Who the hell asked if Denard wants the #1?
...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Hoke said you broke a sweat in warmups.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah. I broke a sweat in warmups, but it was swell [Ed: I'm 90% sure Denard said 'swell'] watching the guys play. A lot of people say we weren’t going to get started playing the game because the rain and the weather were bad, but we actually got to play and [I] watched them play, and it was fun.”
Were you frustrated at all you didn’t get a chance to play during the scrimmage?
“Uh, it was kind of frustrating, but I love watching other people be succesfull, and talking to the guys making sure they do well, it’s all good. We had fun.”
What did you see from Russell and Devin?
“They were eager to make plays, and they were making plays, but we have to just stay focused and stop with all the three-and-outs.”
Were there things you were telling them as they were coming off?
“Certain things, like make sure you throw the ball faster, [do] a certain step -- three-step or five-step -- some of that stuff.”
Would you be interested in wearing the No. 1 jersey?
“Oh man, that’s an off-the-wall question. I don’t think about it. That’s for the receivers. The 1 is for the receivers. I’m not a receiver at all. I’m a quarterback. I’m supposed to be the best quarterback for the University of Michigan … You can ask Roy that question, not me.”
So you wouldn’t wear it?
“No. I feel like it’s a receiver thing, but if they want to give it to me, I don’t know what I’d do with it.”
(more after the jump)
What are the biggest gains you’ve made this spring?
“Oh man. Learn how to get into the fight like coach Borges always says. Get into the fight. Getting into the fight means pushing it in the pocket where you hitch into the pocket and still look downfield. Getting under the rush. That’s the biggest stride I’ve made this spring and actually making the right reads and not put it on my back foot.”
Has your passing improved significantly since last fall?
“Oh yeah a lot. It’s night and day.”
Based on completions? Lack of interceptions?
“Completions, lack of interceptions, because as a quarterback you have to [have] no turnovers. You have to be the number one person that tells the team there’s no turnovers, and we have to keep the team going. Turnovers were a big factor last year that kept a lot of teams in games last year. We hope to decrease the turnovers.”
What happened on the botched snap?
“Just a little mistake. I don’t think me and Ricky ever had a problem before. That was our first time all spring probably.”
Have you done much thinking about Alabama?
“Right now we’re worried about us. We have to get better for right now, take advantage of these practices that we have. Get better and get ready for Alabama. Right now we can’t be focusing on them. I mean, we watch some film, but we have to be focused on ourselves and get better at our craft.”
Coach says it’s critical for the seniors to lead on and off the field, socially and academically. Can you talk about that over the next couple months?
“Oh yeah. That’s the biggest thing. We have to lead not only on the field, but off the field. We have to make sure everybody is accountable for what we need to do. That’s the biggest thing for everybody on the team.”
Last year the seniors talked about getting up on people and making sure they were doing everything they needed to do. Is that going to be you now?
“Oh yeah. That is. That’s always been my role. I was a part of that with those seniors knocking on people’s doors and getting everybody and making sure they get in to the workouts and get in on the 7-on-7’s because we need everybody, and this is a team sport. It’s not just about one guy.”
Do you think it will be easier to keep guys focused because of the huge opener against Alabama?
“Oh yeah. Everybody’s motivated and everybody wants to get better. Everybody wants to see the film. [We’ll be on the field] in Dallas, Texas, and we want to make our families proud. That’s what everybody -- everybody’s hungry and everybody wants to eat.”
Hoke talked about Roy’s improvement in this offseason. Where specifically have you seen improvement?
“Roy showed that he can play wherever they put him, whether it’s in the slot or out wide. He’s a guy that goes to the ball and plays with an intensity of 100% every single time. He doesn’t expect anything. He doesn’t expect the ball all the time. He just expects to be out there and do whatever it takes to win for the team.”
How much familiarity do you have with him in your second year in the offense?
“Oh yeah. This is our third time, third year in the offense that I’m throwing it to him. He’s one of the guys that keeps the team together. When everything’s going bad, he’s going to tell everybody, ‘Look, your next play is your best play.’ He always tells me that, even if I have a bad throw to him, he’s like, ‘Your next play is your best play.’ Even last year, when he didn’t have as many catches as he did the year before, he talked to me and told me, ‘As long as we’re winning, that’s the only thing that counts to me.’ ”
Devin struggled today. What do you think he needs to do in order to make that next step as a quarterback?
