels comfortable with where his team stands now with its freshman class after 12 of them have played in the first two games of the season.

And if they haven’t played yet -- it is likely they won’t until 2013.

(Read full post)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan’s somewhat revolving door on the defensive line looks like it will continue for at least another week.

Sophomore defensive end Brennen Beyer, who injured his knee during Michigan’s 31-25 win over Air Force, will likely miss the Wolverines’ game against Massachusetts on Saturday.

“I don’t think he’ll be available this week,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “He tweaked the knee a little bit. Hopefully in two weeks.”

Beyer started the first two games of the season at rush end for Michigan and has made two tackles this season. He missed a good portion of the Wolverines’ game Saturday after being injured.

He was replaced in the lineup Saturday by Frank Clark, who had four tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Freshman Mario Ojemudia has had four tackles and a half-tackle for loss in two games.

(Read full post)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's injury issues grew Saturday as the Wolverines took more hits on defense.

The Wolverines have already lost defensive lineman Chris Wormley and cornerback Blake Countess for the season to torn ACLs and linebacker Kaleb Ringer to a knee injury.

On Saturday, depth took a bigger hit -- temporarily -- with injuries to defensive linemen Brennen Beyer and Richard Ash.

(Read full post)

The neck injury suffered by true freshman defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins on Friday is more bad news for a unit that already was facing questions heading into the season.

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Joe BoldenMiller Safrit/ESPN.comEarly enrollee linebacker Joe Bolden could be the starter at the Mike position in 2014.
It’s always fun to look into the future and guess where players will be after the next few seasons. So Tom and Chantel decided to sit down and do their best to produce the depth chart for the beginning of the 2014 season. They aren’t coaches, nor are they scouts, but this is an educated guess at what could happen over the next few seasons. View the offensive depth chart here.

DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART:

WDE:

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