Freshman Ojemudia pushes for more snaps

Michigan had a shift at its rush end spot on Saturday where sophomore Brennen Beyer and freshman Mario Ojemudia appeared to receive more playing time than sophomore Frank Clark, who had taken the starting job when Beyer injured his knee.

Clark had played well, appearing to be in the opposing backfield often when he was on the field. Now, though, he has fallen back into a three-man rotation at the position.

“It goes by who has the best week of practice and who has throughout practice been accountable for their position,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “Not that Frank wasn’t but Brennen Beyer did some things very well in practice on the run and therefore we wanted him to go in that role.

“Then we tweaked our sub package to try and move guys around a little bit and get more speed on the field. It had nothing to do with Frank not doing well. It’s just that there’s three pretty good football players there and we’re rotating all three of them.”

Initially, it figured Beyer and Clark would split reps there this season, but Ojemudia has pushed both for snaps consistently since he arrived on campus this summer. In doing so, he has turned into one of the freshmen who has seen the most playing time.

“For a young guy, he’s a very good technician,” Mattison said. “He’s obviously had very good coaching in high school and does very well with his hands. He’s good with his footwork and is a very intelligent young man.

“He plays very fast and it’s a good example of a young man who understands the defense now that it’s been the same defense for five, six weeks.”

As a position group, they’ve been productive, combining for 24 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Ojemudia has done the majority of that work, making 10 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss along with the sack and fumble recovery at the position.