The media had an opportunity to talk to Rich Rodriguez and the team's newly-elected captains Steve Schilling and Mark Moundros today. Notes follow.
Friday morning will be the first day in full pads. They'll finally be able to tackle and go live. It will only be about two hours and fifteen minutes, because Rodriguez has to leave for Seattle in the afternoon. On Saturday, there will be no practice, but payers will go to their position coaches' houses for a meal. 2-a-days start Sunday. They'll have a couple scrimmages in Big House, beanie bowl. Go through whole game routine. For the veterans, it shouldn't be a big deal.
We're in pretty good shape, not game shape. The weather hasn't been that hot yet. Need warm temperatures to get guys in game shape. Guys who weren't in shape have responded as you'd expect. If you fight through, practice will help get you in great shape, but guys who started in great shape recover more quickly. It will take 3-4 weeks for everyone to get into shape. "If you aren't in shape, you won't play."
They're a very attentive group, eager to learn, grasped concepts. Put more in than anticipated. Right on track installation-wise.
All the position competitions haven't been separated yet. Will remain that way until we see them in pads.
No injuries. Some guys have missed time for the end of summer school. Most finishing today, tomorrow, monday next week. Mike Shaw is practicing. Still involved in his class. "Ongoing with him."
They'll shift some guys in the secondary, Teric Jones will be a S/CB. JT Turner's departure did not create new concerns. When asked about a potential return from Turner, Rodriguez stated: "He doesn't play for Michigan."
We're all anxious to get NCAA stuff behind us. School, Administration, players, want the committee to reach a conclusion. As soon as the hearing is over, those involved will fly back and get ready for practice on Sunday.
Kickers: need to see them in pressure situations to evaluate them.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams are all getting plenty of reps. In a week or so, they'll reduce it to two main groups with the reps divided about 60-40.
QBs making a conscious effort to take care of the ball. Need to work on decision-making as well. Has Denard picked up where he left off? "I think so. He looks physically bigger. Mentally he's understanding a lot of the concepts." Eager to do well. Limiting QB contact, but they get banged around a bit. Tate and Devin have to assume leadership by position. Hard for frosh/soph to take control. Has to happen naturally. They'll get that as their play improves. Re: Tate. "We've challenged all our guys." Tate gets more attention, because he plays a high-profile position. Tate is responding to the challenges, not sulking or laying back.
Woolfolk probably feels more natural at corner. Could play at safety if need, has the physicality. Brings that to the corner position. JTF had a good camp so far.
Punt return will be taken care of by Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrance Robinson, and Drew Dileo. All have really good ball skills. Kickoffs will be returned by all of those guys, plus Darryl Stonum.
Darty Stonum loks fantastic. Junior getting himself into better shape. Stonum good camp. Junior good last couple days.
Quinton Washington is completely healthy. He's been set back last fall and in spring with injury. Rodriguez is pleased at the conditioning of the offensive and defensive lines as they came into camp. Christian Pace is struggling health-wise (knee). They were already going to redshirt him, and he may need knee procedure, too.
A tentative depth chart will be released Monday of game week. A few "ORs."
At running back, nobody has separated from the pack yet. It should be one of the most interesting races, because there will be at least two, and probably three guys that will play quite a bit. That's a position that needs to be evaluated with full contact.
Schiling and Moundros: Team voted for those guys as permanent captains. They will do all they can to keep that honor. At least one additional game captain will be selected for every game.
Captain Stephen Schilling
We've had 4-5 senior meetings. Idea came up for captains, from nobody in particular. They discussed it a few times, then asked Rodriguez to come to a meeting. They brought up some of the ideas to him, including permanent captains.
Sometimes it makes it easier having two voices at the top, but all the seniors will be leaders. Schilling and Moundros look to the rest of the senior class to be leaders.
As for the distraction of the NCAA hearing, schedule was rearranged so that Rodriguez didn't have to miss practice. Most guys have put that on the backburner; they're not worried about that, they just want to play football and get ready for UConn. They see the headlines on ESPN, but it doesn't really cross their minds other than that.
