Field goals still a competition.....aaarrrrgghhh
"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
photo from file
Today was the fourteenth practice of fall camp. There has been improvement on both sides of the ball, but it's important to continue improving consistency.
Freshmen - Almost completely done with academic stuff for summer. "They're hit and miss a little bit with meetings, hit and miss with the period of practice times and all that." A couple of those guys will be able to help the team.
Academics - "I don't think we've had too many guys slide backwards, or not do what they're supposed to do." The guys are taking care of business, and the coaching/support staff is helping them understand their responsibilities. Got some grades back today that were all pretty good. He doesn't anticipate any issues academically.
Scrimmage on Saturday - "I want to see us #1 go out there and we're treating it like a gameday... I want to see how they prepare for that scrimmage, from a mental standpoint." Saturday is only two weeks away from the first game, so they need to be prepared and ready to perform.
Miami violations - only worried about making sure everything is handled right at Michigan. "Educating everybody. Our kids, first and foremost, on being a student athlete, what that's all about."
Corwin Brown - "Our thoughts are with him and his family. We think about him every day. He's a Michigan Man."
Taking care of the football pretty well offensively. "That's one we need to be always on guard. Last three years we're minus-32 in turnover margin, and that's not winning football."
Borges - "I think he's really hands-on [with QBs]. I think because of Al's knowledge of the quarterback position... I just think I like how he teaches and like how he coaches, with the demeanor he does that with."
Denard - completing 70% of passes right now. That includes any drill that has a competitive aspect. "We may not be tackling and doing all that, but we chart every throw." He's at the point they'd want him to be a couple weeks out from the first game. "I think he's done a good job." Denard has hit the timing routes well, and the ball is coming off quicker. "You've gotta give the guys catching the ball credit, because I think their route-running is better."
Denard - "He wants to be one of the great Michigan quarterbacks. And so does Devin Gardner." They're learning and understanding what a Michigan QB is. It's helpful to have a second QB get a few reps early in the year in case you need him later. Gardner - "I like his maturity, and just his body language and everything else." He's not at the 70% number that Denard is - between 59-62%.
RB - still an open competition. "I don't think we've seen any separation by anybody yet." Nobody in particular has the advantage. "At times Vince looks good, Hop looks good at times, Shaw looks good, Cox does some things in there. And I'm probably forgetting a guy." Disappointed that nobody has separated? "I'd probably not be truthful if I said no." All the guys are working hard, but nobody has separated as the #1 yet.
"I would say probably 2 or 3" starting positions on defense are set by now. Woolfolk and Martin have had nice camps, and Kovacs has had a nice camp. The other positions aren't quite settled.
Do they have defensive playmakers - "You've gotta understand, I'm real hard on a defense now. I'd say no."
On D, there are a lot of packages, trying to focus on the ones they're most comfortable with. "From a defensive standpoint, I think we were tighter on the coverage part, I think we were faster in hitting from point A to point B, whatever that point might be, and that's a plus."
We'll get to the quarterback. "I think we've made a really good stride from let's say practice 7 to 14, whether it be a 3-man rush and pushing it, or whether it be bringing 5 on a zone blitz, or bringing all of them on a zero blitz." They have lot of different looks to give the QB.
"Brink has really had a good camp. He's a kid that really I think is a tough kid and plays with good technique." His emergence since spring was a welcome surprise. "I think it's real healthy for us" to have a walk-on like Brink to push for playing time. That's a credit to Brink. Will Campbell - "He's competin', he'll compete, and then we'll go from there." Brink can play multiple positions, so he's not necessarily taking a spot from Campbell.
Martin - "We've just gotta stay fundamentally sound with him. That's his biggest obstacle at times. He's not following through on the basic fundamentals once in a while." He's working hard and showing good endurance, however.
Secondary play - We have to play tighter.
Kicking - "we did some things up at the stadium the other day, and I thought Gibbons kicked very well. I think it's still a great competition, and I wouldn't say we have who it is. I think Wile's doing a nice job in both, well all three of them really. I imagine he'll be our kickoff guy for sure. I think he's punting pretty daggone well." Field goals still a competition.
"I feel like, as of right now, we aren't where we want to be. We want to be perfect." All the coaches preach toughness, and going the extra mile. The players have to focus on the details, and everybody has to put in the work.
Hoke's attention to the defense makes practices challenging. "We need that challenge. We have to play under that pressure."
"It doesn't mean too much" that he's not one of the players Hoke listed as starters. Missing spring ball meant he had to catch up physically, though it did give him some extra time with the playbook this spring.
The coaching staff is great at breaking down the scheme so players understand their roles. "It's all just one big piece to the puzzle."
Some young players are stepping up: "We have Desmond, we have Jake Ryan stepping up, we have Jordan Paskorz, who's competing."
The team hasn't watched any film of last year's defense. They have watched a few clips of the Baltimore Ravens from last year, to demonstrate certain techniques.
Defensive identity? "I want it to be like how it used to be... We're just gonna be tough. A tough defense this year."
There hasn't been too much change for the offensive line. They ran zone schemes last year, they ran power last year. "We just block the plays that are called." They're putting a bigger emphasis on the downhill running plays this year. Time of possession will be an important part of this year's game plan. "Staying on the field as an offense."
Mark has game experience at both guard and tackle, so whichever he's called upon to play won't affect his game.
Denard is getting more comfortable in the offense, and sitting in the pocket. It'll be nice for the offensive line to have a returning starter. "It helps a lot for consistency, because you've got the same guy back there. You know how he plays, you know what he's capable of."
David Molk is a great leader. He works really hard in the weight room, which inspires his teammates. He's a vocal leader as well, and he's proven his leadership on the field. "It's always good to have at least one guy who'll do all that stuff."
Nathan Brink is a very hard worker, and he has good technique on the field. "He comes off the real hard. And he uses his hands well, too."
"I'm doing better [than spring] but I've always got time for improvement. I'm not there yet." He's used to the plays now, because he practiced them with his wideouts all summer. "Every time I had a chance to get in, I got in."
Greg Mattison always has some crazy blitz schemes in practice. "He's making me a better quarterback... and I'm quick on my toes." Despite Mattison's blitzes, they're able to pick up protections. "I know I've got the best offensive line in the country, and I can sit back there for a while." There's good chemistry between Denard and the line now.
"I am running less, and I'm enjoying it. I love seeing Vincent and Shaw and Mike Cox and Stephen Hopkins make plays off the run." Last year, the coaches were drilling him on trusting the line to give him time before he needed to take off.
Roy Roundtree, Jeremy Gallon, Junior Hemingway, Je'Ron Stokes, and Terrence Robinson are some of the receivers who can go get the ball.
"Michael Vick and Peyton Manning. You've gotta say those two. I love watching those guys play, and Tom Brady." Even though they have different playing styles, they can stand in the pocket and make the throws, and are willing to take off if the checkdown isn't available.
There's a friendly QB competition between Denard and Devin Gardner. "Devin's probably one of the best quarterbacks I've seen."
The footwork "is one of the biggest things I had to work on. You know, that's what we had to do the whole offseason. Just work on timing and footwork." Coach Borges worked with him on taking his step up in the pocket forward, instead of taking a hop-step in place.
Field goals still a competition.....aaarrrrgghhh
i want a miracle...but starting to get the vibe our defense cant be fixed over one off season. is it just me? tell me im wrong and everything is happy land again.
Offense will be different, maybe better, maybe worse, than last year - I don't really have a feel for it. They're older and more skilled as a unit, but the coaching change has set them back. Just have to wait and see.
On the other hand, the vibe I'm getting from Mattison and Hoke both is that the defense is not in good shape. While the coaching last year was clearly an issue, the conclusion I'm drawing is that those guys really weren't very good, and there wasn't a coach in the world who was going to make them decent. I suspect this year will be a bit better than last year, due to both older players and better coaching, but it's still going to be a lot of baling wire and duct tape for a while. I foresee a bunch of four-letter-words in Brians defensive UFRs yet this season.
Don't see as ending up much better than 7-5, with 6-6 more likely. The end of the season will be another meatgrinder. This year Hoke gets a pass, anyway, as he establishes his baseline. As with Rodriguez, my criterion for evaluation will be improvement more than anything else. The wins will come as long as we keep improving.
If these two play the whole year, I'm confident they will be worth at least a one game improvement. Obi was a disaster at one of the most important positions on the field, and Troy will either a) be a huge improvement at corner or b) be a talented and much needed safety net at fs. This can only help the rest of the defense, and help limit all of the big plays and boneheaded missed assignments from last year.
If we can be as good on offense, a little better on defense, but much better on turnover margin, that could be enough to stay at 7 wins and be more competitive in the losses. I don't expect the defense to generate a whole lot more, but if we just hang on to the ball, it could be a huge difference.
I think the offense will be nice, a healthier Denard equals a more deadly Denard, I just want a RB to step up and take the job. I want Denard to know he can hand the ball and its in good hands.
The defense I am not too sure about, I think they will be better, but again thats not saying much. Everything I read about BWC is that he is competing, which worries me, that means, ya he is trying hard but its not there. I hope all the coaches are saying this to light fires in their eyes and they go even harder and come regular season its like night a day from last couple years.
Check the date, Tim.
I LOVE DENARD XAVIER ROBINSON
Is it just me, or does Hoke look a lot more comfortable, eloquent, and relaxed than in his first few pressers? I was underwhelmed at his opening press conference, but he looks a lot better now. He seems to be getting the hang of it.
Absolutely. He has a more soothing demeanor, and he no longer makes me worry about whether he's going to say something that might make him sound bad.
6'22" - reminded me of Dubya for a sec... anyone else see it? It's not a terrible thing, because I'm sure Dubya might have made a great football coach.
I would agree... however it shows on his face when he didnt get sleep from the night before... which by the press videos, it seems like he's had some long nights piecing together this team!
Btw - Boyz - your video embeds are always appreciated!
I do love how Hoke seems to hold the defense to a different standard than the offense. God I just keep counting down the days to the beginning of the season.
God it shouldn't surprise me at this point, but I have never seen a QB be so humble and answer all the questions the right way. He is always giving credit to someone else, what a great representative of Michigan. There are so many great Michigan players that I admire, but Denard has to be my favorite, he is a special young man.
Classy, mature kid. And always great to see him running around with that giant grin on his face. He just loves playing.
Classy, mature kid. And always great to see him running around with that giant grin on his face. He just loves playing.
It's all practice at this point though - based on how the O did in the spring, most of the fans (and preview mags) downgraded expectations to average, while simultaneously upgrading the D.
I appreciate the insight, but what I get from this is that our best player is feeling comfortable in a new system. And that's a great thing.
That's no bad news, aside from the BWC stuff. I'm not going to get bummed about Denard torching our defense - I think he'll torch every defense and we don't have to play against a player like Denard. It sounds like we have a lot of guys in the secondary who can play, so that's a good thing. Just not sure what we'll do about that last tackle spot. Missing out on those two DTs is now hurting us.
Also - no mention of Fitz either time the RBs were mentioned. That's a little surprising considering there was a little hype around him so far, no biggie though.
Weird that Fitz isn't even mentioned. I feel like there's still hope to the point where we don't need Rawls to save the day. Toussaint was rumored to be with the ones last fall, then was injured all season. Maybe he's like, good. Also, I kind of agree with Brian's assessment of Rawls. He doesn't look that fast or shifty, and he's not exactly John Clay sized either.
I'm holding out hope for Fitz. It's like this: with running backs, you kind of know what you have--more or less--once you see the product on the field. There are obvious exceptions to this with guys who make a huge leap between underclassman and upperclassman status (e.g., Perry), but in general, and moreso than most any other position, what you see is what you get.
With most of our RBs, we've seen what they look like in a game, and the result has been okay. Guys who have suffered injuries and haven't been full speed still have a mystique about them. It's like they might be better than average. There's still hope. We haven't really seen, so we don't know what we've got yet. That's my fasicination with Fitz. All we really know about him is he absolutely shredded the Ohio HS circuit. Shredded. His senior year was epic. He has gotten high praise in practice reports when he's been mentioned at all. And he's averaging like 40 yards a carry in the very limited time that we've seen him in real games.
I believe in Fitzgerald Toussaint.
I'm a bit concerned that Toussaint might just be mythical kind of like those Soviet Union labor success stories where some heroic citizen produced an incredible amount of whatever in a factory. It's like he's being used for propaganda purposes.
Still, I believe.
Not quite. Over the season, Fitz had a total of 8 carries for 87 yards. 66 of those yards came on the one long run against BG, leaving 7 carries for 21 yards, or a 3.0 average. Other than the BG run, his longest carries were for 8 and 4 yards.
You're right in saying that we don't know what we've got yet in Fitz. Just like we don't really know what we've got in Mike Cox, or to some extent Hopkins.
in his list-- but using just the "Fitz" it went by pretty quickly. That Dilithium Speak.
Rawls and Hayes sounds like a damn good 1-2 punch. Thunder and Lightning.
Sounds like a 70's R&B group.
In addition to the two signing day losses at DT, UM kind of screwed up the Jonathan Hankins recruitment. I heard Luke Fickell on the radio the other day talking about how he was a great worker and going to be a big contributer for OSU this season.
far more successful as a DL than William Campbell ever will be. I agree that RR & Co mishandled the recruitment of Hankins. The kid had a good combination of size and talent; the only question was conditioning, so they held off extending an offer until he lost weight and was in better shape. This was about a 17- or 18-year old kid, not some seasoned NFL player who shows up in training camp out of shape. By the time Hankins did what RR & Co demanded, OSU had nabbed him, correctly seeing his potential.
