And the work that goes into it.
That, and the first non-Emo front page post of the day.
Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
(First post! So we're trying to use more direct quotes from now on. Let's see how it goes.)
General: Seven [practices] left ... Proud of attitude and effort to improve. "Where we are? I don't know ... I see times out there when we're approaching a Michigan defense. And then I don't see it enough times. We gotta see it on a more consistent basis."
Seeing more of what you like? I am seeing more. "What I look at at every single position is technique. I'm seeing great improvement on their technique. I can't accept [excuses like] being a long camp and a lot of hitting, why I get tired and why I don't use my technique. There's going to be games when you're going to be out there more than you have to be. You got to rely on your technique."
Two-deep: "We have not filled out a two-deep. The scrimmage tomorrow, that will be a big key. We're going into our house -- we're going to the Big House -- and if you can't play like you have to play, then you're telling us a lot."
How many guys do you feel comfortable playing? For next weekend, "I hope it's 22." Needs to have 22 capable guys, and have seven more days to get 22. Won't ever be a coach who says we lost a game because a guy got injured.
What are your impressions of Troy Woolfolk? "I'm really, really impressed with a senior -- with a new staff, with a new system -- with a guy that comes out every day and says 'I'm going to do what you tell me to do, I'm going to do it how you tell me to do it, and I'm going to try as hard as I can to do it.' ... I think his technique is improving."
"I don't see any signs of (the ankle injury) at all."
On cornerback competition: "We've got a number of guys still battling for it ... One day you might say, 'this is the guy,' and then he may not be as consistent the next day." Happens to just about everyone. Can't name anyone in particular. Have to wait another week. "They're all in same boat."
On defensive standouts: "A lot of guys, different days." Mike Martin, Troy ... "probably would leave it right there" ... are guys that have more good days than bad. Needs everyone to be consistent all the time. "Those two guys haven't done it every day, either."
Marvin Robinson and Jake Ryan ... haven't heard about them in a while: "Marvin was a little bit sick, got through that. He's a guy, two days ago, [had me saying] 'yeah that's how I want you to play.'" Maybe today too, but hasn't watched film. Jake was out with minor injuries for almost a week, but came back yesterday. "(He) right away had a great hit." He knew what to do when new defenses went in, because "when he came back he didn't miss a beat."
"Our SAMs would also be guys that, in our sub or nickel packages, would be pass rushers." As such, Jake is playing SAM and big part of sub/nickel package.
Josh Furman? He is inconsistent.
Harder than anticipated to improve defense? "No, it's Michigan."
Battle at WILL linebacker: "A young man by the name of Desmond Morgan has shown some great signs." He got a little nicked up the past couple of days. They do a thing called "production points" where the coaches gives players points whenever defensive plays are made: interceptions = 10 pts, fumble recoveries = 7. tackles = 3.
"Hawthorne was in 10 plays in the live scrimmage, and I think he had 24 or 25 points. So I'm sitting here thinking, 'Wow, we got a guy right here.' And then he twisted his ankle a little bit, but he'll be back."
"A defensive player can have his technique be perfect every play, but if he doesn't make plays, you're not going to have a great defense."
"Jones showed some great things." Morgan, Hawthorne, and Herron. "All of them had their moments ... Now who's going to put the moments all together? That's what we've got to figure out."
Demens? Demens has been running with ones, had some good hits, but still not completely consistent.
Scrimmage: "I was pleased early." Got to be consistent. "When you're into your 60th or 65th play, what are you going to be like then? And that was what bothered me: I didn't see them stay the way they started out all the way through."
Is Craig Roh on the D-line? "Craig Roh is a rush. He's a rush outside linebacker for us. [Ed-M: This is a term for a 3/4 OLB with his hand on the ground. #FEARSOFGERG] Craig, Jibreel Black, and even the young kid Frank Clark. All three of those guys are working hard at that position."
Rapport with Denard: "I got on him today. He didn't play every play of yesterday's practice, and I yelled at him during stretch today: 'Boy, you must be as fresh as a daisy today,' and he gave me something back.' I love him."
The wide receivers are his adopted children. Goes over and talks crap to them every day.
General: "Our practices are not for the faint of heart. We get after them pretty good." It has been a real real grueling training camp. (We want to) see what they're made of when they're tired." But they're going to taper the intensity as gameday approaches.
On Denard: "He's picked it up. What we're trying to do is wean him a little bit. From the pass game perspective, we're not giving him so much that he's overwhelmed. It's what I call a starter set."
Right now this "starter set" of plays is about 65-70% of the SDSU playbook.
"As he feels better about it, we'll feed him a little more, particularly in the pass offense."
