Black sees progress on the lines
Written by Matt Pargoff   

One of the biggest areas of concern for Michigan going into the spring was the progress on the interior of the offensive line, where the Wolverines had to  replace three starters from a year ago. With very little depth and experience to accomplish that goal, it could be a major stumbling block for the Maize and Blue. Going against that group every day in practice though, senior defensive tackle Jibreel Black has been impressed with what he’s seen.

“I think they’re coming along pretty well,” stated Black. “I think Taylor [Lewan’s] doing a good job of making sure they’re doing what they need to do and continuing to move forward from each practice.

“I think [Kyle] Kalis is stepping up pretty well. Both of the guards. [Ben] Braden and Kalis are stepping up pretty well from last year to this year … They’re pretty athletic for as big as they are, so you’ve got to bring it every time.”

While Black had insight on the progress of offensive line, his main focus is on improving in his own area of play. A week ago, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said that there has been a major focus during the spring on improving the pass rushing skills up front, explaining that he wants that to become a hallmark of the Michigan defense.

“You see glimpses of it every day,” noted Black. “You see glimpses of us getting better as pass rushers every single day. If we keep building on that, we’re going to be successful.”

Last year, Black finished with five tackles for a loss, which included three sacks. While two of those sacks came at the close of the season against Ohio State and South Carolina, a play late in the game in the Outback Bowl where he missed the chance to bring down the quarterback still lingers as a sore point for him.

“It’s actually the screensaver on my phone,” he noted. “I see it every day. [It’s a reminder to] keep going out there, keep going and get it. I won’t miss it again.

“It was a setback. I just learn from it and continue to move forward from it.”

For more from Black on his role as a leader and the progress of sophomore linebacker James Ross III, watch the video below.

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