Cam Gordon was the big winner last spring at Michigan's spring practices, switching sides of the ball and securing the starting safety position. Nothing has changed this year, as Gordon, according to defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, has been the most improved player on the defense after six spring practices. Gordon is working at strong side linebacker, his fourth position since arriving to Ann Arbor in the fall of 2009.
Mattison spoke with the media Wednesday afternoon and praised just about every player he could during the 20-minute press conference. But he saved his highest praise for Gordon, a redshirt sophomore who played OK during the 2010 season.
Mattison also praised ... well, Mattison praised just about everyone. You would've thought he was talking about Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the Baltimore Ravens defense rather than a Michigan unit that was downright awful a year ago. Is this honest optimism on Mattison's part? We'll see, but I do think the defense will be better this year. Perhaps dramatically better. But there's a lot of work yet to be done.
In terms of position battles, Will Campbell and Quinton Washington are "neck and neck" at one of the tackle positions, and Jibreel Black is pushing Craig Roh hard at one of the end positions. My guess is you'll see some heavy rotation along the line this year.
Wish I could post more, but Toledo's WNIT semifinal is about to start.