Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
The players are buying into Coach Harbaugh's training methods. Article includes some info and perspectives from current and former players.
Harbaugh's unique methods force players to be on alert at all times. Because, one, you know Harbaugh's watching. And, two, any slips could cost you your spot in the snap of a finger.
Meeting Roy Roundtree in the NFL
I am not a huge fan of the NFL. There is nothing really wrong with it, but my hometown teams growing up were the Lions and the Bengals. Not much to root for. In order to enjoy professional football, I switched from cheering for teams to rooting for former Michigan players on those teams. I want the Patriots to win because of Tom Brady. I want the Steelers defense to do well because of Woodley, and so on.
We live about forty-five minutes north of Cincinnati, so my brother and I piled our kids into my van and drove to watch the Bengals practice. More specifically, we went to see Leon Hall and Roy Roundtree. With the understanding that my most of my knowledge of football comes from watching games, this blog, and EA sports, I had a few observations. Roundtree ran crisp routs, and caught the ball well away from his body. While I do not have the roster memorized, he seemed to do was well as the starters in this regard. I did not see him drop a pass.
After some special team drills which neither seems to be a part of, they moved on to seven on seven. All of the players rotated every few snaps and they went out with different players each time. There did not appear to be a first team and second team. What surprised me during these drills was how much communication there was between defenders before the snap. I know Hoke has talked in the past about defenders talking to each other, and I now understand what he means. Hall and others were discussing who was taking the man in motion, and changing duties or coverage before anyone moved. None of the players Hall was guarding was open enough to be thrown to.
One of the things I noticed about Roundtree during this was his struggle with getting pushed around. While I think this occurred beyond the allowable distance, it did cause disruptions with this route running. This may be a skill he will be working on in the pros and he continues to add strength. When he was able to release he was able to create separation. My favorite was when starter Andy Dalton threw what appeared to be an out and up. Dalton focused on Roundtree the whole way and lofted the ball. The defender broke up the pass, but like the Northwestern game, Roundtree caught it off the deflection and took it in for the score. He got some dap from his teammates after returning to the group waiting for their turn again, and I shouted my kudos. The HBO Hard Knocks crew seemed impressed.
The best part of the day occurred after practice. Some of the players were out signing footballs, posters, signs, and t-shirts. Unfortunately, many of the players took their jerseys off and I did not recognize them. We walked past the players and my kids marveled that people could be that big. A couple of 6’ 6” or 6’ 7’’ guys well over three hundred pounds is an impressive site when you see them up close. Just as we were about to exit I look up, and there is #86 walking away after taking some extra passes. Not sure if we should say anything, I look at my brother for confirmation, or at least encouragement. I decided to yell anyway. “ROY,” I shout. He turns and looks to see who called his name. He sees my Michigan hat and my brother’s Michigan shirt and smiles, then comes trotting over. I get him to sign my hat, and he posses for a picture each for my brother and myself holding our kids. He is polite and engaging, just as I imagined a Michigan man to be.
As we leave I am probably a little giddier than a grown man should be. That is when I notice he signed my hat with his name and #21, Go Blue. I know I just talked to him for a few minutes, but I liked him, and I wish him success in the NFL.
so I understand there is now some sort of media blackout of practices. does this also mean that garden variety fans cant just wak in an watch?
does it make one a media person if you go to practice and post a comment on this site?
Ill be back soon, and would love to try and catch part of a practice.
Well I just returned home from the Detroit Lions practice at Ford Field and I thought I would share my un-expert opinion.
First off, I had a great seat, sitting front row on the 50 yard line.
1. Stafford is so much more polished looking this year.
2. Burleson was one of his main targets all day. Most balls thrown to CJ were deep balls, but the touch is definately there.
3. Chris Houston made an outstanding play to break up a deep ball catch on CJ. Other than him, the secondary looked weak (Delmas was in street clothes)
4. It's obvious that Kyle Vanden Bosch is the leader of the DL, which, by the way, looked very good. The addition of Corey Williams was a good one for a 4-3 D and Cliff Avril looked okay too.
5. Timmy Toone was getting cheered all day. He also burned a corner badly for a TD in the 1-on-1 drills.
6. Jahvid Best makes defenders look foolish in space. He put a nasty move on Suh at one point.
7. The OL was doubling Suh all day. Speaking of them, the OL does look better than last year.
8. A little worried about the LB's outside of Peterson, though Levy didn't participate. Caleb Cambell, also a LB now, is a HUGE man.
9. We are going to have some of the top TE production in the NFL.
10. Drew Stanton looked awful. Thank God they got Shaun Hill as a #2 now. All those people saying Stanton just needs a chance to play and prove himself are wrong. Practice is your chance and his balls had no touch, and he frequently missed open WRs.
Nothing earth shattering here, but good to actually witness a bit of the hype I've been hearing about. Should be an exciting year, and I really think this team is onto something for the future.
In a sign that the Michigan Athletic Department knew the details of the allegations that the NCAA would level at the football program over the alleged practice time and compliance violations well before the announcement yesterday, the new spokesperson for the Athletic Department outlined the gist of the defense it will employ at the upcoming NCAA hearing on infractions. It's a ballsy defense that doesn't beat around the bush...and it employs a familiar face with a lot of star power to make it for them:
Despite the genius idea of hiring Allen Iverson as the new spokesperson for the Athletic Department (Dave Brandon, you are earning your salary!), it's a risky move by Michigan...some might even say it's stupid. But hey, USC just said "fuck you" to the the NCAA by hiring Lane Kiffin while under serious investigation for the violations that he spearheaded. So the "Fuck You" defense is not unprecedented. It usually doesn't work. But hey, since Bo Schembechler died right before the Game of the Century, Michigan has gone from 11-0 and on its way to the National Championship in 2006 to losing to Appalachian St in the biggest upset in college football history, getting embarrassed by Oregon at the Big House, one of the worst coaching transitions in the history of time, a 3-9 season with a loss to Toledo, followed by another 5-7 season, an additional 4 straight losses to hated rival Ohio State, fan outrage and scandals galore...so, the "Fuck You" defense may not be the smart thing to do, but God-damnit, it feels good!
GOD-DAMNIT NCAA! WE TALKIN' 'BOUT PRACTICE!
I haven't seen this posted yet. Andy Reid had nice column in the Daily today about hearing Bob Ufer waft across State Street yesterday. If true, then this is a great example of Rich Rod understanding the rivalry and Michigan tradition.