SALINE – Senior defensive tackle Terrence Taylor finished last season on the All-Big Ten second team, but he started Saturday’s spring game at Saline High School on Michigan’s second team.

The second-string defense is not where most expected the Muskegon native, who decided to stay in Ann Arbor instead of pursuing the NFL Draft, to be.

In his press conference last week, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Taylor is still adapting to the new system and is a long way from where the coaches want the talented lineman to be.

Fifth-year senior Will Johnson, who received the Meyer Morton Award as the senior who experienced the greatest development during spring practice, and redshirt sophomore John Ferrara played defensive tackle on the first team.

After Saturday’s practice, Rodriguez cautioned the media not to read too deeply into the current depth charts, saying the coaching staff will make those decisions the week before the season opener against Utah.

“If you’re looking at the first or second team today, you’re looking at the wrong thing,” Rodriguez said. “Right now, it’s just guys going out with one group or another group.”

It’s the same situation on both sides of the ball.

Redshirt freshman Steven Threet played quarterback on the No. 1 offensive unit even though he’s still competing with sophomore Nick Sheridan for the starting quarterback job.

“It’s about going out every day in practice and not necessarily worrying about the depth chart,” Threet said.

Rodriguez said he wouldn’t name his starting quarterback until the week before Utah.

‘D’ up: Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer preaches two goals for his defense – turnovers and tackles for loss.

After giving up a field goal and touchdown on the first two possessions of Saturday’s scrimmage, the defense buckled down and embodied Shafer’s mentality.

“We came together on the sidelines,” said sophomore safety Stevie Brown, who was the only player to win two awards for his performance in spring practice.

Injured linebacker Marell Evans paced the sidelines, telling his teammates it was unacceptable to lose to the offense.

On third and long halfway through practice, Threet stepped up in the pocket only to find senior linebacker Austin Panter in his face for what would have been a sack in a full-contact game.

The defense also had four interceptions on the afternoon, not including a pick-six called back for offsides and several drops likely the result off a wet ball.

Around the Horn: Redshirt freshman Avery Horn is the quickest player running backs coach Fred Jackson has ever seen play for the Wolverines.

Jackson has been at Michigan for 16 years and coached eight backs drafted into the NFL – not including Mike Hart.

As a high school junior, Horn ran a 100-meter dash in 10.5 seconds, about three tenths of a second slower than the Michigan track and field record.

In Saturday’s scrimmage, Horn displayed that speed. He regularly found open space, exploding through the gaps and eluded defenders.

“I really like his attitude,” Rodriguez said. “He’s eager to learn. Obviously, he’s behind a couple of veterans there, but it’s going to be interesting to see how these guys do this summer.”

On one play midway through the practice, he ran the ball to the left side, juked to avoid a defender and move into space near the left sideline and sprinted upfield before being tackled after a gain of more than 20 yards.

In addition to helping him compete for playing time at running back, Horn’s combination of speed and agility should make him a candidate to return kicks this fall.

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