Brady Hoke and the Wolverines open against Appalachian State on Aug. 30. (John T. Greilick / Detroit News)
Ann Arbor — So now it’s down to fine-tuning for game week.
Michigan will break preseason camp on Saturday, and the players will rest Sunday and Monday before heading into preparations for the season opener against Appalachian State on Aug. 30 at Michigan Stadium.
“Their mindset has been awfully good, and the competing and challenging each other every day has been really good for us,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Friday evening. “The competition has been very positive at every position. Excited about how they’ve come out and competed.”
Hoke said the final practice of camp will be fairly short and focused on kicking in Michigan Stadium. The practice also will be about how the team approaches the game-day setting and details.
He remains mum on when — or if — the team will elect captains.
As he has throughout camp, Hoke has reiterated that the leadership has been strong.
“When they voted four guys out of each class to be a representative by class, it’s been a positive,” he said. “You can see it in the whole team and how they’ve treated each other and competed. It’s been a really good camp.”
The status of defensive back Delano Hill for the Appalachian State game remains unclear. Hill is recovering from a broken jaw suffered toward the end of summer workouts. He has been practicing in non-contact drills and has felt good.
“The doctors will evaluate him one more time,” Hoke said, to determine if he will be ready for the opener.
Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, competing for the starting job at right guard, practiced the last few days after being held a few practices last week with a back issue. Kyle Bosch and Joey Burzynski are also are working at guard.
Tight end Jake Butt, who suffered a torn knee ligament in February, has “come a long way,” Hoke said, and looks to be on the timetable that had been set a while back. Hoke has said Butt could be back by the start of the Big Ten season.
Matt Wile likely will take Saturday off while he rests his sore kicking foot. Wile has been handling kickoffs and field goals.
Wile said Friday that he has made field goals from about 64 yards on his own, but said his top-end range is about 58 to 59 yards.
Freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers will return punts, Hoke said, and Dennis Norfleet will be the primary kick returner.