"Definitely good to have David [Molk] back, it's been a while." He's shaking off some rust, but everybody's getting ready to work together. There's really high potential for this offensive line. They have depth and experience.
Progression among players is a lot quicker now that most guys know the system. Meetings with Coach Frey go quicker, and they can make corrections faster on the field.
Schilling has worked with all three QBs. They're all working hard and playing well - but it's only been a couple days. Offense has made big plays, "looks good to me." Tate's been working hard. Not saying much, just trying to prove he can be the QB. We see him working hard, and that's a good thing. Troy's comments could have affected him, but he's here working hard. Get better every day for the team.
We've had guys cramping, but you see that every year. Guys have been pushing through heat, and are doing better than expected.
The RBs all worked really hard this summer, because they knew they all had a chance to be "the guy." So many different guys are cycling through with the first unit. Competition will bring the best out of all of them. Cox and Hopkins bigger backs, can hit it up inside. Smith gets outside, Toussaint does both. Shaw has speed to burn. Smith "looks good to me." Knee not affecting him.
Captain Mark Moundros
Whole senior class thought it was necessary to have two captains. Great honor to be one of them. Texted his mom and dad first when he found out.
Very encouraged by hunger of team. "We're ready to prove ourselves this year."
Playing mostly LB - like the spring. Always had a defensive mindset. How many snaps can he play on both side of the ball? "As many to help us win." Doesn't regret waiting so long to try linebacker. He's happy where he is right now.
Signs of defensive progress? We have some good schemes, we're working together. That's key for defensive side of the ball. Different schemes will allow for different groups of people to play on front line (when asked if Martin and Campbell will play together).
Secondary doing great. Learning every day. Mistakes have been limited in first week. That'll continue to first game. They bring great energy from the secondary.
OL - the front five - great line. "We have some depth too." Can't pick out just one guy, they all have capabilities and potential. chilling great leader. Dorrestein and Huyge on the edges. The guys who rotate in - different positions - fun to watch that side of the football.
Always had the mindset of competing, play to best of ability. Wherever that puts him, so be it. Worrying about working hard to help the guys around him get better. His fellow MLBs Ezeh and Demens are great - competition will make them better.
When he came to Michigan as a walk-on, he never thought about being the captain one day. He never looked that far in advance, and just took everything one day at a time.
Even though he and Steve are captains, every senior got at least one vote for captain. That guy will have to lead by example to at least the one guy whose vote he got. Honored and humbled to be captain, but they'll lead as a senior class.
Every RB brings a different dimension. Cox power, Smith quick with cuts. Shaw with speed, Fitz is a factor, Hopkins (bigger back - hard earned yards).
Willingness to trust each other will help the team succeed.
So this year I implemented a new policy: all donations not ticketed for site contributors or Phil Brabbs get tallied at the end of the year and then I go spend that money on improvements to the site. This year we've made some adjustments to the comment system:
- Comments have been re-themed to take up less space and hopefully cut down on the phenomenon where a series of replies ends up with comically thin content areas.
- Comments have been ajaxified: no need to reload the page to post a comment.
- The voting system has had a major hole closed: votes on items older than a week do not affect userpoints.
- Another system hole closed: it now costs a point to vote, whether it's up or down. This will prevent people from getting slightly over 20 points with a series of sock puppets and vote-spamming other people. Also, the ratio for posting new threads and diaries has been altered: it's now +1 for up, –1 for down. Comments remain +2 up, –1 down.
There are a couple bugs with the sidebar and placement of some of the new features that should get worked out in the next couple days.
UPDATE: The AJAX was not quite ready for prime time and has been temporarily pulled.
UPDATE II: A lot of users are issuing complaints, which I will address over the next few days. Bear with us.
Help a blog out. So Blogs With Balls is trying to get in on the next South By Southwest and needs internet help. If you could register with SWSX and then thumb-up the BWB topic idea, this would go some small distance towards helping this happen. Do it to it.