“This is probably the first time struggling at practice. He just has to stay focused and keep his head up and keep doing what he does. He’s one of the guys that pushes me all the time and helps me out. He just had a late throw today on a corner route, and he knows that. He told me as soon as he got off the field.”
What was his demeanor like off the field?
“Devin’s always an upbeat guy.”
... What do you think about the No. 1 jersey?
“I really don’t think about it like that. I’m a senior, and I’ll always work hard. If the coaches give it to me, they give it to me, but I’m still rocking No. 12, and I’m going to keep working hard and get ready for the season.”
What would it mean to you to get the No. 1 jersey?
“I mean, it would be special. For any wide receiver on the team, that would be a special moment. It takes hard work and dedication, and the coaches, they’re the ones that are going to give the jersey out. They’re not just going to give it to [anyone]. You have to earn it.”
Which of the receivers have you seen make an improvement this spring?
“Jerald Robinson did pretty well. Jeremy Jackson, he really stood out to me this year. Him and Drew Dileo, I feel that they have made a lot of strides of getting better this year. I’ve see that from their hard work from the winter workouts and them coming out in spring.”
How much better is Denard this year compared with last year?
“Oh Denard is a lot better. He’s more composed back there, confident. He wants to get the job done. Something that we need out of him, being the quarterback on our team, so I feel like he’s been doing great. There’s always room for improvement from all of us.”
You led the team in receiving in 2009 and 2010 before you dropped off last year. What are your goals for this season?
“I’m a team player, man. Like I said, I really wasn’t worried about production. I get extra credit for my blocking. If I don’t block, Fitz doesn’t get 1,000 yards or ‘Lace doesn’t get 1,000 yards, so we emphasize that the ball’s going to come, and this year’s a new year, and you never know what’s going to happen this year.”
How have you been working on catching the ball with your hands?
“There’s a tennis ball machine, so we basically catch about 50 tennis balls away from your body. It helps your eye coordination also … We do that every day after practice, and I feel like it’s really helped all of us catch the ball away from our body.”
What was the first session with that tennis ball machine like?
“It’s calming. It’s really calming, so it’s something you have to get used it, but once you calm down and actually time it up and watch the ball hit your hand, it really slows everything down.”
How fast are those balls coming at you?
“It’s probably like 60 [mph]. And it’s a tennis ball at that, so you have to catch it. I had a jammed thumb Tuesday. I was trying to squeeze it but that thing kept hurting my thumb.”
... Hoke said he was disappointed with the middle of the defensive line. Do you feel like you have a ways to go?
“Of course I can get better. I mean, every day I can get better, so I’m just trying work on meeting the expectations for the position.”
Is today indicative of the entire spring, or have you been strong at other times during practice?
“Yeah, some days they would tell us to be more consistent. I’ve been more consistent, but I have to keep going and make it an every play type of deal.”
The defense played pretty well today, but mostly because you didn’t play against Denard. Is that a fair assessment?
“I mean, I’m saying this because we’re the only team in college with Denard, so we see him every day. One day out of, what, I don’t know how many practices we’ve had so far …”
Your teammates and coaches have talked a lot this spring about your leadership. Today you led your team onto the field. Does that mean anything to you?
“Oh yeah, that was crazy coming out of that tunnel up front like that. I mean, it wasn’t like a real game or anything, but it was still something leading them out of the tunnel.”
Did they tell you you were going to be doing that?
“They just said seniors up front, and when I got up there, I just stood in the back, but everybody pushed me up.”
What does it mean that your teammates brought you to the front?
“It just means I can’t slip at all, because I have 120 eyes on me now.”
How do you think Jibreel has played this spring?
“I mean, he made strides this spring. He still has more weight to put on. He has to get strong in the weight room, but he’ll be there by the fall.”
Does it help him that you’re such a big guy? He’s a little undersized.
“I mean, I was trying to get him out to come eat with me, but since I don’t eat like I used to … I mean, he takes steaks and stuff home, but he’s working hard enough to get there.”
