The first of three posts from yesterday's Media Day. Tomorrow: The assistant coaches.
Austin White is the only player that has left the roster in the past few days. For Rodriguez's full comments on White, see yesterday's post.
QB. Quarterback rotation (if it happens) is by feel, not a scripted thing. They're getting closer to finding two guys to win with. Won't be there at every position, but quarterback will have that. The three quarterbacks are responding well to the ongoing competition. The race won't be settled within the next couple days.
"Rod Smith has done - particularly with Devin and Denard - getting some of the throwing stuff down and decision-making down in the pass game. We've really simplified things to help in that regard."
Denard's throwing mechanics are better, and his knowledge of where to go with the ball is better. "It's a natural maturation with any quarterback, understanding where to go with the ball, where your eyes are at, particularly in the passing game."
In this offense, those factors are important in the run game as well. Rodriguez is pleased with Gardner's progress. He's never played before, but he's talented and is battling for job.
RB. Running backs will be a committee and there's not one guy separating. "I see us having a situation where there's 2, 3, maybe even 4 guys that emerge a little bit. That's not a bad situation to get in." It's hard to get them all reps, for comfort with QBs. Three or four guys will play tailback in the first game.
Vincent Smith has not been tentative with his knee except the first couple practices back. "He's 100%. He's ready to go."
Stephen Hopkins has progressed really well. He's a big physical guy. Initially, the coaches thought he would redshirt, but he'll probably play this fall because the team needs a big back in some situations.
OL. The offensive line is much improved over last couple years. Two years ago, Schilling was only guy with any game experience. "Not quite as talented 1s and 2s deep-wise as we would like to be... We'll have 7-8 guys that we feel comfortable with playing." Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury can back up at any interior position. More guys are ready than the last two years. Pretty close to what we want there. Experienced starters backed up by talented, but inexperienced guys.
Upperclassmen Huyge and Dorrestein are battling to keep the offensive tackle spots. "The two young tackles Schofield and Lewan have been pretty solid. They're bigger; They're stronger." The competition has been pretty good, Perry and Mark have responded to the challenge, and are having their best camp in the past three years.
DL. Don't want to compare people to Brandon Graham, because he's a once-in-a-lifetime player. "We don't have a guy that's 'BG-ready' to play right now, but who does?" Several guys can create pressure, including Roh. Mike Martin can create pressure from his position. The unit as a whole has to replace Graham.
Davion Rogers had a "clearinghouse thing," and just got into the mix. [Ed: probably explains why he's so skinny. He's a lock to redshirt anyway.] Jibreel Black is the frosh lineman with greatest chance to play this year. He's not ready to start, but he will provide some depth as long as he continue to progress. "He's a very active guy. He's got great get-off. He wears #55, and he looks a little bit like BG at times, but he's not quite that strong and explosive." He has natural athletic ability, and Rodriguez is pleased with his progress.
Craig Roh played at 225 last year, and he's closer to 240 or 245. "He's running just as well if not better." The added weight and experience show.
LB. "Obi [Ezeh] has really responded to the challenge." He can play all three linebacker positions, and played two of them yesterday. Great job being a leader - like whole senior class. He's a good player and wants to prove himself in his final year. He's not geting hung up on starters, worrying about how to help the team win.
JB Fitzgerald and Kenny Demens have played a bit, lots of special teams. They've had good camps. JB knows the defense very well and can play a few different positions. Demens has also had a solid camp. More linebackers will play. Ezeh, Moundros, and Mouton (veterans) will be the biggest key. Usually guys have their best season as seniors. "If every one of our seniors has our best year, particularly defensively... we'll be OK."
Hybrid. Jordan Kovacs earned a starting spot last year. "He's taken some challenges and maintained that position so far." Just a great story. He's in better shape now, and his experience shows up. "He's gonna be a huge factor for our defense."
Josh Furman has done well. He could play OLB/S position, or grow into a WILL/Samm linebacker. Will have a great career. One of the fastest freshmen, not sure if he has a shot to play this year. Physically he has a chance to play this year, the coaches need to evaluate him mentally.
DB. Cameron Gordon has more to learn, but Rodriguez says "we're looking for a big year from him." He's very physical, but hasn't played on the big stage yet.
