"For the first game, Rodriguez is making an effort to get all the former Wolverines that are currently in the NFL to come as honorary captains."
Big Ten Media Days: Rich Rod Roundtable
Personnel & Schemes
- The quarterbacks need the quarterbacks to play faster and be "more fundamentally sound." They were freshmen last year, so they'll learn. Ball security is a big point of emphasis, but it's hard to work on that without full contact. The QBs were mostly live in the spring, but you can't risk them getting hurt in fall camp. It's a relief to finally have second-year players under center. That should help them with decision-making and ball security.
- Freshman quarterbacks are a little more prepared to come in and play right away. Part of that is the increase of spread offenses in high school, and also kids playing football year-round. The coaches don't want to play Gardner just one or two plays a game to waste a redshirt but if he can help the team win, he'll see the field.
- Mike Cox and Fitzgerald Toussaint have to step up at the running back position. Vincent Smith should be 100% after his knee injury, and the timeframe has accelerated for ACL tears with modern science. (note conspicuous lack of Shaw).
- Jeremy Gallon is mostly a slot receiver, but he might have a chance to play in the backfield as he learns more. Terrance Robinson and Kelvin Grady have the same situation. If they learn quickly in August, they have a chance to get some reps at running back.
- The offensive line is closer to where Rodriguez wants it to be, in terms of their physical makeup and experience. David Molk and Steve Schilling will be the leaders on the offensive line. Though Molk was a recruit under coach Carr, he was recruited by Rodriguez at West Virginia.
- Renaldo Sagesse, Greg Banks, and Adam Patterson have been contributors. They'll need to play bigger roles this year. Will Campbell got a lot of reps this spring and got better, but he still has a lot to work on. He needs to show up to camp in shape. Mike Martin is 100% healed from his surgery. He could be the most important player to defensive success. He's the most explosive, powerful big man in the program. He wasn't fully healthy at the end of last year, which might have harmed his performance on the field.
- If Mark Moundros wins a linebacker position, he probably won't continue playing fullback. He's not just at linebacker as a gimmick, and there's a chance he'll get minutes there.
- JT Floyd had a good spring, so the coaches have some confidence in him. Mike Williams, Cameron Gordon, Justin Turner, and Vlad Emilien (who missed part of spring with injury) will also contribute. JT Turner might still take a leap, and Cam Gordon has. Some true freshman defensive backs will still play. Cullen Christian and Courtney Avery will likely contribute at corner. Ray Vinopal, Carvin Johnson, and Marvin Robinson have a chance to contribute at safety. The numbers in the secondary are good, but the depth is very inexperienced.
- The kicker position battle in August will mostly be between Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen. Gibbons got in shape this spring, and improved. Will Hagerup should be the punter. Tom Pomarico should be the long-snapper, and Jared Van Slyke will probably be the holder on field goals. Rodriguez is much more comfortable with the returners and gunner on special teams.
- Kicking (particularly on field goals) and defensive depth are probably the biggest question marks going into the fall.
- Part of the reason for the defensive scheme change is to get guys thinking less and just playing instinctually. It won't be a West Virginia-style 3-3-5. It will actually be a lot like last year's D. The defense should be good this year, with much more available depth, and more consistency. It's insulting to the team to peg them as a squad that will have to outscore people.
- They're focusing on creating more turnovers defensively. They charted missed opportunities last year, and want to minimize those. Getting more guys to the ball should help with takeaways.
- Rodriguez and Athletic Department officials have met with attorneys to prepare for their meeting in front of the NCAA's infractions committee (August 13-15 in Seattle). There have been a couple run-throughs, including one with everyone who will be there.
- Michigan has done a good job preparing responses, and getting everyone ready for the hearing. All Rodriguez can do is be honest, and hope the committee sees his sincerity.
- As soon as Rodriguez gets on the plane to leave Seattle, his mind will be right back on two-a-days. It will be a relief to have it over with.
- Rich doesn't worry about whether his personal reputation is on the line in his meeting with the NCAA. That's something he can't waste energy on, he just gets prepared for it.
- There isn't an adversarial relationship between coaches and compliance personnel. They have a good relationship, but this process has forced a re-evaluation of some of their processes.
