Fifth-year senior Brandent Englemon doesn’t want to get into it. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr declined to elaborate.
Whatever happened behind the scenes, Englemon’s spot on the team was up in the air heading into the season.
“I can’t really speak on it,” Englemon said.
The Covington, K.Y., native was coming off a season in which he made five starts, played in every game and collected 29 tackles.
Throw in the departure of starting free safety Willis Barringer, and Englemon appeared to be right in the mix for a starting spot his last year on campus.
But something came up.
“We both had a choice,” Carr said. “There were some things I expected of him, and he proved to me that he was serious in what he said he wanted to do, and I’m glad he came back.”
Englemon may have taken some time during the offseason to assess his situation, but he didn’t take long to make his presence felt on the football field against Appalachian State.
Sophomore Stevie Brown had been named the starting free safety, but after one half, a change was needed.
Defensive coordinator Ron English turned to Englemon, and the quiet and experienced leader didn’t disappoint.
The 5-foot-11 safety tackled Appalachian State running back Kevin Richardson for a four-yard loss on the Mountaineers’ first possession of the third quarter.
The Wolverine defense stymied the Appalachian State attack for the majority of the second half, holding the Mountaineers to just two field goals.
“I guess coach (Vance) Bedford and coach English just wanted to put me in and see what I could do,” Englemon said. “You never know week by week what’s going to happen.”
And from the spark he provided on the first play of the second half, Englemon has been one of the few bright spots on a weak Michigan defense.
He didn’t let Brown’s season-opener start bother him because the veteran knew the defense would use more than two safeties at some point.
Instead, he was ready to come in and do what he could to help the Wolverines succeed on the field, whether it was dropping Richardson on a screen pass or trying to solidify a questionable secondary.
The Michigan defense has drawn a lot of heat for the 0-2 start, and Englemon’s ready to take on a larger leadership role.
“I just got be more of a leader in the secondary and on the defense,” Englemon said. “(I need to) get people to understand the importance of the little things that’s making a big difference come game time.”
Englemon kept pointing to those “little things” as the reason for the secondary’s struggles, and he knows it’s up to him and fellow senior Jamar Adams to instill that mindset in the young guys on defense.
Carr thinks Englemon can fill that role.
“He’s been through some ups and downs, and he’s been through some difficult times in his career here,” Carr said. “But he’s really a solid guy of strong character and a guy that really takes his role seriously. He’s a team guy. I hope he continues to play like he has.”