Turner return broached, unlikely. In the aftermath of Justin Turner's decision to transfer there have been rumors about a potential decision to reverse that decision once his family talks him off the ledge:
[WTKA's Sam] Webb says Turner spoke to his mom about the decision but not to other members of the family, some based here in Michigan. They are coming up to talk to him and "see what was on his mind" including discussing "even up to and including whether or not he would entertain the thought of going back."
However, Webb thinks that outcome is unlikely. Even if Turner did decide to return his apparent lack of conditioning would probably make him useless this season.
It's a deke. Srsly. Michigan Hockey Net has been posting some old Michigan hockey clips of late; here's Brandon Kaleniecki breaking out the greatest deke in the history of hockey:
"He's got two and that was a weird one!"
And fin. Michigan goes in front of the infractions committee this weekend, at which point the final stories about practice (practice we're talking about practice) get written and attention returns to the stuff happening on the field. I have the vague hope some of the stories will have the perspective Bruce Feldman($), a guy who's travelled the country and seen the inside of dozens of programs, does:
If you've been to more than a handful of college campuses in the past decade or talked to any football coaches, you'd know that what the school was accused of are probably the most minor major violations you'll ever hear about.
Many folks cringe whenever they hear the excuse of "Well, everybody does it," but the reality here is this stuff goes on with top programs all over the country. Quite frankly, there's been much bigger offenders on these rules than what the NCAA has apparently caught in its net.
While it sucks that Michigan got dragged through this, nothing in the final report suggests anything except institutional incompetence and confusion about rules most people are confused about. My favorite evidence of the latter is the NCAA official site declaring the rules "nebulous," "difficult to understand," and "even harder to track."
Feldman is a guy who brings some authority when he says similar violations would be turned up just about anywhere; if he's right about that the main difference between Michigan and other schools is the attitude of the local paper.
Other numbers. Freshmen were omitted from this site's Fall Roster Overanalysis since they don't have a track record, but I did mean to link to Ace's focus on those freshmen. Most guys come in about where you'd expect except maybe the ever-expanding Richard Ash. At this rate, in two years we'll get to find out if having Norman Bombardini clog the middle is a good idea.
With Ace's post and a helpful reader sending a long a saved copy of the spring roster I can highlight a couple additional interesting weight changes:
- Stephen Hopkins is down from a Wisconsin-like 236 to a still-pretty-Wisconsin-like 227.
- Christian Pace put on 21(!) pounds since the spring roster came out. I don't think it's possible for all of that to be good weight but if he's already 280 he should be physically ready to play center in the Big Ten when Molk graduates.
Sauce: weak. Les Miles defending the Elliott Porter oversigning fiasco:
He noted that Porter’s scholarship offer was still good, just postponed a semester. He said if somebody made the same offer to one of his sons, they would “certainly be disappointed that day, but recognize that, long-term, it’s not a bad thing.”
Miles said grayshirting can benefit players who could use time to allow their bodies to mature. “He might take his time to come in shape and to benefit his body and compete,” he said.
This is also called a "redshirt," except in that case you get to go to school like you were promised over a year ago. It's a simple choice between not signing that extra kid and taking the chance at going into 2010 with 83 or 84 scholarships or taking a kid who's been living in a dorm for a month and telling him GTFO.
Also note the headline on this thing "Miles defends grayshirt rule," as if there's some crazy NCAA mandate that requires him to dump Porter. The paper is attempting to move the responsibility for the thing from Miles to an NCAA bylaw. Since that bylaw is "you can only have 85 scholarships," fail.
(HT: Get the Picture.)
When Devine was 3 months old, his father died of complications from AIDS.
When Devine was 11, his mother died of AIDS.
Devine's maternal grandmother assumed custody, but he often clashed with her and he eventually moved out. He moved in with the parents of one of his friends.
Devine was a witness to a shooting late in 2004 in which one of his closest friends was killed by a shot to the chest.
Devine had two children in high school in North Fort Myers, Fla., a girl and a boy, born seven months apart to different mothers.
