Brady Hoke wrapped up his first spring session as Michigan's coach on Saturday as the team held its spring game at the Big House. Backup quarterback Devin Gardner and the first-team defense registered a 14-7 win against starting quarterback Denard Robinson and the first-team offense.
Here's a quick snapshot of the Michigan spring game:
Quotable: "We've made some baby steps and at times bigger steps during the spring, but we've got a long way to go. Our summer is going to be awfully important as a team. The gains we need to make strength-wise, the gains we need to make as far as technique and the fundamentals we need to play the game with. We're glad we don't open up tomorrow." -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
After a 55-yard run on his first play from scrimmage, Robinson had some struggles. Robinson unofficially completed only 5 of 14 passes for 60 yards and had an interception negated by a penalty. He finished with 60 rushing yards on six rushes and had a couple of fumbles (none lost). Although Robinson's performance didn't inspire confidence among some Michigan fans, it's way too early to judge him as he's transitioning to a new offensive system. "We didn't run Denard very much, but in the real world, he'll probably run more than he ran today," offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "We're making a transformation here, and we're not going to learn about this transformation by the quarterback running every play."
Most of the positives Saturday came on defense, as Greg Mattison's group made several big plays. Safety Carvin Johnson recorded two interceptions and freshman linebacker Jake Ryan had an interception returned for a touchdown against Devin Gardner. Ryan also applied pressure several times in the scrimmage. "It was good to see some active guys," Hoke said. "We had some pressure at times which I thought was pretty good."
Standout defensive tackle Mike Martin saw some time at rush end Saturday after practicing there at times during the second half of spring ball. Martin is Michigan's most talented defender, and the coaches want to maximize his ability. "He showed the ability to rush the passer," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison told reporters. "We'll do that from time to time with our defense, we'll move guys around so they get better matchups. We've got a lot more we haven't done yet that is going to be good for a couple of those guys."
The kicking game remains a concern as Seth Broekhuizen missed a 31-yard attempt and Brendan Gibbons hit the upright from 48 yards out. Michigan must figure out a way to upgrade this area before the season kicks off Sept. 3.