Chris Barnett? Talk to the hand. Or Hoke.
Starting RB: "Mike Shaw is definitely one of our ... if we played tomorrow, he'd probably be our starting running back." Has had a "heck of a camp, as has Fitz, and Stephen Hopkins, and Vince Brown" -- oopsies -- "Vince Smith." Smith is doing more situational stuff (aka 3rd down) but can still "run from the home position. We're not eliminating him from the fold that way."
There wasn't a lot of hype on Shaw before camp because of his hand injury. "He was not a participant in a big part of spring football ... I didn't really have a good bead on him other than what he had done before."
Freshmen? "We have two kids that are going to have a great future, but at this point, Justice Hayes is still developmental, and Thomas has had an injury that set him back ... Probably somebody will redshirt, but it's still too early to tell."
Expect to see just Shaw, Fitz, Hopkins, and Smith at this point. Rawls has missed a couple weeks with the injury, but he's back.
O-line: "We feel pretty good about our first five guys, first six guys, maybe even seven guys." It's a chemistry position, and likes the way it's shaking out. Funk is a very good technician. "He coaches them to the bone on the steps and all the things you gotta do to play that position, and they've come around."
Receivers: "I think you're going to see more than Junior and Roy out there." Hemmingway and Roundtree will start outside. Grady has done good job, and so has Gallon. Jeremy Jackson has good range because of his size. "Drew Dileo, he'll go in the middle and catch the ball. He's fearless." Will rotate often to keep players fresh because injuries occur more often when players are tired. WRs run a lot in camp, especially, but the coaches will be backing off on them for this last week.
Right tackle battle: "Mark Huyge has been very consistent. Mike Schofield has developed a great deal since spring - athletic, runs well. There will be a role for him, too." Feels good about the position. Good depth.
On Barnum: "Ricky is as athletic as anyone on our line. Ricky is a tough guy." Biggest problem is that he's a little underweight, but he's gotten stronger, doesn't get pushed around, and "looks like a back out there sometimes when he runs."
On scripting opening plays: "In the old days I used to script a lot more." Would script up to 25 plays, but is doing less these days. Never got to the last 10 plays, so stopped scripting so much. Just wants to call what they practice. "If you practiced it, you should do it in the game, otherwise that's bad economy of offense."
An esteemed Big Ten Network analyst said that Denard is going to be out of the shotgun more. "Dinardo said that, didn't he. Esteemed? Nah ... " JK. "Gerry if you're out there, you know I'm kidding."
"Shotgun is not deuce(?). We're tailoring the gun more to his skills ... We're going to use Denard the way he can best exploit the defense."
Which of his past offenses will this resemble most? "None." Nucleus of offense still same as when he started in 1986. QB skill set still most important aspect, so gotta tailor to that.
Thoughts on giving Devin PT? "I'm not promising anything on that, and if I was I wouldn't tell you anyway."
On last weekend's scrimmage: "Physical nature was good on both sides of the ball." Saw ability to create big plays, but too many self-inflicted wounds. We have to remedy that before we play. "When you're transitioning offenses -- and trust me guys I've done this a bunch, OK? -- you can survive if the damage you do (to yourself) is not excruciating ... you're going to have some pain, but if those aren't things that are catastrophic, you can survive."
General: "We've had our ups and down like anybody would in camp." Still striving for consistency. "You probably question your commitment if you're not fully into it in practice. We go full pads every day. We bang everyday."
How much more physical, maybe percentage-wise, are the practices compared with last year? "I don't have the stats in front of me [zing!] but statistically offensive line and defensive line, we bang everyday. We probably have periods of five minutes each. We probably have close to ten periods that are full-go offensive line (vs) defensive line, and that's not counting individual periods where the defensive line is servicing the defensive line and we're going against each other. We're very physical." Very.
Are you 5-tech or 3-tech? Currently playing both "depending on situations, who we're playing. Right now I've been repping both of them, and I'm comfortable with both of them. I've played both of them in the past. Fortunately I'm 290 lbs now. The last time I played 3 technique I was 260 and I don't think that went too well. I'm much more comfortable with the weight I'm at."
"I prefer 5-technique because I get to go against my bud back there." (Hi Taylor!) "Me and Taylor, we're real competitive. You know, we're good friends -- best buds. We got rings. It's no big deal."
Does moving people around hurt D-line chemistry it at all? "I can see how that's the perception, but that's not the case at all. The D-line has been together for so long. When you have that many reps with each other, regardless of what positions you're playing, you're still pretty comfortable with each other. Everybody has been together long enough that we feel chemistry regardless of who's in."
On Frank Clark: He's got raw athleticism. He's a fast guy, did track in high school. Coaches have been impressed.
Did you say something about rings? "No, it's just that me and Taylor, we're best buds. We talk about it sometimes."
Personal record between him and RVB? "It was 2-1 (Lewan) before today, and then we did 1-on-1 drills. He beat me today. But a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, right? So it's all good."
How's the O-line chemistry? Good. Lots of guys competing for positions. Mike Schofield especially. "He's everywhere. Right guard, right Tackle, left tackle, he's all over the place. It only makes everybody better. He pushes me, he pushes Huyge, he pushes Patrick Omameh, and that's awesome."
On Chris Bryant: "He's shown a lot of improvement. He got his weight down a lot, he's shown a lot of athleticism for a big guy. As far as playing this year, I'm not positive -- I'm not a coach, but I think he's doing some really good things, and I'm excited about his future."
Is this offense as efficient as last year? "We'll get four yards, and that's successful for us. We're much more into nickel and diming it, just moving the ball up and down the field. Controlling the game. That's a big part of us now, and how Michigan has been for a while."
On Barnum: "He's improved so much. He's playing like a redshirt senior." With Schilling gone, Barnum picked it up. NBD.
Molk's leadership? Quiet, sturdy. Like a rock.
Borges' coaching style: "There will be times in practice where he'll get up in our faces and tell us you need to do this this and this. Other times sit back, he'll get up on the thing where you film practice, what's it called?" The lift. "The lift! Thank god, you guys are smarter than me. He'll get up on the lift, and he'll call the play, read the defense, and he'll be out of it." Doing both is good for the offense.
And the work that goes into it.
That, and the first non-Emo front page post of the day.
HEIKO, THANK GOD. I am dying for news today, for some reason.
Sorry, had some technical difficulties. But we solved it! I'll have the presser notes up much sooner in the future.
Enjoy your fix!
That is one hell of an opening post.
I admit I haven't really been paying much attention this offseason, but Roh is a linebacker now?
Shouldn't this spark a 300 post war about how the defensive coaches don't know shit - wait no, trust the coaches? Or does Mattison have so much cred that we just kind of look the other way no matter what he does?
Wasn't Roh thinking about bolting because he played LB last year? Until the sit down with RichRod?
I think Mattison must use a different terminology for the rush end position. Or he mispoke
EDIT: Just re-read it. He mentioned Roh, Black, and Frank Clark for this rush "linebacker" position. This position is definitely the rush end position with their hand in the ground.
given the lack of screaming.
Different question - why the hell hasn't Roh locked this position up? He had great technique and just lacked weight as a freshman. He now has weight. And a top notch coach. Why the hell doesn't he have a stranglehold on his spot?
He's been pretty sick up till now.
The "weak side" end or "rush end" ("open end" in the diagram above), however, is the end man on the line of scrimmage. Because he is a blind-side pass rusher against right handed QBs and because of his alignment, this DE needs to be a real athlete (an "ah-thu-leete", if you will):
We used the same terminolgy when Mattison and Hoke were here before. I remember James Hall played "rush linebacker". He played on the line with his hand down, linebacker in name only. Be prepared for the defense to be announced as a 3-4 in the TV introductions. This explains the confusion about M.O. possibly being recruited as a 5th LB.
This is how I remembered it too. It was apparently leftover terminology from the 3-4 the team had previously run.
Ok I'll start. How could they put Roh and Black at rush LB. Oh wait, they really play rush end? Ooo...well how dare mattison put them there! Who the hell does he think he is?
Great job on your first post! I really appreciate the detail of the direct quotes.
5th year? i guess at this point there might not even be a scholarship issue.
and btw, mmm 4 yards. how exciting.
...is there a cloud of dust?
just a cloud of those little black rubber granules down in the field turf that get all up in your shoes and stuff like sand at the beach.
As long as the balls don't touch, I don't see.................oh you mean double post.
...a cloud of dreads
Nice write-up Heiko. I'm wondering who the 7th potential lineman is. Sounds like Schofield might be the first sub, number 6. Then they are saying a 7th is getting closer to being ready to play. Assuming it's Koury or Mealer.
Hoke mentioned that Schofield was #6 and Khoury was on the verge of being #7 a few days ago.
As of right now Huyge is the starting RT and backup LT, LG, RG...as Schofield would fill into the RT spot. However, Schofield is working at LT and RG. And Khory at LG and C.
We should be good. 7 "starters" is a solid number. Probably need 7 starters and 1 or 2 backups. Let's home some of these walk-ons develop so Bryant can redshirt.
I love Borges poking at Dinardo, just like the Bigten preview show. I hope we continue to make Dinardo look bad as the season progresses.
