The biggest bombshell from the first week of camp was the announcement from Brady Hoke that Michigan will have a free night scrimmage open to the public on August 16. In past seasons the team has had occasional open practices for donors but nothing close to this during fall camp.
“They want to play in front of people,” said Hoke.
He also cited the desire to get players acclimated to the atmosphere of a night game while providing a unique opportunity for Michigan fans. The first 300 season ticket holders will be eligible to get a pass to watch the scrimmage from the sidelines. The deadline to get tickets is 5 p.m on August 13, and fans can either register online or go to the Michigan ticket office in person.
The scrimmage might also be a way to generate ticket sales for a home slate of games with only one marquee opponent (Penn State). The athletic department has been promoting the availability of general tickets, and this game is another opportunity to remind undecided fans what they’ll be missing.
Delano Hill Injury
The first injury reported from camp is defensive back Delano Hill, who broke his jaw bumping into another player during drills. He’s currently lifting weights and doing conditioning but is restricted from contact in hopes he’ll still be available for the season opener.
Hoke said that Brandon Watson, Dymonte Thomas, Jeremy Clark, Jarrod Wilson, and AJ Pearson are getting additional reps in Hill’s absence.
Jabrill Peppers Watch
Brady Hoke shot down speculation that the injury to Delano Hill would accelerate freshman Jabrill Peppers into the rotation at safety.
“Right now it’s strictly keeping him at nickel, that’s a unique position,” said Hoke. “The positive thing is he’s a pretty good athlete, he has good recovery skills, so he may take a step the wrong way but he has makeup speed.”
Even his teammates are anticipating his impact despite having not seen him play in full pads yet.
“He's a high-energy guy,” said defensive back Blake Countess. “He had lots of talent in high school, and we’re hoping he can come in and help us.”
Linebacker Brennen Beyer echoed the sentiment. “He seems like he can be a great football player, it’ll be fun to see him put the pads on.”
Countess: Team Hungry
Defensive back Blake Countess gave Michigan fans hope that the team has no intention of repeating last season’s 7-6 record.
“The temperament of the team is different, the team is hungry, this is the hungriest I’ve seen the team since I’ve been here. ... I feel really good about this team.”
He also said that the shuffling of the defensive coaching duties had made a big difference in practice and meeting time compared to last season.
According to Hoke, the offensive line is coming along. “They really have done a nice job. ... [I’m] happy with how they finished summer conditioning.”
No word on a starting lineup yet, but running back Joe Kerridge has observed that “...players are learning at a faster pace than last year. Old players are helping younger ones.”
Running back Drake Johnson (ACL), defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins (ACL), offensive guard Joey Burzynski (ACL) and offensive tackle Erik Magnuson (shoulder surgery) have all been cleared to resume full contact.
Tight end Jake Butt (ACL) has not been cleared but is making progress towards a return later this season.
Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via Press Conferences or in person.
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