A couple veterans will step in at corner after Woolfolk's injury, James Rogers has had a good camp. Freshmen are competing at that position. It's a young secondary (and would have been even with Troy), a couple guys will move back and forth. "Our defensive coaches have a pretty good plan to be able to compensate for that." All freshman corners are getting lots of reps because of the situation in the secondary. They missed meetings the first week of camp because of the Bridge Program, but now they have a couple weeks to focus solely on football.
Marvin Robinson and a few other frosh will probably not redshirt. "More than you'd like at this point." All three corners will probably play - Cullen Christian, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery. Carvin Johnson and Ray Vinopal have a chance to play at safety. This week is most critical between summer school and fall school.
Carvin Johnson has played a little bit at corner, along with Teric Jones. After watching film from Saturday and Wednesday scrimmages, they'll determine the 4-5 corners that have to be ready for the first game.
There's no word on the timeframe for Woolfolk's injury until after he can have surgery. He will be able to play again at some point. "Troy's as tough an individual as you'll ever be able to find, so he'll bounce back from it."
Special Teams. Kicking and punting are a concern because there's no game experience. Feel better now than two weeks ago. Broekhuizen and Gibbons are both doing well on kickoffs, and getting more consistent on their field goals. "Our freshman punter is a real talent - Will Hagerup - and I mean a real talent. He's had some days where he's kicked and I'm "wow look at this.'"
The scrimmage went well and nobody got hurt. "I saw some good and bad on both sides." Offensive execution was decent with wet ball. Defense didn't tackle too well. There were a couple turnovers, for first time in a few days. "Some guys stood out a little bit, and other guys still have a ways to go before they can be ready to play for us."
QB play was pretty solid. Receiver play was good, especially slots with Roundtree, Grady and Gallow having good days.. Shaw had a good day, Cox and Smith each had a few good runs. The offensive line was good, which the coaches expect from them now.
Mike Martin was limited because the coaches already know what he can do. He been the team's most consistent defensive player since camp started. Molk scrimmaged yesterday a little bit. "We didn't have him go the whole time for precautionary reasons, but he got a few good series in and did pretty well." Vincent Smith was able to go full bore.
There will be another (smalller) scrimmage Wednesday. After that, the projected two-deep and travel squad will be mostly settled. At a lot of positions, guys are competing to be #2 on the depth chart.
"It's not a true 3-3-5." As much scheme remains from last year as there is new stuff. They're keeping it simpler because of youth and the need to play a little faster. "From a mental standpoiont, there were a few mistakes yesterday's scrimmage," but they've done a good job with the mental game through camp. They've had a lot to digest so far, and the next couple weeks will be easier because there isn't as much installation.
Pleased with the team's attitude and work ethic the last two weeks. Though it's a small senior class, they've done a great job with leadership over the summer and the last couple weeks. Team is hungry, anxious to prove themselves.
Notice in practice that guys have been there through a couple camps, and know practice routine. Moving around a little quicker. People who have come in from the outside notice how much quicker guys are moving in certain situations.
The team has some fundamental work to do. It's tough, because you can't tackle every day in camp, or guys will get hurt. "Other than yesterday, I thought they did pretty well tackling in camp."
Team strengths are offensive skill players, experience along the offensive front, and attitude and team speed on defense. "We're not as deep experience-wise, so probably my biggest concern is experience defensively." The team feels a sense of urgency.
For the new captain method, we selected Moundros and Schilling, and will select two more at the end of the season. Mark and Steve have done well, other seniors are excited for the opportiunity to prove themselves and be game captains and maybe year-end captains.
Same pressure to succeed as every year. "Any time a player or coach says 'well I have nothing left to prove,' he'll never get any better."
Brock leading team out will be pretty emotional. Rodriguez spent time with Mrs. Mealer yesterday. Brock's progress and work ethic are amazing, and he's dedicated his life to proving he can walk. To do that in front of our fans and national tv will be emotional. It will be (and has been) an inspiration for the whole team.
Connecticut - Know them well, played them a few years. They get a lot of respect for the past couple years. Most of a good team from last year is coming back. They'll come downhill and make you beat them. Some players have watched film on them, and the whole group will start watching more film this week.
