Don Brown Gives a Definitive Breakdown of the Defensive Line in Fall Camp

carlo kemp michigan

Don Brown Gives a Definitive Breakdown of the Defensive Line in Fall Camp

Football

Don Brown Gives a Definitive Breakdown of the Defensive Line in Fall Camp

The strongest side of the ball for Michigan is obviously the defensive side, and while it was the pass defense that ended 2017 as the nation’s best, arguably the strongest part of the Wolverines defense is the defensive line.

And while the talk is centered around the edge players — and rightfully so, given the production and ability of anchor Rashan Gary and weak-side end Chase Winovich — there’s plenty of other contributors to look out for heading into 2018.

Brown starts off with the two names we’ve heard a lot about since spring. Michael Dwumfour has gathered pretty much every Michigan football headline not related to Shea Patterson, as his quick get-off and ability to step in and do very similar things to Mo Hurst a year ago has supposedly been uncanny.

Kwity Paye is a player who was described by coaches this spring as being “one big muscle,” and would have gotten more playing time a year ago, if Winovich wasn’t so determined to stay on the field as much as possible.

Dwumfour’s position inside is set, but Brown says that Paye is working now at both end spots, and is more likely to see the field more often, given his newfound positional flexibility.

“Both (Kwity Paye and Michael Dwumfour) playing extremely, extremely well,” “Both guys are going to be counted on to play minutes, big minutes. Mike Dwumfour had a really exciting spring. From a coaching standpoint, you walk away and – ‘Damn, that guy has really stepped into it!’

“Kwity can play either defensive end position, which, obviously, position flexibility is a big deal, because it gives you a chance to play at both positions. Still have Rashan there, still have Chase Winovich there – obviously playing at a very, very solid, solid level.”

While those might be the (soon-to-be) known quantities, there’s a bevy of other players who Michigan fans might not be as familiar with.

We’ve seen glimpses from nose tackle Aubrey Solomon (the former five-star) and Lawrence Marshall, who’s now heading into his fifth year. But Brown also revealed that one true freshman is likely looking at early playing time, made possible by another player’s move from the edge to the inside.

“We’ve got Luiji Vilain,” Brown added. “This Aidan Hutchinson is going to be a good player. Can we get him ready? I don’t know. My lean is with Coach Mattison’s tutelage, he’ll be ready to go. So that’s a good thing. Aubrey Solomon – all those guys. Lo Marshall is back – remember, he had the injury in the spring. So he’s back playing. Carlo Kemp we moved full-time inside.

“So, as you said, we’ve got a number of guys that we can play up front, which is a beautiful thing – to locate and let guys go in there, and empty the tank. ‘Come on out, get a sip, and go back.'”

And while everyone’s been talking about Aubrey Solomon at the nose tackle position, especially since he started late in 2017, Brown cautions against counting out fifth-year DT Bryan Mone, who he says is a big part — literally — of what Michigan wants to do in the middle this season.

“And I don’t want to leave out Bryan Mone, because he’s been a stalwart in the middle. He’ll be a first and second down guy for us. And expect good things out of him. He’s like an immovable object. You just put him there and – good luck! It’s like a fence post that’s been cemented into the ground, because he’s not moving.”

Those are the known players, but there’s a handful who are looking at making an impact still this fall camp.

Big things were expected a year ago from early enrollee edge player Donovan Jeter, who showed major, major flashes in the 2017 spring game. However, an injury sidelined the Pennsylvania native, and he missed the entire season.

Now, he’s healthy and bulked up, and has moved inside to nose tackle, Brown confirmed. Along with fellow second-year player Deron Irving-Bey, the two are working on becoming those next level guys in the rotation, but Brown says they still have some work to do to get there.

However, they’re starting to show glimpses that they are catching on.

“Coming, and yeah, he’s inside,” Brown said. “He’s playing at nose. Coming. Deron Irving-Bey is at that level, too. For those guys, it’s still trying to figure some things out, but you’re starting to see the arrow go from flatline to turning slightly up. Obviously, we’re looking for improvement from those guys.”

Fall camp rages on, with full attention shifting to Notre Dame on August 27. The Wolverines will kick off the season taking on the Irish in South Bend on September 1 at 7:30PM.

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