Here is the article. It focuses on his journey from junior hockey to the NFL (he was drafted by the Giants in the seventh round). The Michigan part:
Next, he all but gave up elite hockey because he wanted to try other sports. Almost by accident, he ended up at a Connecticut prep school where, even though he had never played a down of organized football, he blossomed into a top rusher. Considered a top football prospect, he chose Michigan among several big-time suitors. For the second time in his athletic career, he was oddly banished to the bench, averaging about six carries a year.
I don't know if this information has been stated before and as I read this (http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-football/rich-rodriguezs-lone-win-against-penn-state-one-to-remember-plus-michigan-football-injury-report/) mgo.licio.us article I noticed an interesting point on Mike Cox by RR. "Rodriguez disclosed Wednesday that running back Michael Cox has had “a knee issue” for the past few weeks, and that his growth and practice has been limited." This could be why we haven't seen much of him and why Hopkins has emerged as the big back. I for one have been more than happy with Hopkins and I think we will see a lot of him this coming week against Penn State.
so, a couple of questions for all you guys, and then some ideas/thoughts for next season.
(1) What's the consensus in these parts on Mike Shaw as a go-to guy in the run game? I know he's shown some flashes in his first 2 seasons, but he's also looked a bit fragile and careless at times. With Vince Smith's knee injury and unknown timeline for recovery, it would seem Shaw's the guy for now.
(2) Who else do we expect to vie for playing time next fall? Mike Cox? Fitz Toussaint? Who else? Any of these guys have particular hype or immediate impact-potential?
(3) have we heard any hype/intel on the progress or potential impact of Je'Ron Stokes? Did he work as a slot or outside guy in practice?
(4) I know we've beaten this horse well into the ground, but what the hell do we do w/ denard?
=> I'll address this last question first with an idea... With a lot of unproven guys fighting for playing time in the backfield, I see D-Rob continuing to make a lot of appearances in the running game, whether it be as a 'wildcat' QB or on the field w/ Tate. We KNOW Denard can gain yards on the ground, even when the defense expects it, and he's our top returning rusher. With all the talk about how to handle the QB situation, it's funny to me that, IMO, nothing will change in how these guys are rotated in and out. Unless Denard magically connects his brain to his arm, he's not beating out Tate as the starting QB. On the other hand, unless Shaw has a monster off-season or Vince recovers unusually quickly, Denard will easily be our best returning run threat. In short, I think Rich has eeked out another year of dangling the QB carrot in front of Denard's nose before a real decision has to be made. This isn't to say that i think Denard won't be more effective. I could see him producing 1000 yards between running, throwing and maybe even receiving/returning.
=> IMO, this spring is the time for Rich Rod to get the pass game online. He's got a solid returning thrower in Tate, a 3rd year burner in Stonum who still has a lot of unrealized potential, a dependable minion slot guy in Odoms, a 3rd year receiving tight end in Koger, and the hot handed Roy Roundtree. These guys are going to have to produce early and often next year while we figure out who's going to step up in the running game. It's pretty exciting, actually, and I can only hope Rich really tries to build a scheme around the abilities of all these guys. I'm looking for a 50+ catch season from Roundtree, which you wouldn't think would be a stretch considering that's less than 5 catches a game.
some (potentially wishful) predictions:
*Tate shows some improvement, is handed the keys a little more often (especially early in the season), and throws for around 2500 yards, 21 TDs, 14 ints. he wins us a couple of games, and loses a couple as well.
*Denard, Shaw and Vince rush for nearly identical amounts of yardage (400-500 yards)
*Roundtree grabs 50+ balls for 600-800 yards and 6-8 touchdowns.
*Stonum has a breakthrough of sorts, catching 30-40 balls at over 15 ypc.
I actually think we are on the cusp of an explosive offensive year that should be enough to comfortably get us into the bowl season. Turnovers and the defense will keep us out of BCS contention, however.
Everybody seems to be talking about Toussaint as the next go-to back in '10, and rivals ($) talks about him too.
"I worked with the scout team a lot and Fitz was a guy that can really run the football," departing senior Jon Conover said. "He has outstanding lateral speed in addition to the downfield quickness you need. He can make defenders miss but I think he'll fill the void left by Brandon Minor because he's not afraid to lower his pads.
The article goes onto to say good things about Cox, V. Smith, and Shaw as well. Should be an interesting battle when they're all healthy.
Today GBMW, in response to a question about Mike Cox (no, not mine) and the fact that he's "buried on the depth chart" (um, buried behind Minor and Brown as a redshirt freshman? Blah), GBMW's expert coaching suggests that (1) Cox is not suited for zone scheme running, and (2) agrees with the "questioner" and states that it has no problem with Cox moving to the defense, provided Cox doesn't.
Uhhh, it seems Brandon Minor has made a decent transition from I-formation running to the zone scheme running style. Why can't Cox? Next year, he'd have 3 years of eligibility remaining. He can certainly blossom into a solid power running back.
And, moving him to defense? Really? When next year it'll be him, Shaw and the incoming freshmen? First with Turner, now with this. It seems like GBMW likes to fan the fire. I have found their posts in the past few days to be quite irresponsible.
EDIT: Again, I can't help but chuckle. GBMW's first sentence in response to the "mailbag" question:
"We like Cox."