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December 27, 2012Florida native and Michigan guard Ricky Barnum is back in his home state for his final game in maize and blue. He and his teammates are preparing for a South Carolina defense featuring one of the nation's top defensive players in end Jadeveon Clowney.
Barnum won't be matched up with Clowney - that task will belong primarily to left tackle Taylor Lewan - but Clowney has got the entire line's attention, Barnum said.
"He's a great player - athletic, fast, strong," Barnum said. "He's probably one of the best defensive ends we'll face all this year. He causes problems. He can spin; he can bull rush. There are a lot of tendencies there to give away we have to study."
Lewan has been projected as a first round NFL pick if he chooses to come out this year. Barnum is among those anxious to see how Lewan and Clowney do head to head.
"That's a match up everybody's waiting to see," he said. "Taylor's a hell of a player, and so is Clowney. But we're all taking it personally because we all want to win this game. It's a challenge. We'll accept that challenge and the offensive line will be ready to play."
"It's something I'm used to being from Florida - it was very fun, but at the same time serious," he said. "Being we played at night, often times it rains so we did kind of practice in our own gyms, our high school gyms. Then we actually had tennis shoes."
"The biggest difference I would say, these coaches, they are great coaches. They are family oriented and they are very good motivators," he said. "In the past we kind of didn't have that.
"There's a serious effort in them teaching us the Michigan tradition, what Michigan men are and the Michigan men that came before us - hard nosed, tough and scrappy."
Winning the last game is big for the entire team, he added.
"It's very important to me. Sure it's not the Rose Bowl, but it's important to a lot of guys from Florida, playing in front of a lot of family members," Barnum said. "I have 50 some tickets. It's very important to me playing in front of my family."