When Devine was a high school senior, many programs backed off because they thought he'd never get into school; WVU seemed a little sleazy when they went after him and got him on campus. Now he's a senior-to-be forgoing the NFL—where his stock is at maximum since he's not going to grow three inches this year—for a degree. Will that degree have the general aura of jockishness? Almost certainly. Is it a better outcome for him than travelling the wilderness as a JUCO? Also almost certainly. I wish the media narrative about poor kids on football teams getting into trouble was less about scolding "win at all costs" coaches and more about what kind of outcomes various programs were achieving with the marginal players they acquire.
In related news, Demar Dorsey still isn't on Louisville's roster.
Maybe holistic and stuff. I'm pretty sure that Doctor Saturday is just reading the media zeitgeist when he suggests that the only thing that can repair the Big Ten's image problem is a national title, but he highlights a fact that's been true at least since Jim Delany's spectacularly ill-advised open letter bashing the SEC:
The Buckeyes' coast-to-coast run at No. 1 in 2006 in calamity, along with their surprising return to the top in '07, the two losses that still loom over the conference like a giant monolith that periodically drawls "S-E-C! S-E-C!" and has no input to receive data such as "the Big Ten and SEC have split their two annual bowl tie-in games 10 to 10 over the last decade."
When you bring this up to someone wearing SEC pajamas, they invariably respond with "bowl games don't matter except those two Ohio State humiliations." The Big Ten has been a bit down of late since Michigan and Penn State can seem to be good at the same time and USC has managed to lose a game against a Pac-10 also-ran yearly, but reports of the conference's demise have long been greatly exaggerated.
Etc.: A Steve Sharik comment on defending four verts with a three-deep gets front-paged at Smart Football. Holding the Rope UFRs Wisconsin's offense against Miami. I was planning on ranking the ten teams of the aughts for Of The Decade but MATW beat me to it so just consider that post part of the series. I didn't see this but a couple of different places on the internet are reporting that on Hard Knocks last night a Jets coach told Donovan Warren "if you'd played like that last year Michigan would have won some damned games," which is funny but not true. Michael Buckner appears in yet another story about Michigan's infractions—is there no other man on the planet with a law degree who can speculate darkly about possible outcomes?
And my "Michigan football" youtube subscription turned up… 60 Seconds With Taylor Lautner. Who is apparently in "Twilight." When I was a kid our vampire shows were full of smokin' hot chicks, not moody boy-toys. /get off my misogynist lawn.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue.
Tony Posada Goes Blue
FL OL Tony Posada became the 10th member of Michigan's class last night, and third offensive lineman. Michigan is looking for another one or two (plus potential offensive lineman Anthony Zettel).
"Tony's best football is ahead of him," said Plant coach Robert Weiner. "I mean he is on the upswing for sure and has gotten so much better year to year, even the last few months. He's a student of the game and has all the physical traits to be another great lineman at Michigan. We are all real excited for him."
And finally, video of the commitment itself:
Welcome to the Maize and Blue family, Tony.
IL OL Jordan Walsh committed to Iowa. Michigan had seemed to be the favorite until this, so it's a big blow. Michigan needs at least one guard commit in the class and he was a highly rated one. Best chance there seems like IL OL Christian Bryant.
OH LB Antonio Poole never got a Michigan offer, so it's no surprise that the Wolverines are out of his final 3. He's making a decision soon, but if a Michigan offer comes...
PA S Mike Caputo committed to Wisconsin.
The Orlando Sentinel previews Dr. Phillips high school, home of FL RB Demetrius Hart and all the other D-1 prospects in the Panthers' lineup. As recruiting news goes, Auburn is back in the mix for Hart. His is becoming the kind of recruitment that followers shouldn't invest too much in on a day-to-day basis, and just see how it all shakes out in the end. Hopefully, that end will come in 23 days.
FL TE/WR Kelvin Benjamin plans to take an official visit to Michigan:
His plan as of now is to take all of his official visits to out of state schools. “I fixing to set one up with West Virginia coming up, so West Virginia will be the first one I take. Then, I’ll take one to Michigan, the (USC) Trojans, Oregon and probably Marshall.”
