The Michigan Wolverines are looking to make a run at the Big Ten title in 2014 and possibly save head coach Brady Hoke‘s job in the process. While much has been made about the steps the offense needs to take this fall, the defense also has significant room to improve, particularly in the pass rush. The team finished in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten last season with 25 sacks as a team and must improve on that number if they hope to make a move in the conference title race. Can Frank Clark step up and lead the way?
Clark was originally recruited to Michigan to play linebacker but has bulked up since making the move to the defensive line. At 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds, Clark is still a bit undersized for a defensive end but more than makes up for it with the athleticism that got him signed as a linebacker in the first place. That athleticism helps to cover up some of the inexperience Clark has on the defensive line and helped him record a team-high five sacks in 2013.
This season, he will be asked to do much more as the leader of the defensive front. With another year of bulk and experience under his belt, Clark should push for double-digit sacks in 2014 and could quietly put together a case to be the Big Ten’s best defensive end. That will be a very hotly contested race, however, as the conference boasts a deep class of pass-rush specialists in 2014 but Clark has the motor to make an impact regardless.
For Michigan to improve on the defensive side of the ball, they must improve their pass rush in 2014. Frank Clark has the skill set to be a difference maker for the Wolverines’ defense this fall and must step up as a leader to get it done. Will he be enough to return Michigan to the thick of the Big Ten title chase?
The Michigan football schedule will have the Wolverines begin their season on August 30 against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines will play Conference games against Minnesota, Rutgers, Penn State, Michigan State, Indiana, Northwestern, Maryland and Ohio State. Michigan went 7-6 and 3-5 in Big Ten games last season.