FOOTBALL: Former Cass Tech player Jourdan Lewis impresses at the Michigan spring game |
Ann Arbor, Michigan - If any one particular group needed to show some improvement in Michigan's spring game, it was the secondary. The Wolverines gave up 42 completions of 20 yards or more this past season, which was seventh in the Big Ten.
Sophomore cornerback Jourdan Lewis was impressive in the spring game, intercepting two passes, including one off of Devin Gardner on the first offensive play of the game. He had zero all of last season, in eight games.
"We were just man-to-man and he thought he was open," Lewis said of Gardner's pass. "I wouldn't say I had a lot interceptions this spring, but the offense said I did."
At just 5-10, 174-pounds, Lewis isn't your biggest defender, but his quickness and cover ability allows him to line against almost anyone. On both of his interceptions he was lined up against tight end Devin Funchess and freshman wide receiver Freddy Canteen.
Canteen has been turning heads all spring with his play and Lewis did a pretty good job covering him.
"He's amazing and he's really explosive," Lewis said of Canteen. "He's just a playmaker and he can do anything on the field."
Lewis came into Michigan having a reputation as a cover guy, but showcased his physical abilities in man coverage, something he is comfortable with. The Wolverines didn't play as much man coverage last season, but Lewis said he was up to the challenge this year.
"It's a mindset when you're being physical," he said. "I've always been physical, we just didn't emphasize on being physical last year."
Roy Manning has taken over as the cornerbacks coach this season, a position he is fairly new to. But in short time, Lewis said Manning has made an impact on the secondary's play.
The coaching change wasn't that impactful on how what we were doing," Lewis said. "But coach Roy (Manning) just want to compete basically and all spring we've been competing.
"Getting hands on guys and trying to intimidate them is out key point. Being physical is something coach Manning always talks about and being a more physical defense."
Lewis didn't have a flawless spring game, getting flagged for two pass interference calls, mistakes all young defensive backs make. Still coach Manning wants the secondary to be more physical, even if they do get flagged in the process.
"I didn't agree with the second one, it was bad," he laughed. "But it comes with the territory of being physical.
"Coach Manning doesn't care if we play great defense and we get a penalty for it."
Head coach Brady Hoke also noticed Lewis' play on Saturday and thinks the secondary position has been one of the competitive this spring.
"Jourdan's (Lewis) a very gifted kid," Hoke said. "He was a freshman a year ago and still is a freshman right now, but he's a talented guy and very athletic.
"He's getting stronger, which helps through the course of spring and Roy (Manning) with the cornerbacks, has helped them grow."
Lewis some a lot of playing time for a freshman last season and has put himself in a great position to do the same this fall. He'll have some heavy competition with guys like Raymon Taylor and Blake Countess returning, but has obviously put pressure on them to step their games up.
"All of us have had a great spring, but it just seemed like it was my turn today," said Lewis. "We don't who's going to start, I just have to see what the summer look like. But this is a nice head start."
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