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Wolverines to host true spring game

Five players to be limited in play

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Michigan running back Michael Shaw recently broke his hand in a football-related drill and may be required to practice this spring with a cast. The Wolverines begin spring practice on Saturday.

THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
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ANN ARBOR -- One month from today Michigan Stadium ideally will host the Wolverines' first true spring football game in a few years.

Realistically, though, it probably won't happen.

"I don't know if we're going to have the bodies to be able to do that," coach Brady Hoke said.

At a press conference at the university Monday afternoon, Hoke revealed that five Wolverines will be withheld from action or limited in what they do when spring practice begins Saturday.

Running back Michael Shaw, a part-time starter in 2010, suffered a broken hand recently in a football-related drill and may be required to practice with a cast, if at all. Another running back, reserve Teric Jones, underwent a "significant knee surgery" and is expected to be out all spring, and perhaps much longer.

Cornerbacks J.T. Floyd and Troy Woolfolk, who have combined for 22 starts, could miss extended time recovering from surgery. Floyd and Woolfolk suffered season-ending injuries in 2010 but are part of the 2011 plans.

"Woolfolk is getting better but at the same time it wouldn't be very intelligent of us to have him doing a whole lot out there," Hoke said.

Linebacker Kenny Demens, who started the final seven games last season, will be "a little bit limited" recovering from shoulder surgery.

Indeed, Hoke's plan to have a true spring game -- as opposed to the controlled scrimmage seen each spring under previous head coach Rich Rodriguez -- seems like a long shot.

"We'll wait until we get there and see," Hoke said. "We'd like to play a true, competitive, seniors-draft-the-teams spring game."

Additionally, safety Mike Williams' long anticipated departure from the program is apparently finalized. Williams, who has suffered multiple concussions and hasn't played since early last fall, is no longer on the roster.

If Shaw is unavailable to participate, it could stunt his development in a system figured to be much different than the one Shaw and other running backs learned under Rodriguez.

Vincent Smith, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Stephen Hopkins and Michael Cox, figure to get the majority of work at running back this spring. Throw Shaw into that mix if he's able to go.

"I think right now we have to see who can run the power play and get downhill and do the things we want them to do from an offensive standpoint," Hoke said.

Hoke said developing fullbacks and tight ends is a priority this spring. Senior John McColgan is the only fullback on the roster, and the tight end position has been bolstered by the position switch of redshirt freshman Ricardo Miller, a top recruit at receiver.

Hoke said he will conduct spring practices similar to the way things were done his first springs at Ball State and San Diego State. Following two days of practicing in shorts, the players will put on pads beginning Tuesday.

"[Spring practice] won't ever be a success," Hoke said. "I just know how I think and how I operate mentally. We have to improve in the fundamentals, improve in the techniques [and on] being accountable."

SCOREBOARDS: New High-definition scoreboards at Michigan Stadium are expected to be fully installed by August. Renderings may be available within a couple of weeks. The old scoreboards are being removed this week and next.

Hoke ordered countdown clocks installed in two different areas inside Schembechler Hall. The clocks reveal the time -- down to the second -- until Michigan's games against Michigan State and Ohio State.

Michigan is a combined 0-6 against those teams in the past three seasons.

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.

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