Michigan tight end Kevin Koger's career is winding down, with only two days remaining until he's no longer a U-M football player. He and center David Molk consoled each other a bit on the sad reality Sunday, vowing to make the most of their last few days as Wolverines.
The program will be in good shape after he leaves, Koger insisted, and he'll be tuned in.
"I'll be watching every game," Koger said. "I feel so invested in the program and the university itself. I feel like I have no choice but to watch every game."
Koger named a few he liked to step up into more prominent roles in 2012:
Redshirt freshman receiver Jerald Robinson. "We're losing a few seniors in the receiving corps, but we do have a lot. I think Jerald could definitely contribute at the slot receiver position," Koger said. "He's definitely embraced his role on the scout team. I've talked to him a lot this year. He's ready to step in and giving our defense a great look down there.
Freshman running back Thomas Rawls: "I've been talking about Thomas Rawls a lot," Koger noted. "I know this is still a crowded backfield, but he really contributed. With the loss of some of Michael Shaw next year, I think he can step in and take that role.
Rawls has been much better with his decision making, he added.
"He's not running into as many people running the ball as he did when he first got here, from that aspect," Koger said. "You see that from younger backs - they don't see the holes as well as the other guys."
Finally, veteran Darryl Stonum has responded well to his redshirt year stemming from offseason problems and continues to give the defense fits on the scout team.
"He's been great for the defense," Koger said. "He's embraced what happened and grown from it.
"They talk all the time about how great a look he gives them on defense. I was talking to [cornerback] J.T. Floyd yesterday or two days ago about how he got beat a couple times by Stonum. We've got a lot of guys giving great looks."
The Wolverines met their 9:30 curfew on New Year's Eve, and none of them complained about the early check-in time.
"We got a lot of good sleep, so it's for the better," Koger said with a smile.
Koger and Steve Watson watched the fireworks from a reflection in a window.
"We were on the wrong side of the hotel," he said. "But I was getting Happy New Year texts at 11:00 from people back home. I forgot about the time difference. I was asleep a little after 12."
Virginia Tech's defense is similar to Michigan State's in one respect.
"The amount of risks they take," he said. "They blitz a lot of guys and move a lot of guys around. It kind of reminds me of Michigan State how they blitzed up the middle. They love bringing the corner blitz from the boundary, so we have to be ready for that."
Koger has one more semester and a full load of classes before he graduates. He'll split his time between classes and training for the NFL, but hasn't yet decided if he'll accept an invitation to the East-West Shrine Bowl for seniors.