In the second season under Brady Hoke, the Wolverines finished 8-5 and 6-2 in the conference. The Wolverines were second in the conference in total defense, only allowing 298.5 yards per game on the season. They were first in the conference in scoring defense, only giving up 16.6 points per game which really helped them out all year long.
Greg Mattison has been as advertised coaching the defense in Ann Arbor from his days as the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator. While the Wolverines have greatly improved over the first two years under Brady Hoke, they suffered a major setback in spring.
Linebacker Jake Ryan, who was the defense’s Mr. Everything, tore his ACL in spring practices. This is a huge blow for the Wolverines, as Ryan was one of the most terrorizing defenders in the entire country. There is still a possibility of him returning late in the season, depending on how his rehab goes.
Despite that, the Wolverines still have a lot of great talent returning for 2013. On the defensive line, Frank Clark and Chris Wormley look to hold down the end spots while Quinton Washington and Jibreel Black play the inside spots.
At linebacker, experienced outside linebacker Cam Gordon returns with many starts in his career. Desmond Morgan will play the middle linebacker spot but will split time with Joe Bolden. At the other outside spot, James Ross III had a solid freshman season and should be really good in 2013.
In the secondary, Blake Countess returns as one of the top defensive backs in the Big Ten and Ramon Taylor will play the other corner spot. For safeties, veteran strong safety Thomas Gordon returns and at the free safety position is Jarrod Wilson, who is one of the most promising young players on the Wolverines roster.