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Saturday, September 5, 2009
Michigan's young defenders step up


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Watching Michigan's defense continue to stifle Western Michigan, I can't help but think back to my conversation with senior defensive end Brandon Graham earlier this week.

Asked about being double-teamed this season, Graham said, "It would be frustrating if my teammates don't make plays. When I'm taking one guy off another guy, he should be making a play. As long as he's doing that, I'm happy."

Graham's teammates are making him very happy today, particularly Michigan's young defenders, which bodes well for the future. Linemen Mike Martin (sophomore), Ryan Van Bergen (sophomore) and Craig Roh (true freshman) all penetrated the backfield, and cornerback Boubacar Cissoko had an interception in the first half. Roh and Van Bergen teamed up to sack Tim Hiller in the third quarter.

Opposing teams will do whatever possible to take Graham out of the equation this fall, so his supporting cast must continue to step up.