Understudy Dwumfour snaps into action for Wolverines' D-line

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour tries to emulate the team's top lineman Maurice Hurst whenever possible.

Ann Arbor — According to Rashan Gary, it is something to see senior Maurice Hurst and backup defensive lineman Michael Dwumfour challenging each other in get-off-the-ball snap "races."

Dwumfour said this week he has been trying to “mirror” Hurst, who fires off the ball better than most. He also respects Hurst’s “football IQ” and his overall athleticism.

“I’m trying to get like him,” Dwumfour said this week, as the Wolverines prepare to face Rutgers on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. “I’m trying to be better than him at some point. Hopefully one day I will.”

Gary became animated when asked about 6-foot-2, 290-pound Dwumfour and how close he is to matching Hurst.

“His get off is up there with Mo Hurst,” Gary said, before describing the in-practice competitions set up by defensive line coach Greg Mattison. “It’s crazy watching him get off the ball against each other because we’ve got little snap races. Just seeing them go at it is crazy.

“It’s a sight to see. If you get a chance to pop in practice and you look, you’re going to be like, ‘Wow,’ so I don’t want to spoil it for you.”

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It was pointed out to Gary that media are not invited to practices, and he laughed again as he offered some insight into the snap battles.

“Mo winning,” Gary said. “Mo get it. But there’s some days Mike gets off the ball a little faster.”

Dwumfour had a shoulder injury in preseason camp but said he’s fully healthy now. He is working to improve on fundamentals, like staying low, and he looks to mentors Bryan Mone and Hurst for guidance and as personal goals as in, where he would like to be in a few years.

He has assisted on three tackles and is credited for half a sack. He looks to Hurst as the player he most wants to emulate.

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“Mo is phenomenal,” Dwumfour said this week. “I just try and mirror what he does. He’s just like a big brother to me.”

It is difficult to mirror Hurst, because he’s so strong on all levels, including his knowledge of the game.

“He makes plays because he knows it’s going to happen before it happens,” Dwumfour said.

Since their freshman seasons last year, Dwumfour and offensive guard Ben Bredeson have often gone against each other in practice, making each other better, both said.

“I love that kid,” Bredeson said this week. "We’re always going at it in practice. He’s a good player, really good player. He’s been making plays in practice for a while now. So it’s good to see him testing the field now and, hopefully, he can start producing really big soon.”

What Bredeson loves most about Dwumfour, from Wayne, N.J. — this is home state week for a dozen Michigan players from New Jersey — is he’s a “good guy.

“Always talking, always loud,” Bredeson said, smiling. “Funny kid.”

Dwumfour said he’s not approaching this week any differently because it’s “Jersey Week” with Rutgers coming to Michigan Stadium.

“We need this win,” Dwumfour said.

He said this is the place where he always felt he was destined to play.

“Michigan is my dream school, so coming here was a dream,” Dwumfour said. “I’m living a dream right now.”


Twitter: @chengelis