It was back to the gridiron in Ann Arbor on Saturday as Michigan held their spring game. Although, if you were looking for a back and forth battle on both sides of the ball this game wasn't for you.
In more of a glorified scrimmage, the Wolverines 1st and 2nd team offense went against the 1st and 2nd team defense for four quarters, each with a running clock of 15 minutes.
Starting quarterback Denard Robinson played only one series, completing two of three passes for 13 yards while recovering a fumble from a rough exchange with the center. Devin Gardner and Russell Bellomy took most of the snaps, both displaying their talents through the air and on the ground.
Running back Thomas Rawls scored the game's only two touchdowns, while Matt Wile made a field goal. Afterward, head coach Brady Hoke focused on what went wrong and what needed to be improved before next season.
"We put three snaps on the ground. I don't care who it is at quarterback nor do I care who it is at center. 2nd and long we jumped offsides defensively. I didn't feel [we performed] tackling like we need to...that's concerning. But in the body of work, their were some awfully good things in the course of the spring."
Northwest Ohio was represented in the form of Elliott Mealer (Wauseon), Jordan Kovacs (Clay) and Jack Miller (St. John's). Both Mealer and Kovacs are heading into their senior seasons. Mealer will face tough competition for a starting spot on the offensive line, while Kovacs should bring plenty of the leadership to the secondary. The Curtice, OH native reflected on his time and how he's improved since his arrival in Ann Arbor.
"Light years ahead of where I was before...but I know where my roots are. I know what got me here, I know it's not all athleticism. It's being a student of the game and it's being a hard worker and that's what kind of always kept me hungry."
As for Miller, the Perrysburg native redshirted his freshman year. Coach Hoke see's potential.
"Everyday he's learning how to play center at the Division I level. I think there's been improvement in some footwork and the things that you look at...from a technical side of it...I think Jack's made progress," said Hoke, who knows there is still work to be done. "I think two of the three [botched] snaps, were snaps that him and the quarterback...usually a matter of it's both their faults but we can't have that."
Before the game, former Michigan players participated in a flag football game. One alumni who was present but didn't participate was Desmond Howard. The former Heisman Trophy winner turned ESPN analyst watched from the sidelines and joined the media for post game interviews with coach Hoke and players.
The game raised $260,888 for Mott Children's Hospital.