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Freshman linebacker to transfer before seeing game action

BY DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
Published September 3, 2008

Apparently one game was enough.

A couple days ago, freshman linebacker Taylor Hill decided to transfer. He didn’t play in the Michigan football team’s opener against Utah.

The Youngstown, Ohio native indicated to Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez he wanted to transfer to a school closer to home.

“He’s a good young man from a good family,” Rodriguez said. “We hope it works out for him."

Hill isn’t the only freshman linebacker whose services the Wolverines are losing. Rodriguez said it doesn’t appear Marcus Witherspoon will qualify academically, meaning he will probably never join the team.

It didn’t take long before Rodriguez became irritated with talking about Hill and Witherspoon.

“Can we talk about the guys that play for Michigan?” Rodriguez asked.

There have also been internet rumors that freshman running back Michael Cox is transferring, but he’s still with the team.

“He didn’t talk to me about it, but I heard about it,” Rodriguez said. “I think he went through some time there for a day, maybe a half day, where he thought about it. But I think he realized he chose Michigan for all the right reasons. There’s no reason to try to leave.”

Defensive adjustments: The Wolverine defense was working on its 3-3-5 defense during yesterday’s practice.

Fifth-year senior Will Johnson, not senior Terrance Taylor, was playing in the interior of the defensive line.

Sophomore Marell Evans, the starter at weakside linebacker against Utah, and fifth-year senior John Thompson played strongside linebacker. Last week’s starting strongside linebacker Austin Panter was off to the side.

Coaches had said if redshirt sophomore Obi Ezeh and Thompson, both natural middle linebackers, played together, Ezeh would slide to the strong side. But Ezeh excelled in the middle Saturday. A career-high 15 tackles and an interception earn him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors.

As stated in the depth chart for Saturday, redshirt sophomore Jonas Mouton played at weakside linebacker.

Threet first: Redshirt freshman Steven Threet took reps with the first team offense before redshirt sophomore Nick Sheridan at yesterday’s practice. But Rodriguez hasn’t announced a starter for Saturday.

“I pretty much have it in my mind,” Rodriguez said. “But we’re not sure. We still have a couple more days to do that. But both will play.”

Grady activated: Redshirt junior Kevin Grady will play against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. He was suspended for the Utah game after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated in the offseason.

Grady is on equal standing with freshmen Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw and junior Brandon Minor. Carlos Brown, when healthy, is also on par with those other four players.

Grady is a bigger, more powerful back than those four, so he should help with short-yardage plays.

Injury update: Junior wide receiver Greg Mathews and redshirt freshman defensive end Ryan Van Bergen are doubtful for Saturday’s game against Miami (Ohio).


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