Tim will spin out posts on his experience at Media Day over the first few days of the week, but right now how about a million embeds? Oh and this from the MVictors photo gallery:
"Please stop doing that, you're making me uncomfortable."
And then there's all the video Boyz n tha Pahokee and MGoVideo put in a non-browser-crippling format:
Denard Robinson (wsgs Mike Rosenberg and Mike Rosenberg's Tiny Afro!):
Several more after the jump.
This weekly update will have a few brief notes about a couple prospects, and mainly be about some of the visitors I've confirmed for the U Conn game. This is an initial list that will most definitely grow as the first game gets closer, and as I talk to more people.
6'5", 225 lbs.
Deion quiet with his recruitment, but has always listed Michigan in his list of schools he has interest in. He recently told me that his list is now down to five:
Michigan, Pitt, Penn State, Georgia, and South Carolina are my top five for now. I might wait until signing day to decide, or I might announce at one of the All Star games I was nominated for.
The main all star game he's talking about being nominated for is the Army game, which is a nice honor. He also told me the Michigan coaches want him to wait until the end of the season to take his official visit so they can make sure he's their main focus. Interesting strategy which could mean a few things. Either they really want to give him enough attention, or they don't want him to try to commit with Anthony Zettel still on the board and two defensive ends already committed. I'm not sure which is the case.
6'5", 265 lbs.
Knox is an instate kid that has a couple MAC offers under his belt. Grades and qualifying test scores have been the issue with Knox, but he's working towards rectifying that.
I retook the ACT, I got a lower score but a better score on the math part. I have all core classes my first trimester, and if I ace those classes then I'll be qualified.
So there's that. He told me he really likes Rich Rodriguez, and if he gets qualified Michigan has a good shot. His top three is Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois. His fate is in his hands.
I'll post these here for now. Since this is on the front page I'll create a diary later with more updates so you can follow along.
- Avery Walls - Safety out of Georgia has been to Michigan twice, and rumors are that Michigan leads.
- Daren Kitchen - Defensive back from Louisiana told me he 100% will be there for the U Conn game, and also said his written offer from Michigan is in the mail. I've heard that before, and don't really have any way of verifying, so we'll see. We will all find out together soon, I promise you that.
- Demetrius Hart – Obviously. He's bringing some friends:
- Nick Patti - 2012 QB, teammate of Demetrius Hart will be up with his Dad, and potentially with his trainer Tom Shaw. Shaw trains a ton of football players in Florida, including Florida State commit Karlos Williams. Nick told me that Shaw will play a big role in his decision, and he considers Tom to be an uncle. Getting him on campus could be a good thing for a few reasons.
- Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix(?) - He's not 100% coming yet. They're still figuring that out. Patti and Hart don't think Clinton-Dix would consider decommitting from Alabama, but a visit can't hurt.
- Jake Fisher - Michigan commit will be there.
- Delonte Hollowell - Michigan commit.
- Chris Bryant - The Illinois offensive lineman is a maybe, depending on his game schedule. He'd like to be there, but his team has a game in East St. Louis, so he doesn't think he'll be able to make it. I'm in contact with Chris quite a bit, and he has said he'll most likely wait a few games into the season to make his decision, but may get it over with before the season. If that happens Michigan is in good position. As per usual, they just need to win.
- Hunter and Cam Stanley - 2012 offensive linemen from Toledo, Ohio. They're twins! The 6-foot-4, 260-pound linemen are both very high on Michigan. They camped at Michigan's four-day camp, and jointly took home the offensive line MVP award (they do everything together!). Hunter actually ran his best 40 time at Michigan's camp with a 4.75. Michigan is in their top three along with Notre Dame and Northwestern. They both want to make their decision relatively early, and as you can tell by their list they think they fit best in a spread offense.
- Chris and Demitrious Davis – More twins! Seriously: both 2012 prospects, Chris (5'9", 185 lbs.) is a WR/DB and his brother Demitrious (5'10", 183 lbs.) is a QB/DB. I had a great conversation with Chris, and he wanted me to make sure I told the Michigan fans this next part. "My Dad loves Michigan. Our family hates Ohio State." Chris said his dad was standing next to him grinning ear to ear because he's such a Michigan fan. He also said his dad has always told him and his brother that they should go to Michigan. The twins(!) have an early top five of Michigan, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Miami. Michigan has a good chance here. Chris says his brother is quicker, but he's faster. You can watch for yourself if you'd like. Their film is actually pretty impressive sophomore film. Chris Davis and Demitrious Davis.
