Michigan’s Frank Clark jumps at chance to play special teams

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Senior defensive lineman Frank Clark had never before played on special teams, so when he got called for a personal foul, he was caught off guard.

A rules change in 2012 prohibits a player from the receiving team from jumping over the punt shield. It was a 15-yard penalty and gave Appalachian State, which was punting on fourth-and-22 in the first quarter, a first down at the Michigan 45-yard line.

“(I was) just getting down and making the block,” Clark said, smiling. “I always look for the big hits, look to make SportsCenter. (The SportsCenter song) goes through my head, ‘Da da da, Da da da’ That’s all I was thinking about. I had no clue. It was the first time playing special teams in my career, (and) I had no clue I couldn’t jump over the wedge. Coach took the blame for that.”

Game captains

Michigan will not vote for captains until after the regular season, but for the opener against Appalachian State, five players walked together, arms locked to midfield for the coin toss — Jake Ryan, a captain last season as a junior, Clark, Desmond Morgan, Brennen Beyer, and Devin Gardner.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Morgan said. “I grew up (in Holland, Mich.) watching Michigan football, knew the history of the program. Being a senior and walking down the tunnel one last time (for an opener), going out for that coin toss is surreal.”

Green’s fitness pays off

Green arrived at Michigan last fall with a lot of press clippings from his high school career and a lot of recruiting stars, but he also had an additional 20 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame.

He dropped the weight and now weighs 220 pounds.

He credited his fitness for being able to handle a long run like his 62-yarder against Appalachian State. Green finished with 170 yards and a touchdown and an 11.3 average.

“On the long runs I wasn’t tired at all, I was ready to go get to the next play,” Green said. “I feel like last year if I broke one I would have been tired and probably would have gone to the sideline. I just felt real good making cuts and hitting the holes.”