i find this extremely interesting
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.