- .....AND TWINS!! (I had to)
- Kaleb Ringer - 2012 linebacker from Clayton, Ohio. His uncle is Javon Ringer, former MSU star running back. He told me his family affiliations won't play into anything, and he's actually a Michigan fan (FWIW). He currently holds verbal offers from Cincinnati and Iowa, which is a good sign of his talent level. He and his teammate Jeremy Campbell (DL) will be there. Campbell is listed at 5'11-6'0, weighing in at around 250-pounds. Ringer says that Campbell can squat 750 pounds, which seems like a lot to me. [Ed: me too.]
- Royce Jenkins-Stone - 2012 Cass Tech linebacker will be there. He loves Michigan.
- Chase Deback - 2012 instate offensive lineman from Charlotte, Michigan. Says he's a fan of Michigan State, but will put his fandom to the side for his recruitment. He wants to go wherever he feels is the best place for him. Being a fan of MSU growing up won't play into it. It's often hard for 16-17 year olds to distinguish the difference, though.
- Nathan Ricketts - 2012 instate linebacker. Shameless plug here. Ricketts is a 6-foot-2 linebacker with some good speed from Holland, Michigan.
This is admittedly quite hasty. Please, please, please tear it apart so I have a decent entry for the final ballot. I haven't looked at any preseason magazines, and I threw this together in just a few minutes from memory. I'd run down a few of the things I'm not sure about... but there are too many of them.
MGoBlog Ballot - Week 1
|1||Ohio St. Buckeyes||--|
|4||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|5||Boise St. Broncos||--|
|9||Florida St. Seminoles||--|
|10||Virginia Tech Hokies||--|
|15||North Carolina Tar Heels||--|
|16||Penn St. Nittany Lions||--|
|19||Nevada Wolf Pack||--|
|21||Oregon St. Beavers||--|
|23||TCU Horned Frogs||--|
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »
Michigan's 2010 recruiting class is now down a fourth member, as spring enrollee Austin White is no longer with the team. When he wasn't listed on the Media Day roster, I asked Michigan Football spokesman Dave Ablauf about it, and his answer was short and sweet: "That's permanent." Coach Rich Rodriguez expanded a bit in his statements to the media:
"Austin White is no longer in the program. So, we wish him well, we'll help him in that regard, but we're - he's no longer part of the Michigan football family.
From the tone of both Ablauf and Rodriguez's remarks, it sounds like the decision was more in the hands of the program than White himself.
Fortunately for me, I spent most of last fall following White around, so here are some highlights of his senior season of high school:
As for impact on the program, it shouldn't be a big factor. White was a lock to redshirt in 2010, and even then he was looking up at several players on the depth chart. Michigan can fill the void his departure creates in 2011 and 2012 recruiting.
Tuesday: In Your City, If It's New York. I'll be in NYC Tuesday to talk about the team and sheepishly admit what I thought the past two years. The event is supposed to be somewhere around this page, but I can't find it without a login. Details:
3rd Annual Football Season Kick-off Party with MGoBlog's Brian Cook
Date: Tuesday, August 24
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Brother Jimmy's, 116 East 16th Street (between Irving & Park)
Cost: FREE for pre-registered AAUM members, and $20 for all others online through Tuesday, August 18. Day-of door pricing will be $25 for everyone. Register at http://alumni.umich.edu/event/?2262bf16-8fbe-4d22-befa-563be5d594ae
InformationDue to popular demand, the alumni club has once again invited sports blogger Brian Cook to return to NYC to spread his knowledge of all-things Michigan football and preview the 2010 season. Come out to meet and mix with your fellow Maize and Blue football fans!
Contact: Alex Trambitas, [email protected]
Yeah, I wouldn't pay 20 bucks to hear me talk either. Hope you're in the alumni club.
