Brennen Beyer was 14 years old and a freshman in high school attending the 2007 Michigan season opener, expecting, like everyone else, a blowout victory over Appalachian State when one of the sport's great upsets occurred.
"The field goal at the end … just shaking my head, knowing we lost that game. It was a bad feeling," said Beyer, who watched with dismay as Jason Gingell's 37-yard field goal was blocked as time expired.
U-M has taken some heat for scheduling Appalachian State, but there is noting that can be done now. Athletics Director David Brandon has not commented on the game recently, but when it was announced, he had plenty to say on the matter.
Because he was there, because he grew up a Michigan fan, Beyer has greater incentive than most of his teammates to 'settle' the score when the Mountaineers show up in Ann Arbor Aug. 30.
"I understand where both teams are coming from, how people see this game," said the Plymouth, Mich., native. "Being at that game, I saw what happened so I understand it."
Michigan opened up preseason camp today with an afternoon practice, and Beyer said he and his teammates would begin a more thorough examination of ASU as the Wolverines prepare for their first game.
For Beyer, a senior, this is his last go-round, and he's anxiously anticipating his final fall camp, his final first game, his final everything.
"It's kind of crazy, just how fast it goes," he said. "Being my last year, my senior year, I am as excited as ever. I can't wait to get playing."
The 6-3, 256-pound Beyer would start at strongside end if the Maize and Blue began play this week. It is his third position in four years after he spent his rookie season at strongside linebacker, his sophomore year at weakside end, his third year at SAM linebacker again and then late in 2013 at strongside end.
"I'm definitely feeling comfortable," he said. "Being at strongside I can really hone in on the technique. I know what's expected of me and I can just grow at that position through camp and throughout the season."
Beyer has appeared in 37 games defensively, including 21 starts, but has only two career sacks and four tackles for loss. He understands that to be an every-down player for the Wolverines this year, he has to pressure the QB more consistently. Everyone up front must.
"A big defensive line emphasis is getting to the quarterback," he said. "We've been pushing each other in our pass-rush drills. Everyone is expected to get more than we have [the past few years]."
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