At the very least, that vindicates my insistence on leaving him on the board. If he does make it onto campus, there's always a chance at him.
Tom talked to FL OL James Elliott, who is visiting Ann Arbor tomorrow. Rich Rodriguez will be on his way to Seattle immediately after practice, but Elliott will have a chance to meet the headman when he returns for an official visit. He knows numbers along the offensive line are starting to get tight, and if he wants to pick Michigan, he'd better pick up the pace.
I'd removed him from the board long ago, but apparently NJ OL Keith Lumpkin has Michigan in his top group. He's trimmed his list to ten, including the Wolverines. Michigan's recruiting along the offensive line might get wrapped up pretty soon, so Lumpkin will have to visit soon if he's serious about Michigan.
MI DE/DT Damon Knox picked up three Big Ten offers last week ($, info in header), and his Rivals profile now shows that Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State are those three. Knox reportedly has issues with his grades, so those offers are probably conditional upon improvement in the classroom. His film is impressive:
Knox was also a top performer at the Michigan Football Showcase (video), and is he can get his academics in order, he could fill out to be one of the defensive tackles in Michigan's class.
(Re-)Added CA LB/DE Woodson Greer, who holds a Michigan offer. Despite that, he seems unlikely to leave the West Coast.
IL DE James Adeyanju has locked in official visits to Wisconsin, Boston College, Nebraska, and Illinois. Michigan is in a group of six schools vying for his fifth and final visit. As of now, he's a backup prospect for Michigan, and will likely take that visit elsewhere.
OH CB Commit Greg Brown intends to enroll early at Michigan ($, info in header). He's the only current commit that has publicly mentioned early enrollment.
FL CB Dallas Crawford isn't naming favorites, but which school does he list first?
“I plan on making my decision before signing day but not before the season ends... I have my top schools, Michigan, Miami, LSU, Wake Forest, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee.”
That's a positive sign, but we'll have to wait until December or January to find out whether he likes Michigan enough to come up North. Crawford's teammate, WR/S Sammy Watkins, missed the team's first practice, and is a much longer shot for the Wolverines. If Rich Rod can land Crawford, however, it can only help.
OH CB Doran Grant is the subject of the latest Sam Webb profile in the Detroit News. He's down to a final 10 including Michigan, and will trim to a final 5 soon, also likely to include Michigan.
"It is a good vibe (at Michigan)," Grant later added. "I'll probably say that they are going to get an official visit. I'll say that now. Michigan is going to get one, hands-down."
Ohio State ad Michigan State are still on top, but the Wolverines remain in the hunt. He will make his decision a couple weeks after his senior season ends.
Has OH RB Warren Ball committed to Ohio State? He's playing it coy, but even if he hasn't committed, his tone ("that's my dream school") makes it seem like only a matter of time. Maybe his teammate, 2011 Michigan Commit Chris Rock, can convince him otherwise?
Fluff on MO WR Dorial Green-Beckham. He's now on a "no fluff links" policy, so until there's actual recruiting news about him, he won't appear in this space again.
After a brief server outage, here come the Hello. GBW is reporting that FL OL Tony Posada out of Tampa Plant High School has committed to become the 10th member of Michigan's 2011 recruiting class.
|3*, #75 OT||NR OL||3*, 78, #34 OT|
At 6-5 and already over 320 pounds, Posada is expected to be an offensive tackle at the next level. We'll get started with the ESPN evaluation:
Posada has great size along with enough explosion and playing strength to dominate defenders at his present level of play. Has the height and weight we like to see for the offensive tackle spot at the major level of competition.
He has a number of strengths:
Flashes explosion off the ball with good pad level and fit for his height; brings his hips with a good base and the leg drive necessary to sustain contact.
His agility is also singled out as a positive, though they say that quicker pass rushers, primarily from the linebacker position, could give him trouble. Other points to work on:
Will need to work on all aspects of punch, location and extension however his arm length and quick hands should be an asset.