I find it sad*. I wish this didn't have an incongruous backing track—I actually checked my tabs in case some highlight reel was going in another—but here's Bo blowing up during the '89 Illinois game:
Woo ha! Michigan would win 24-10 en route to the Rose Bowl.
They're back except they're different and probably uglier. OSU will again wear wack Nike uniforms for The Game. Ohio State fans are suitably appalled:
Do you hate things that are good? Great, me too! We have so much in common. In fact, our friends at Nike have taken it upon themselves to market to folks just like us, people with (or without!) disposable income who enjoy kitsch, tasteless things.
As such, the university announced Tuesday that for a second straight year, the slow and steady commercialization of The Game will evidently proceed accordingly. This season, Ohio State is widely expected to take the field in a scarlet variety of the same faux-throwback-to-the-future-OMGboomstyle-backs the team rocked in conquering the rebel occupied forest moon of
EndorAnn-Arbor last November.
By 2015 The Game will be Rollerball. It will star LL Cool J, and TV people will love it.
But hey, at least that effort to have a terrible phone company be a title sponsor was swiftly demolished when fans revolted. I'm not sure why the same hasn't happened with this—think of what it will look like in Getty Images in 20 years!—but if there was any ever debate about which team had the more iconic uniforms, it's over now. If Michigan tried to wear anything other than the home blues they've worn since 1565, you'd find whoever made that decision strapped to a donkey with a sock in his mouth and GPS directions to Columbus the next day.
That is only a silver lining to a dark cloud of stupidity, though. Anyone who is still angry that Michigan decided to take way more money from Adidas: you are nuts.
Acceptable? Wha? Penn State fans have been complaining up a storm about the idea they'd get swapped into the Essentially West division of the Big Ten; I've been doing the same about the idea of getting Ohio State as a cross-divisional rival. Will we ever get along? Maybe. Slow States may have put together a division setup that works for everyone:
Division A: Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue, Northwestern
Division B: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois
This necessitates the cross-division rivals, which bleah, but I look at it and think "not horrible," as do Penn State fans. The only problem is breaking up the Wisconsin-Iowa game (Iowa-Minnesota is the protected game) but they do get Nebraska instead. I don't think anyone would have a major problem with this arrangement except "TV people," who can go jump in a lake since their idea of thinking long term is next week.
Remain calm! Skepticism about Kevin Newsome is totally rooted in jealousy and bitterness instead of "repeating what Penn State sources say":
A source close to the program told The Patriot-News earlier in the week that Bolden, the true freshman from Michigan, is clearly the most talented of PSU's four quarterbacks.
Joe Paterno may still settle on former walk-on Matt McGloin as his starter for the Sept. 4 opener against Youngstown State because of McGloin's familiarity with the offense.
So that's a true freshman and a walk-on in front of Newsome, who "has not performed well" to date. It'll be interesting to see how Bolden does on multiple levels, since Michigan chose to pursue Gardner over him and Tim saw him a lot in high school and was resoundingly unimpressed.
They grow moohaha. Check out this bizarre hockey rink:
That's from the NHL's development camp, where they're testing out all kinds of weird stuff including giant cyclopean faceoff circles and—tingle—super-thick blue lines. Most comments about the latter (which I've been advocating for years in my oversigning-level campaign against hockey offsides) center on the expansion of the offensive zone:
Wider blue lines to increase the size of offensive zone -- I've always liked this idea. In widening the lines, there's more room to keep the puck in the zone when it goes out to the line, but the zone itself remains the same size and the neutral zone doesn't shrink. It's an idea whose time has come, but only if the linesmen is vigilant in getting into position to make the close calls.
This is a benefit, but it's an ancillary one. The major asset of XXL blue lines is a serious reduction in those nothing offsides calls where one team is trying to rush the puck into the zone and a guy is three inches off. A thicker blue line increases the demilitarized zone and should reduce the number of interesting rushes killed off in favor of a neutral-ice faceoff and inevitable dump-and-chase.
The guy above gives that rule change a slim chance of passing because it's "too radical," unfortunately.
Etc.: You can now mic bands. Will this matter? Probably not since last year's whinefest featured a bunch of audio engineers who described how difficult this was in detail. MATW fills in another "of the decade" blank with the top games.