2012 Season Countdown: #40 Nathan Brink

Tag: Nathan Brink

21Jul 2012
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2012 Season Countdown: #40 Nathan Brink

Nathan Brink

Name: Nathan Brink
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 263 lbs.
High school: Holland (MI) Christian
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #67
Last year: I did not rank Brink.  He played in 11 games and made 1 tackle for loss.

Brink was a bit of a surprise last year, at least to me.  On a somewhat thin defensive line, the walk-on strongside end was touted during the spring and summer as a potential contributor by defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who said that Brink was good enough to be in the two-deep at any of Mattison’s college stops (including Michigan, Notre Dame, and Florida).  I guess Mattison wasn’t lying, so maybe I should put more stock in what he says about personnel . . . but Brink played in eleven games and made just one tackle, so . . . yeah, I’m still not sure.

Whenever I saw Brink in the game last season, he seemed to struggle to get off the ball.  He was getting pushed around and couldn’t seem to get off blocks.  Of course, he was only a 260-ish pound redshirt sophomore, so maybe some added weight and strength will make the difference.  I have questions about whether he can be a productive player, but Mattison says he can, so here he sits at #40 on the list.  Craig Roh will probably start at the 5-tech position with no clear pecking order behind him, so the opportunity is there for Brink to step in, along with redshirt freshman Keith Heitzman and a few incoming freshmen.

Prediction: Backup defensive end

12Dec 2011
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Mailbag: Roster Questions for Next Year

Michael Schofield (#75) celebrates with Devin Gardner

I was going through the could be depth chart for next year and I have a ton of questions for you.

Cox stays or goes?? I’m thinking he doesn’t come back

TE is going to be a mess next year. Your thoughts??

Does Schofield move back to OT?

What side will Magnuson, Braden and Williams play?

Is Justice Hayes a WR or RB?

Reading the Jerry Montgomery article scares me about Brink. Can he put on 20 lbs or so and be half effective??

Thanks, love the blog.

Thanks for the e-mail, Randy.  I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

My gut tells me that redshirt junior running back Michael Cox will not return in 2012.  He was limited to special teams this season and did not see a single snap on offense.  While I think he has the talent to play at Michigan, he obviously hasn’t done what it takes to get on the field more consistently, whether it’s in the classroom or on the practice field.  It’s somewhat rare that a guy who plays that little as a redshirt junior gets a scholarship for a fifth year.  If Cox gets his degree, though, I would not be surprised to see him transfer to a MAC-level school and play somewhere next season.  The kid has talent, whether people see it or not.

I’m not too worried about Michigan’s tight end situation.  An elite tight end can be a great weapon, but you can still have a decent team without a great tight end.  Kevin Koger is not as good as most Michigan fans think he is; he’s above average but that’s about it.  Michigan will almost surely take a step back at the position, but I don’t think it will affect the team greatly.  As a blocker he’ll be missed, but he’s only caught 21 passes for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns.  That production is roughly par for the course ever since Bennie Joppru suited up in 2002.  With players like Tyler Ecker, Tim Massaquoi, and Carson Butler in between, the performance of Michigan’s offense suffered little – and neither Massaquoi or Butler was a great blocker, either.  The combination of fifth year senior Brandon Moore, redshirt sophomore Ricardo Miller, freshman Devin Funchess, and freshman A.J. Williams should be fine.

I do think redshirt sophomore Michael Schofield will move back to offensive tackle in 2012.  Michigan has lots of options on the interior between Ricky Barnum, Rocko Khoury, Patrick Omameh, Jack Miller, Chris Bryant, and Elliott Mealer.  At the tackle positions, it’s just Taylor Lewan, Schofield, and freshmen, unless the coaches want to shake things up and move Omameh to tackle.

Incoming freshman Erik Magnuson looks like a future right tackle to me, but based on the available talent, he will probably play on the left side at Michigan.  Ben Braden looks like a prototypical right tackle.  A.J. Williams is being recruited as a tight end, so he’ll play on whichever side the formation requires.

Freshman Justice Hayes has been playing running back in practice.  Some insiders suggest that he will end up at slot receiver sometime in the future.  Personally, I have never been high on Hayes as a running back.  He’s a slightly bigger version of Vincent Smith, someone who can catch passes and do okay when put in open space.

Can Nathan Brink put on 20 lbs.?  Sure.  That’s not an unbelievable amount of weight to add in an off-season.  Craig Roh has put on about 20 pounds in each of the past two off-seasons.  Can Brink be effective once he puts on that weight?  I don’t know.  He has been manhandled this year, and it’s hard to predict good things when he’s been pushed backward with consistency.  I hope he can turn into all the good things that Jerry Montgomery and Greg Mattison have predicted for him, but that’s a prediction I’m not willing to make.