Expect more linebacker blitzing from Michigan football in 2022

·3 min read

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Without Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo out on the edges, chances are Michigan football will look to get pressure on the passer from other vantages. That means enhanced responsibility for the linebacking corps.

New defensive coordinator Jesse Minter comes from the same mold as Mike Macdonald, as both worked under Wink Martindale in the Baltimore Ravens organization. The defense is predicated on frequently disguising the pressure, which the Wolverines did a year ago, though you generally had an idea of who was bringing it. Without the aforementioned tandem, expect a lot of different personnel packages with different players bringing the heat, instead of being as heavily reliant on the edge rushers.

For linebackers coach George Helow, he says bring it on, because he feels like his group can handle the challenge.

“When we hit a blitz, we’re going to hit it with speed and intensity and go. Jesse (Minter) calls it,” Helow said. “Other than that, I feel like we got guys that are trained and ready to roll. I know we lost some guys but there there are guys that were behind those guys last year that we lost it did really well, too. So just excited to go out there and watch these guys get an opportunity to play, go compete.”

One player who will be asked to do a lot more this season is Junior Colson, the second-year player out of Brentwood, Tennessee via Haiti. Colson got his first taste of college football a year ago, and he was honored for his play as a freshman All-American.

Helow anticipates that he’ll be a factor in the pass rush from the inside linebacker position, and he’s confident that he’ll show out at the position in general.

“He’s a big, powerful dude that can run so, if he’s hitting the pressure he’s going,” Helow said. “He’s good, he’s comfortable with all the closing of the front rules and setting the front. And every day I feel like he’s continuing to get better and more confident. The more reps he gets in practice and in games will allow him to get better at it, but really feel good about Junior.”

For Colson, Helow really likes what he’s seen, and not just on the field.

He’s witnessed a different level of studiousness, as well as leadership. And he’s a guy who learns quickly and is able to implement the coaching once he understands the concepts.

“He’s had an awesome camp and just like his energy,” Helow said. “He’s a big guy, big-chested dude, he takes really good notes. He takes stuff from the classroom and applies it onto the practice field all throughout fall camp. He knows what’s going on. Just really excited for Junior and looking forward to really see what he can do this year.”

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Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire