Any speculation on who the 2-4 recruits are that could potentially enroll early?
Mike Spath points out that doing an interview for the official site is a pretty good indicator he'll be back.
Rich Rodriguez met with the press prior to practice today, discussing preparations for the Gator Bowl. I'll update with video when it's ready to go. For the record, I saw two recruits of note at the practice - 2011 MI CB Raymon Taylor and 2012 MI LB Hunter Matt. Justice Hayes tweeted that he would be there, but he must have arrived after I left for the basketball game.
The guys who are out for the whole season (Martavious Odoms, Mike Jones, et al) aren't going to play in the bowl game. Some of them are practicing with limited contact though. Devin Gardner will seek a medical redshirt, and that process will begin immediately following the bowl game. Tae Odoms got injured too late in the year to apply for a medical redshirt.
Darryl Stonum, Junior Hemingway, and Denard Robinson should all be fully healthy. Je'Ron Stokes is close, though he didn't practice with full contact today. Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw, Stephen Hopkins, and (are you sitting down?) Fitzgerald Toussaint [Ed-M: Now pitching for Detroit, Joel Zumaya...] are all healthy.
The kicking game is still being worked out. The competition is between Brendan Gibbons, Seth Broekhuizen, and Kris Pauloski. It's hard to evaluate them, because "they kick like champions in here." Indoors, they haven't had any trouble. Hopefully, they'll practice outside once in Ann Arbor before traveling to Jacksonville.
Grades won't be posted until about Christmas. The staff doesn't know yet if any players will miss the bowl game due to academic issues, but they don't anticipate that anyone will have trouble. "I think guys are working hard at it. I expect a really good semester academically."
The team has been mostly having a spring practice-type practice schedule. They've focused a little bit on Mississippi State, but they'll mostly worry about that once they get to Florida. With the game on a Saturday, they should have a normal game week schedule in Jacksonville.
Today was a physical practice with full tackling. The guys need to get a chance to have some physical play in the long layoff.
The team has practice the morning of the 22nd, then players go home for Christmas. On the 26th, the team will fly charter down to Jacksonville. Some players will join the team down there instead of coming back to Ann Arbor first. There's a practice the afternoon of the 26th.
Rich's staff evaluations will come after the bowl game. He is always evaluating coordinators and position coaches, offering suggestions, etc.
The Will Campbell/Quinton Washington swap will stick as a permanent change.
Coach Rod had a few chances to watch Mississippi State during the season. "Watching how aggressive their defense is, they bring a lot of different pressures, they're very aggressive, blitzing-wise, very athletic defensively. Offensively, they're similar to us in some respects. They'll probably run in between the tackles more because they've got a bigger quarterback."
The Bulldogs played well much of the year, and impressed in their wins, but also some of their losses. "They probably did the best job of anybody all year against Cam Newton and Auburn. I think by far they did the best job defensively against him."
Everybody's spread is a little bit different, but it's possible to learn what Mississippi State might do against Denard by seeing what they did against Cam Newton. There's been a lot of time for the team to prepare some new things, however.
Jeremy Gallon is simulating Chris Relf in practice. "He's a good runner; they have a good runner at quarterback."
After practice ended today, the assistant coaches hit the road recruiting. The contact period ends after the weekend, and the staff has done a good job balancing bowl preparation with recruiting. There should be 19-20 recruits in the class. It's "a little bit of a fluid situation," but Rich expects 2-4 recruits to enroll early.
The staff combats negative recruiting about their job status by focusing on their relationships with the recruits. "They feel comfortable with our coaches and what we're telling them, and obviously the school."
"You don't know until the first Wednesday in February exactly what your class is gonna entail, and you probably don't really know for another year or two how that class is gonna turn out." There's too much focus in the media on recruiting classes before we know how good the players will be in college."
Denard's "legs seem fresher." He also had a lingering shoulder problem later in the year, and "I think his arm feels a lot better as well."
Since many of Michigan's players haven't played in a bowl game before, the upperclassmen have the responsibility of making sure the young guys understand how to handle a bowl game, and how to prepare for one. "We've talked about - quite a bit, I'll remind them at the beginning of every day - about keeping the main thing, which is going down there to win the game."
Michigan's players from Florida are excited that their families will be able to come see them play (though most have been to a game in the Big House). Everybody gets six tickets so a lot of those guys are trying to get the extras that their teammates won't use.
Sometimes it feels like Rich has been coaching at Michigan for a long time, and sometimes it feels like time has just flown by. He can see the progress in individual players and the program on the whole. Guys like Kevin Koger, Patrick Omameh, Steve Schilling, and David Molk are extensions of the coaching staff.
Practice was open to the media today because Rich wanted the opportunity to give some access before going down to Jacksonville. "I wanted to see if y'all had any questions - especially in a positive manner."
Several young guys who are redshirting have caught Rich's eye during practices. Josh Furman "a big safety/outside linebacker... He looks like he's going to be a real good player." Defensive line standouts: "Richard Ash and some of those guys look like they're going to be good in the future as well."
Rich had been mostly unaware of the "controversy" surrounding the Big Ten division names. "I guess I should know which one is ours." He likes using the past greats to name the conference awards.
Any speculation on who the 2-4 recruits are that could potentially enroll early?
Greg Brown and a couple that haven't committed yet, I assume. I don't think any of the other current commits are planning on it.
Desmond Morgan is making an effort at it.
Thats great that we are going to see a healthy Denard! I really think we are going to see him playing like the first couple games of the year.
SO much GERG in that album, I think the photographer became entranced by him.
I figured I might now have many more chances. Plus he was doing dance while coaching a drill.
Gallon is playing QB? What? I know he's just simulating, but does that mean he actually runs an offense (and throws, etc) or does he just run around without a ball in hand?
That's confusing, but I guess it works if it works. Just please no speculation. This practice was open to media, I can see the headlines now...
Rich Rod Unhappy With Denard, Replaces With Receiver at QB
Rich Rod Attempts to Sabotage Future Seasons
Gallon played QB in H.S. and ran an option offense. It isn't as much of a stretch as you're thinking.
It's great that the team is getting some positive press. I like seeing RRod smile!
A lot of pictures of GERG but still no beavers. Color me surprised.
Is Mike Jones eligible for a Medical RS?
He should be. He broke his leg @ ND.
What colors is RR wearing?
Looks like brown.
Works well on my Droid X
"I guess I should know which one is ours"
Coach, we're in the pork and beans division, not the brats and cheese division...
Photog wanted to get them in while he could, because Jan 3, GERG = GONE. (I can only hope!) Waiting for the Hello: Randy Shannon post...
Fitz is healthy?! I juat did a cartwheel!
Bubble wrap him (Fitz, not UMx...) and don't remove it until January 1!
Me too, I can't wait to him at full speed.
So did I, but then I hurt my collarbone and will be out for the remainder of the season...
Didn't the sequence with Gerg look like he was doing a dance. Not pretty.
Love hearing about the young guys, like Ash and Furman. We will need them next season. Thanks, as always, Tim.
With all the attention on recruiting and negative press swirling around the D (both of which are deserved) I almost forgot about the guys redshirting. It would be more then helpful to the D if these guys could contribute quality minutes next year with the loss of Mouton.
Moutons departure is and will be seen as a good thing
the real players and Michigan athletes love you. Hang in there.
Speaking of hang in there:
He doesn't look happy, but I was much much happy to see he was there!
ahhh daily fix......check
Josh Furman & Richard Ash stepping up! Huge!
Sounds as though the defense is getting the much needed attention it deserves with the extra practices.