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Michigan Football Notes: Expect To See More Of Rashan Gary

Rashan Gary had 1.5 TFLs and two quarterback hurries last game. (Lon Horwedel)

Michigan freshman Rashan Gary continues to impress his teammates with how quickly he’s picking up the defense. He could be in line for his first start Saturday against Penn State as a result.

Gary replaced redshirt sophomore Chase Winovich and was dominant at weakside end. He’s now racked up 13 tackles, 3.5 for loss after a 1.5-tackle for loss game with two quarterback hurries Saturday, including one hurry that capped a series he essentially won himself by dominating on the edge.

“He did a great job,” redshirt junior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “We have some big guys on the outside. With him and [fifth-year senior end] Chris [Wormley] out there we’re always going to be good on the edge. That kind of strength and speed, freakish guys out there .... it’s great for us. I will continue to help us.”

Especially if senior end Taco Charlton returns, as expected, but Gary will play more, regardless. He played more than 40 snaps against Colorado and will continue to see more.

“He had a great game against Colorado. He’s a great player for a young guy,” redshirt junior linebacker Mike McCray said. “I expect for him to get better each and every game. You can see in practice, he goes hard. You can see the improvement.”

McCray, meanwhile, didn’t have his best day last Saturday, and he was the first to admit it. The linebackers want to be aggressive – defensive coordinator Don Brown demands it – but they were too quick to jump on play action in the first half, leaving the middle of the field open for many slant passes.

“They were doing play action really heavy with an emphasis to stop the run first,” McCray said. “We adjusted in the second half. They got plays they wanted in the first half, but I felt like we adjusted well and came out with the victory.

“I feel like can play a lot better, but it’s all about the team winning games. That’s what it comes down to. … The play action, linebackers have got to fit the run first, but they told us to be patient don’t just run up, be patient.”

Keep in mind, McCray was only starting his third game and will continue to improve. Most importantly, he’s “100 percent” and feeling as good as he has health-wise since he’s been here, he said.

The defense, meanwhile, has yet to reach its peak, he said, though they’re “on the way there.”

Hurst agreed.

“I don’t think you’ll see the best of it for a little while until everyone is together, back and healthy,” he said. “Thee are definitely better things to come. We’ll get closer as the season goes on and hopefully be playing our best defense at the end.”