FWIW, Borges was Dinardo's OC for a bit, so I'm sure he's just jabbing at his old pal.
That reporter at the end was me. Topical humor win.
U need to sign off every post with a question like that. I would use "stay classy U of M" or " Go fuck yourself Ohio"
Yeah, then he'd be the epitomy of class. he should also start typing like u.
bravo. This is what we need from MGoBlog reporters.
About his tat... Priceless.
I think for the word on Greg Mattison's word-a-day calendar today is "consistency."
The RVB and Lewan ring thing had me laughing.
Yeah those guys are hilarious. Sounds like this team has some really good chemistry.
On which note - I love how much chatter goes on between not just the players, but the coaches on both sides of the ball. Mattison talking about his relationship not just with Denard, but with the wide receivers, etc. Sounds like one big family, not two totally separate units. It just makes me want to root for these players and coaches that much more.
until the bolded Lewan quote...then I just sighed. And then I closed my eyes real tight and remembered that we are going to go undefeated and win the national title. And I was happy again.
Man, am I going to miss Taylor Lewan in a few years. I'm friends with his little bro, too, who is also hilarious.
Last year on my trip to AA for the UConn game I met Lewans' mom on the bus ride to the rental car company from Metro and she is a lovely and very sweet lady, I plan on texting her again during the season like last year. I guess the parents are divorced and the dad is in AA with the younger Lewan who is a really good hockey player, Berenson probably knows about him, I'm sure.
Ironically on that trip out there, Michael Phelps was sitting in front of me in 1st Class with his hot girl friend, he's a really cool dude, that was a fun trip. I'll be there for the EMU game and next year in Dallas to kick some Crimson Tide Arse!!!
Also, nice work Heiko, some of the acronyms confused me, what else is new and last but not least, Let's Go Blue!!!
no mention of mike cox anywhere, must still be buried on the depth chart. shame it doesn't look like it'll ever come together for him here.
When Hoke was hired and started to stress MANBALL everyone started to panic wondering who, on our team, could be the HB in that system. Many people had different opinions of that, but one of the more prominent posters (who is also one of the more well respected and knowledgable posters) said he thought Cox would be the guy. A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon (though not everyone) because really, the only thing Cox had going for him was his size, speed and a couple of games against creampuffs.
Anyway, that is how it got started. If you watched him play though, he does have great size and very good speed. He runs through tackles and can run away from t he pack. It is confusing why he is never mentioned. I guess one can assume that the buzz coming out last year with RR here was right (mentally he just didn't have it....missed assignments, running the wrong direction etc etc etc).
One thing's for sure, something is amiss with him becuase physically, he has all the tools.
Some people saw Cox's run against the 2nd team defense in the spring game and said "HE's THE ONE!" ...just like they saw Jake Ryan have a very good game primarily against the 2nd team offense and declared him "the one."
It's crazy how one game, in "meh" weather, after 15 practices in a brand new system all of a sudden swayed people. Denard can't throw. Cox is a beast. Our offense sucks. Ryan is Clay Matthews. Carvin Johnson is Ed Reed.
Cmon cmon Cox! Huyge's got it locked up. One more for awesome username!
to ask questions about BWC anymore? Or Q, Wilkins, or Ash?
I think we as fans might be afraid to hear the answer at this point...
At this point I don't think I even want to hear anything more about BWC. I'm just going to hope we are all very pleasantly surprised in a couple weeks when they hit the field.
Maybe the coaches are just slow-playing some guys to the media so that that can unleash hell on opponents early in the season. That's what I keep telling mysself.
Another thing I noticed in this and other interviews this summer is that Lewan seems to have matured. Hopefully this translates to the field and he can get rid of the occasional personal foul or other mental lapse.
That's the only things keeping him from becoming Jake Long v.2 IMO. He definitely needs the meanstreak that he has, but he needs to keep it under control. If he can do that, we're looking at another high high first round pick.
I pray that this will not be a four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense. I'm hoping they consider four yards a positive because 4+4+4=first down. Thus, not a goal, but a yardstick.
I want whatever offense that makes us win. If that's 4 yards and a cloud of dust, I'm in.
Yet another coaching staff that prefers Vincent Smith to Mike Cox.
Not sure what it could be. The RB position requires not only supreme athleticism, but also intangibles like vision, waiting for blocking to set up the seams, toughness, etc... Maybe Mike isn't quite firing on all cylinders and falls just a little short in one or more of the intangible areas.
It would seem that the guys (both for WRs and RBs) that can actually execute blocking assignments in addition to catching or running are the ones the coaches value more. (Both in Rich Rod's system, and in the current one.)
I loved how you reported on the press conference Heiko. Super job.