- The players report for camp Sunday night with a team meeting, and have their first practice Monday (August 9th). There will be a press conference following the first practice.
- Conelius Jones, Demar Dorsey, and Antonio Kinard did not end up at Michigan. Kinard and Jones might eventually make their way to Ann Arbor depending on how they perform at prep schools this fall.
- With a small senior class, it's important that they can be leaders. "We have enough guys in that class that they'll be vocal, and kinda take ownership moreso than the last couple years." The senior leaders know what's expected.
- Keeping agents out of the program starts with educating players and their families about the process. Players sometimes don't understand that it's selfish to take things before their eligibility is up.
- Many players haven't been in the stadium since it's been completed. They'll scrimmage there a couple time in August to get used to it. It takes getting used to new turf, and sometimes they even have to water them down.
- Rodriguez prefers to practice in warm and dry weather, so the players can get used to the heat. They want to practice just a couple times in wet weather.
- They'll plan for UConn during the month of August. They worked on it a little in the spring, and have built up "an extensive scouting report over the summer."
- For the first game, Rodriguez is making an effort to get all the former Wolverines that are currently in the NFL to come as honorary captains. They're trying to get a big group of them, as many as possible.
- It takes a few years for a program to be completely the personality of the coach. Players and coaches have to become comfortable with one another.
This is badass. We will have so many recruits, and big ones (what up, Dee) at that game, and giving them a chance to hang out with Henne and Braylon and Breaston and Long and Woodley and Harris and all those guys they see play on Sunday would be awesome.
If TB and Woodson make it, that would be incredible.
are the top two UM guys in the NFL, they should be mentioned first if anybody is.
Well, that's a debatable statement, but I wasn't listing them in any particular order, and my first group was mostly guys who played at UM more recently. There are probably that many more guys I could have named, I didn't want to list our entire NFL roster.
Hutch is a great player, one of the best ever at his position, but Woodson is right up there with him. It's hard to say definitively one is better than the other. As far as the one recruits would be more excited to see? Charles Woodson by a landslide, and that was where I was going with my comment.
It would be great if College Gameday were to come as well (Desmond!). Unfortunately, there are two bigger matchups that weekend in Boise vs VT, and LSU vs. UNC.
If RRod manages to get Woodley, Brady, Hutchinson, Woodson, et al up to the Big House, Desmond better tell Herbie to blow him and skip out for the Big House. College Gameday happens every week, a gathering of such epic proportions at a new Big House is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
While I agree with you that given our record the last 2 years we can't claim to be a marquee matchup in Game 1, a game involving Boise against anyone can't be one of the ones that are more attractive than ours, unless we play D St. again. While Boise has had top ten success, due almost entirely to their very weak conference, they are Boise. If they were undefeated 4 years in a row they would still be Boise, unless they do it in a top conference. And moving to the MWC will only help that some. A Boise matchup against VT it worth watching (I'm calling VT victory right now), but trust me, ratings for our game will beat that one.
I mean, most years you'd be right on. But Michigan is unranked and coming off of two losing seasons and UConn is unranked and has nothing for a football fanbase.
Boise St. is Boise St., but right now they're #5 Boise St. playing against #6 Virginia Tech. There are a lot of people who like Boise as an underdog and are excited to see them beat a top-10 team to start the season, and there are the mid-major haters who will want to see VT beat up on Boise St so they have a reason to keep them out of the BCS bowls.
Also, two top 6 teams only meet so many times over the course of the season, and that alone will give this a lot of hype, regardless of the names on the jerseys. That will almost always draw better than 2 unranked teams, one of which no one cares about.
which is superior to mine. Damn, because I'm one of those guys that believe Boise is overblown and would be mid level-at best- playing in the B!0. But the bandwagon does roll on, and a #5 ranking against #6 will make for a good promotion.
Plus, how many chances will the recruits get to meet the Space Emperor (of space)?
Hmmm, I didn't know Conelius didn't make it.
...here's the thing: Conelius Jones didn't make it.
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
the other half of the battle resulted in Kevin Sousa
Our coach is awesome.
Thing, the first. Might Shaw have a learning disability? If I remember correctly, he aslo had trouble learning the playbook. Football be damned, let's help this kid graduate.
Thing, the second.
