For most of the season, Michigan coach Brady Hoke reminded the media that his team only had 12 guaranteed opportunities to show people what it could do. Ten wins turned 12 games into 13.

As the coaching staff tries to find the formula to surpass the total next season, the Wolverines will have 12 more opportunities. They’re not wasting any time preparing for them.

With two-and-a-half weeks until the Sugar Bowl, No. 12 Michigan started bowl practices last Friday. The tentative schedule has the Wolverines practicing during weekends to “dodge” preparation for finals. But with so much time before the bowl, the coaching staff will devote a little more time to developing the future.

“We’ll, as a group, work on fundamentals and technique once we get back on the field,” said Hoke in his Monday press conference after the Ohio State game. “You’re doing a little bit for everybody, but some of the younger guys we’ll give a couple reps too and some stuff that we maybe wouldn’t (during a game week).”

In particular, Hoke needs to groom replacements on his favorite unit, defensive line. The departure of fifth-year seniors Ryan Van Bergen and Will Heininger, along with senior Mike Martin leaves junior defensive end Craig Roh as the lone returning starter in the trenches in 2012.

Martin finished third on the team in tackles this season with 54. The backup defensive linemen have registered just 44 tackles combined in their careers.

Hoke said he would treat the beginning of bowl practice similarly to fall camp, which should lead to further improvement for converted offensive lineman Quinton Washington. Despite only playing sparingly this season, the redshirt sophomore has drawn the praise of his coaching staff and teammates throughout the season.

“That’s the first guy that popped into my head,” Martin said of Washington when asked about the younger players’ improvement. “It’s is something that not everyone gets to see obviously because he doesn’t get a lot of playing time, but he’s made huge strides. … When he first got here, he was a load to deal with over there working hard with the scout team and coach saw the athleticism that he does have.

“Bringing his hands and feet were huge for him. He struggled with that and I’ve seen day and night improvement from him.”

Likely to join Washington as heavy contributors on the line for next season are junior Will Campbell, who saw chunks of playing time this season after receiving a lot of hype in fall camp, and sophomore defensive end Jibreel Black, who was also a regular contributor.

Hoke was quick to praise Washington and added a few more names that will try to fill the giant gaps (literally) left by the departing seniors.

“I like (Washington’s) intensity about his work and his focus,” Hoke said. “A kid named (freshman) Keith Heitzman has shown some things that you get excited about. (Freshman) Chris Rock, there’s some things there that he’s doing well. (Redshirt freshman) Richard Ash is a guy that we’ve got to bring along.”

The list isn’t exactly full of recognizable faces, but according to Martin, they soon will be.

“I have full faith that those guys are going to be able to reach the expectations for the position to play defensive line at Michigan,” Martin said.

Martin, on the other hand, is just thankful for one more opportunity.

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