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April 2, 2013Michigan fans meet Brian Cleary. The redshirt freshman has taken over as U-M's No. 2 quarterback this spring in the absence of the injured Russell Bellomy, head coach Brady Hoke said Tuesday.
"We'll move forward and keep developing Brian Cleary and those guys that are behind Devin Gardner," Hoke said, when asked about the impact of losing Bellomy. "You're a little concerned. We have to keep Devin healthy."
Bellomy suffered an ACL injury last week during practice and will likely miss all of his redshirt sophomore campaign.
"You feel terrible for him," Hoke said. "He's disappointed, like we all are, but he's doing fine [emotionally]."
Bellomy will undergo surgery once the winter term has finished and he has taken his final exams. He is the second Wolverine this spring (redshirt junior linebacker Jake Ryan) to suffer an ACL injury and joins junior cornerback Blake Countess, who went down in the 2012 opener, as the third significant ACL victim for the Wolverines in the past eight months.
Hoke said Michigan tales plenty of precautions with its athletes but that injuries sometimes just happen.
In the meantime, the Wolverines are prepping the 6-3, 199-pound Cleary to be Gardner's backup until true freshman Shane Morris arrives this summer, or maybe even after Morris steps onto campus.
"Cleary's doing fine. He's learning. He's young. He's a redshirt freshman," said Hoke. "But he's very intelligent. Smart. Learns well. Has a good arm. I'm not going to say he's throwing bullets but he has a good arm, good accuracy."
Morris was thought to be a potential candidate to redshirt but that appears unlikely now, though Hoke wouldn't rule it out.
"I think you'll find out as the season goes on," he said.
While Bellomy's injury and Michigan's void at quarterback behind Gardner dominated most of Tuesday's press conference, there were some positives Hoke accentuated, including an emerging threat at running back - redshirt sophomore Justice Hayes.
"Justice Hayes has had a very, very good spring," Hoke said. "He missed a couple of days, but he's played hard. He's learned the offense better. I think he's pass-protecting better. He's bigger, so he's a little more physical.
"I think [redshirt freshman] Drake Johnson has done a nice job being that bigger back. And running physical, seeing holes. And then [junior] Thomas Rawls has had some big runs and he's finished runs."
At safety, meanwhile, sophomore Jarrod Wilson has stepped up.
"He's done a really, really good job," Hoke said. "Jarrod is very sharp, smart, and physical. Plays the field well. Plays the ball well. I like how he's played."