It's insulting to the team to peg them as a squad that will have to outscore people.
I absolutely love hearing this. I want my defense pissed off and with bad intentions (just keep it clean). My personal theme song for them--because it matters--is X Gon' Give It to Ya by DMX:
Break bread with the enemy
But no matter how many cats I break bread with
I'll break who you sendin me
You [guys] never wanted nothin
But your life saved, that's on a light day
Someone get the MMB an arrangement of this STAT!
In Football, don't you ALWAYS have to outscore the opposition? Even if your defense is pitching a shut-out, you still need to score more than the other team... I don't get his logic.
Have you ever heard a football commentator even utter a single word? I'm serious.
"Here's a guy that, without his contact lens, he can't see very well."
The way I see it, he meant one of two things. The first is that he thinks we can win football games by scoring fewer points than our opponents. The second is that he was referring to the saying of "outscoring your opponents" which implies the team will need to win by scoring more points, not by allowing fewer points, implying the defense is bad.
It's 50/50 which he meant.
RR was talking about the feeling among some fans that there might be a lot of shootouts/high scoring games by both UM and the opponent this year.
Saying that a team has to rely on outscoring the other is meant to imply that they can't rely on the defense to keep them in the game. It's saying that it's a given that the opposition will put up high numbers, and that the team can't win unless their offense can keep pace with that.
I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you were making a funny. If only because I really enjoy seeing Bruce kick the snot out of that weird thing with the red O hat.
I think we still need one more explanation of what Rodriguez meant!
I like that Rich thinks the defense is better than we think. Rich is more optimistic than us!
It’s a bit disappointing that the team gave a scholarship to a placekicker who is now in his second year with the program (Gibbons), and it’s still no better than 50/50 that he’ll see the field. Many teams give the kicking jobs to walk-ons, but if you’re going to give a scholarship at that position, you’d like it to be a guy who actually wins the job.
Why Gibbons hasn’t sealed the deal yet is hard to figure. Unlike some positions, the kicking jobs are basically the same at all levels of football. If you can hit a 40-yard FG consistently in high school, you ought to be able to hit it in college too. (Compare that to, say, a linebacker, where the responsibilities can be very different, depending on the kind of system you play.)
I wonder if it’s just an issue of mental intensity and concentration. Gibbons must have had the chops in high school, to have been awarded a scholarship at placekicker. It’s strange that he can’t hit them consistently enough in practice to win the job outright.
Remember, the coaches haven't seen these kids for one second since spring practice. There's a good chance that Gibbons has improved enough to seize the gig by now. Also, this could be a motivational ploy for Gibbons, though that's just speculation.
Player X has earned the starting position. Maybe after fall camp, but what you're more likely to hear is "all positions are open to competition."
There is one major difference between kicking in HS and college. In HS you can use a 'block,' which elevates the ball off the ground slightly and makes it easier to kick (IMO). In college ball, you have to kick off the ground, which takes an adjustment. That being said, I agree that Michigan could probably find a suitable walk on in the student body without much effort.
Bryan Wright was another recent scholarship kicker that never panned out (he never even attempted a field goal). I'm wondering if there's more to coaching placekickers than we think, because it sure seems like OSU and Iowa, to name two programs, never seem to have the instability at PK that we regularly have.
I'll draw on my experience, which comes in two forms:
1.) I was one (I was a lineman first! Don't judge me!)
2.) I coach them now (Norwalk, OH - both Jr. High and HS)
The way I understand it, Gibbons has a mega leg, but--at least going into spring--he had the tendency to shotgun spray his attempts everywhere.
Bottom line: kickers can be headcases. A lot of the time, a team just doesn't know what it's getting until the guy steps out onto the field. I've seen kickers who will nail shots from 45 yards in practice, and piddle down their legs when called upon to do it in a game. Maybe some schools, as has been mentioned, seem better at weeding out the nutbars than others. In short, it's definitely more of a mental thing than anything.