Uh, that's actually really brief. ESPN, per usual, gives the above raving review, then follows it up with a lofty... #34 offensive tackle ranking. How can a guy whose only weaknesses are "might have trouble picking up a blitzing linebacker" and "has a little technique work to do on his hands" be ranked so low?
Elite Scouting Services puts a decidedly non-elite effort into breaking down his game:
Up front the offensive line for Plant will be led by Tony Posada. He is a big kid who moves well. Posada also played very well in their state title game. He will have the chance to really blow up this fall if his play on the football field continues to improve.
Tony also has enough flexibility to move inside and play offensive guard, which is always a plus when recruiting offensive linemen. The more spots a recruit can play, the more opportunities he might have with a program. Coaches like linemen who provide multiple possibilities instead of being tied to one position and having to then recruit other linemen to fill a specific need.
Tony is a bulldozer; think somewhat of a taller Justin Boren. The biggest difference is stength.
Despite "stength" being listed as one of his weaknesses, he has shown impressive strength in winning a regional title in the shot put, then finishing sixth in the state. Still, if there's even the slightest question about his strength, that 320-some pounds is not all good weight.
Posada was offered early, at least back in February. Kansas, USF, and Wake had also offered at that time. According to his Rivals profile, his other BCS-level offers included the likes of Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisvulle, Missouri, Rutgers, South Florida, Tennessee, and Texas Tech.
The conventional wisdom on Posada was always that a Florida offer would be nearly impossible for him to turn down. When it became clear that an offer from the Gators was never going to come (despite performing impressively at their camp), Michigan became the heavy favorite. However, South Florida came on strong in the end, causing Michigan to stave them off down to the finish line.
Posada is an offensive lineman, and therefore doesn't have stats. He was, however, part of a dominant Tampa Plant running game last year (more on Plant in a moment). TJ Glover and James Wilder both ran for nearly 1,000 yards, and the team on the whole rushed for 2,945 yards on their way to a state title.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals credits him with a 5.39-second 40-yard dash time. That doesn't sound FAKE at all, but given the fact that he's well over 300 pounds, it still qualifies for one FAKE out of five.
There are no Posada-specific highlight reels available, but a bunch of Tampa Plant material is out there (Posada is #75):
Here's another game, and you can peruse Youtube for more.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
There's a huge disparity between descriptions of Posada and his actual rankings. He's certainly not under-the-radar, playing at one of the most visible programs in the nation. So what does it all mean? I would guess based on photographic evidence and measureables that he has to get in much better shape to be ready to play in college, in addition to the technique work mentioned above.
Tony's an offensive lineman, so he would probably be a lock to redshirt even if he didn't have conditioning and technique question marks. During his first year in Ann Arbor, he'll work to rectify those issues.
After a redshirt, Tony would hopefully be in decent shape to play (he certainly has good size). There will be more playing time available at tackle than guard, and he's a combo prospect who projects at either position. As a redshirt freshman and sophomore, he could get some playing time before sliding into a starting position as a junior and senior.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Posada is offensive lineman #3 of four or five in the class. That means there's only room for a couple more. Chris Bryant,
Jordan Walsh, and Nick Martin seem like some of the most realistic prospects to fill any remaining OL spots.
Offensive recruiting is almost completed (a tight end, and outside receiver, and Dee Hart are probably the only three positions left on that side of the ball). Defensive tackles, another linebacker or two, and defensive backs are the emphasis from here on out.
Plant is a powerhouse program, routinely pumping out tons of talent. In this year's class alone, 5-star RB James Wilder and 4-star QB Phillip Ely will graduate from Plant. Getting a foot in the door for future years can't hurt Michigan's recruiting efforts. The Panthers will play on ESPN on August 27, against Manatee in a preseason state title rematch.
Monday came and went without an announcement about playing Alabama in Jerryworld, and with a few "not quite yet" type announcements from key players. See the title of this Rivals article($) ("Brandon: Exciting news is coming") for one. My source re-iterates: it is happening, with all three parties set on an agreement and just waiting to announce it when everything gets dotted and crossed.