Sep 17, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines safety Jordan Kovacs (32) points as Eastern Michigan Eagles quarterback Alex Gillett (8) prepares for the snap in the first quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame Opponent Preview: Michigan Wolverines Defense

Michigan

September 22, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. EST

Last Meeting: Notre Dame 31- Michigan 35

Jordan Kovacs, S, Senior- Kovacs was second in tackles last year with 75 total, 8 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception. He is said to be the leader of this defense and it has showed this season, leading the team in tackles with 23. When a safety is leading your team in tackles it can mean two things, either he is a really good safety and/or the linebackers/linemen aren’t making plays. It is a little of both, Kovacs is a 4 year starter for the Wolverines and has been 2nd in tackles every year, but in the previous 3 years he has always had a linebacker that made more tackles than him. The Wolverines have a young linebacker core with two sophomores that tend to over pursue at times. Leaving Kovacs to make many of the plays and is by far the most consistent tackler on the team. He has been All-Big Ten honorable mention twice in his career. Michigan likes to play him up in the box and bring him on some zone blitz’s.

Kenny Demens, LB, Senior- Demens led the team in tackles last year with 94, had 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. This is his third year starting both outside and inside linebacker, but he did get playing time in 12 games as a freshman. This year he has recorded 12 tackles, but no tackles for loss. At 6’1’’ 242 pounds he is an average to below average linebacker size wise. He tends to over pursue on plays and below average in coverage. He doesn’t have great lateral movement, since he is more of a downhill hard hitting linebacker. If some of the Notre Dame receivers and running backs make a cut on this guy he will more than likely miss. He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention last year, but hasn’t played very well yet this far. If Notre Dame lets this guy play downhill they could be in trouble, but if they make him move laterally he will be in trouble.

William Campbell, DT, Senior-Campbell is a physically imposing Defensive Tackle at 6’5’’ and 308 pounds. He can really clog up the middle of the line. This is his first year starting on the defensive line, but has played in three previous seasons. This year he leads defensive lineman with 12 tackles and 1 sack against Alabama. He is good with his hands often using them to dip and rip past the offensive lineman. Michigan has also been using him at defensive end when they are in a 3-4. Campbell is an average defensive lineman that can cause problems because of his size.

Michigan is returning 8 starters from last year on defense. They lost most notably their All-Big Ten defensive tackle Mike Martin. He was the captain of last year’s team and the anchor of the defensive line. Michigan’s strength on defense is their secondary led by Kovacs, but they tend to zone blitz a lot with the secondary. I think we will see more dump offs to the running backs and quick screens to the receivers this week. Blitzing a young quarterback in Golson could cause some problems but I think he will use his legs to get out of pressure.

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