What the staff should have done is offered him with the explicit verbal proviso that the offer was good as long as Hankins improved his conditioning. If he didn't, the offer might be rescinded. If Hankins was as much of a Michigan fan as was portrayed, he would have accepted the offer eagerly, would have gotten in better shape as he matured another year in HS, and he'd be an important player on our DL now. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
I'm not an RR, hater. He was the ultimate quare peg in a round hole and the Hankins recrutiment was just one of the 1,000 ways in which the RR experiment failed here.
It was kind of like when they burned DG's redshirt for 2 plays so he could teach Tate a lesson. You can somewhat see the logic of the moves, but they ended up totally blowing up in RR's face and probably weren't worth the risk. Same with persuing Dorsey when he had no chance of getting accepted.
This tells me woolfolk has recovered which is a great step
Where'd you hear this? What street?
Better wait till you hear it on Main Street till you lend it any credence.
some lithium pills?
The good news for the defense is they aren't going to face to many teams, if any, that have a QB with Denards speed and elusiveness. Now if there were reports that someone in the David Cone mold was ripping off 20, 40, 60 yds run on the defense, I'd be much more concerned.
Your post made me happy to read, love hearing how Denard is just rippin it up. It sucks to hear that the D hasnt clicked yet but I believe they are going against the deadliest QB in that nation so thats only going to help them. I dont think anyone can do what Denard can do and people who say Taylor Martinez can are smokin that good stuff.
I love how he says "we" were minus-32 in turnover margin the last three years. Those are just the little things that make me love this guy.
I know that there is really not much info in the press release and that playing against yourself does nothing to give a fan an indication of which side is good or bad, but the tone of this makes me feel good.
Denard is throwing well and is a month(?) ahead of their internal schedule. Devin is a sold backup.
They are getting to the QB against a solid O line.
Better routes by receivers.
Kind words for kickers who seem to need exactly that to get their confidence back.
Maybe it was Mattison and Borgess being less than enthused in their previous comments, but the tome of this press conference sounds more promising to me.
(Maybe it's the scotch I'm drinking though.)
Like the opinions above, I too feel like the coaches' views of the defense are getting more guarded. Interestingly, Roh and RVB aren't on the settled starter list, and all we have heard about BWC in the past two years is pad level ... It sounds to me like the defense is struggling with a combination of scheme change, in addition to the fundamentals many weren't getting right to start with.
I am hopeful that a weakened OSU, Dayne Crist still not fully getting it, and Iowa breaking in a lot of new starters providing us with the opportunity to win a few or the key match ups.
But the latest coaches reports have me steeling up for a rough roller coaster of a season.
that Roh has been ill.
I know that this is off subject but does anyone know if the players sign autographs before the game if fans arrive early? Or, is there a certain gate that fans wait for players to exit to take pictures or sign autographs after games? Any help would be appreciated. Thanx
To my knowledge players do not sign autographs at all on gameday. They stay at the team hotel the night before, and the first time anyone sees them is at the Victors Walk.
And if you've ever been to the Victors Walk you know they don't sign then.
Now I'm not sure about after the game. I'm guessing they leave through the tunnel well after the game has ended, but I have never waited for them to see if they sign. Maybe they take buses back together? Not sure.
after the Illinois game last year. Players were giving autographs and we got pictures of them as well.
As a little kid, I remember getting autographs after the game on the east side of stadium. I don't recall the players coming out of the tunnel but rather out of Crisler. Maybe its not exactly Crisler, but there are some doors between Crisler and the Stadium close to the steps on the east side of the stadium. Never figured out how they make their way to that exit point.
This is generally where the player's parents wait after the game. The players usually sit there to chat a little and most are willing to sign stuff.
I happened to be over that way after the Illinois game this past year and there were still a ton of players that make their way out there.
Hope this helps.
You're better off hanging out by the tunnel for autographs after a win than a loss. I mean, duh, but they're more likely to hang and mingle, and obviously be in a better mood, and you won't look like a douchenozzle for bugging them then rather than when they're trying to slink away after a loss to get some peace and quiet.
Maybe I'll go after our thrashing of Western. We'll be 1-0 and undefeated.
There must be some sort of mistake. I didn't see "manball" mentioned once under the Hoke section. How can that be?
while i think the defense isn't going to be good this year (hopefully average) i think it's really gonna be hard to get a feel for what it's gonna be like until the product hits the field. it's hard to gauge anything you hear from the coaches with a defensive minded hc who probably wouldn't have too much good to say about a better defense. not saying thats bad it's just that it seems coach hoke's expectations are high and his praise for the defense will be minimal at best.
I agree, I kinda like the difficulties Hoke and Mattison have giving praise to the defense. It's not that the D isn't performing well, it's just that Hoke and Mattison have high standards. I like this attitude, it promotes a culture of constantly trying to improve.