Not sure what my level of concern should be about Moundros possibly seeing minutes at LB. They've got two guys who have seen a lot of action the last two years (Ezeh and Mounton) and a couple other guys who have seen the field and been LB's their entire time at UM(Demens and Leach). Now they've got a guy who I think has played fullback his entire career at UM switching to LB and possibly taking minutes away from those guys. Makes me wonder whether Moundros is killing it at LB, whether the LB's other then Moundros aren't that good or a combo of those two.
you wouldn't be asking this question. That is one intimidating individual. LB is a very natural fit for him. Some guys are just flat-out athletic (multiple positions, even multiple sports is something that comes naturally to them).
If only intimidating was a major factor in being good at a LB...
If one of those two is going to see the field, I'll take Moundros, plz.
Isn't that one of Brian's rules? If any player switches positions and is immediately in the 2-deep, that position group probably isn't very good.
He wasn't in the two-deep in the spring.
When coaching youth football, you have players play complimentary positions on both sides of the ball. A tight end plays DE, O line plays DT, fullbacks and half backs play LB, etc. Moundros has most likely played LB before.
Obi is the one most questioned in all the analyses I've seen. While there seem to be many options at OLB / hybrid roles, we don't seem to have a lot of MLB options. So hopefully the dynamic of Moundros in the mix creates some competition, and we end up with Obi and Jonas improving, as well as Moundros and a few other back-up options nipping at their heels.
If Moundros earns a spot, I am guessing it will be Obi's. As I've said before, Obi seems like a great guy though, so I'd really like to see him turn it up this year. Same with Jonas.
Woodson is the most prominent Wolverine currently in the NFL and it isn't debatable in my eyes.
Tom Brady called, he wanted to mention that he's banging Gisele.
Oh and that he's probably more recognizable to someone who is solely an NFL fan.
Woodson is our most prominent defensive player though, and obviously if you include college career he's more prominent than Tom Brady.
someone who knows nothing about the NFL. The only other NFL players who are even in the running are those who've appeared on Dancing with the Stars.
There is this guy that plays for the Patriots...what's his name again? He might be up there too...
On that note: what was the band McCartney was in before Wings?
Name that Wolverine: This former Michigan great and current NFL superstar has won 3 Super Bowls, 2 Super Bowl MVP's, and had the greatest single season in NFL history. He is a pop culture icon and bangs the biggest supermodel in the world. Plus, he was a fluke catch away from a 4th super bowl title, 3rd MVP, and being the quarterback for a perfect team.
I think this guy is the most prominent Wolverine in the NFL and it is not up for debate.
You mean that dude who threw five touchdowns in one quarter in the snow?
(Oh, I wouldn't call her the biggest super model - maybe the hottest ...)
I am going to go against the tide and agree with you. Brady is way more prominent in his post-Michigan career, no doubt, what with winning all of those Super Bowls (several as an MVP), marrying one of the hottest supermodels, being on the cover of just about every magazine and pretty much being perfect and all. But, in terms of just the Michigan fanbase, I would say that in recent years, Charlie Heisman would be our most prominent alum. There is probable no player that would get a louder or longer reception at the Big House.
You may have this perception, but it's completely wrong. He's embraced former Wolverines (even some who were given the cold shoulder by their head coach Lloyd Carr) since Day 1. It's this sort of crap that people bring up as "fact" when they're just looking for reasons to dislike Rodriguez.
you don't have to "look" for a reason to dislike his tenure. Not knowing the guy, I don't have any reason to dislike him personally.
That's my point. Being upset with the product on the field is fine, but saying he's an asshole, a hillbilly, "doesn't care about Michigan tradition," and all this other crap is not only uncalled-for, it's completely untrue.
I have also levied some criticism of RR (and have also defended him) but I actually never understood the criticism that RR did not have a connection with our program's history. RR didn't play for Michigan, didn't coach here and, in fact, never had a prior association with any of the B10 schools. How does everyone think that he should have an instant connection with Michigan's past. It takes time to learn the traditions, to get to know the former players / coaches / icons, and to fully appreciate what it is that makes us Michigan. It is unrealistic for us to all assume that on Day 1, RR would have shown up knowing everything that there is to know about Michigan.
But, much like many of us who spent 4 years at Michigan, I am hopeful that RR's love and knowledge of our program will grow with each passing year. Bringing back the former players is a great step in that direction.
Some people are raised by parents who are fans of Michigan. Others, like me, have to discover what it means to be a part of Michigan on their own. Either way, it is pretty evident that this is a fabulous place to be.