On the field, though, because you might be commanding more attention, will that help him?
“Oh yeah, yeah. Like the double teams are coming at me, but him being on the weakside, I mean to the over side, the 3-technique, he gets … [Ed: stuff I can’t make out, sorry. The gist is yes, it does help.]
What’s the biggest stride you’ve made in the offseason?
“Probably the biggest one is losing weight and staying low. And conditioning.”
Do you still have weight to lose?
“Yes. I want to get down to 305.”
Where are you right now?
Do you feel a lot stronger?
“Yeah. I have to get a lot stronger in my lower body, and I feel like I’m doing that.”
What have you seen from Keith Heitzmann?
“Yeah he had a wild day. Keith, he had a little shoulder bug or whatever or a stinger or whatever two days ago and he’s been out, but today he showed up. I was surprised.”
What have you seen from Joey Burzynski?
“Joey, man. I hate going against Joey because I have to stay low and Joey’s already like 5-10 or whatever, so I have to get even lower than him. He’s a hard-working man. I like playing with Joey.”
He’s sort of earned himself a starting spot. When did you get the feeling he’d be able to crack the depth chart like that?
“He never stops working. He’s just not a regular student at Michigan. I think he’s in some medical field. He never stops working. He’s strong. He’s a smart player as well.”
When did you see him first start running with the ones?
“There’s been a lot of in and out with the offensive line because of injuries, but I haven’t really noticed it, but I’ve seen everybody switching in and out of the positions just in case.”
… How big of a challenge is it to catch the ball with your hands and not with your body?
“It’s a challenge, but you know, you practice it. I think someone in here asked a question is that just something that comes with getting a year older -- nah it doesn’t happen that way. You get a year older, you try to catch the ball away from your body. You know, if you’re not comfortable with it now … You have to practice your craft. It’s a tribute to Roy and the other receivers who go out there to practice like he said. He uses his tennis ball drill and that’s what’s helped him. It’s a tribute to him going out there and trying to perfect his craft.”
You’re fairly close to Roy, aren’t you? Do you talk to him often?
“No, I don’t talk to him that much. I talk to him when I see him. Roy is a guy, who, I like Roy because he always has a smile on his face. He has such a positive outlook on everything and I think that’s infectious and it helps the team. I don’t really text him or anything like that.”
You’re pretty much a member of the media now …
“That’s what they say. I’m independent contract.”
Talk about what you’ve seen so far this spring and what you think?
“Well on the surface I think you see that both teams offensively and defensively, they’re more comfortable with the schemes. Year two, that’s usually how it should be, and so you watch the guys on defense and they’re in position now. They’re playing with a little more confidence. It helps when you have 11 wins and you win a BCS bowl game also. And offensively, you see Denard and Devin and those guys, they look much more comfortable in my opinion in Al Borges’s offensive system. That’s what I’ve noticed on the surface.”
It’s early, but how much anticipation is there for the Alabama game?
“Yeah, I think there’s a great deal of anticipation. Any time you have a national stage and you’re playing against the defending national champs, that’s as big as it gets especially with the regular season. It’s a neutral site being used, so I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for these young men. They look good with an 11 win season, they’ve subscribed to the program so far, and if they continue to buy in to the program even greater things are yet to come.”
Alabama’s defense lost a bunch of starters. Do you think that’s going to end up being a less competitive game than a lot of people have hyped it up to be?
“I’ll put it to you like this. Alabama played Penn State last year early in the season. Penn State made it a very competitive game. Alabama kicked the shhh... crap out of LSU in the national championship. Alabama was a different team when they played Penn State than when they played LSU. They play Penn State late in the season? They would have mopped the field with Penn State. So you want to catch Alabama, especially in a year where they lose a lot on defense, you want to catch them in the first game. You’d rather catch them in the first game. [In the Penn State game] they didn’t pull away. I remember watching that game to figure out how to defend their running game, because Penn State did a great job against their run early on. They really did. The fact of the matter is, they did probably as well as most teams defending Trent Richardson in that game. I remember watching them during the season and [thinking], ‘Wow, gotta watch that Penn State tape.’ ”
(Mattison and Borges tomorrow.)
Who the hell asked if Denard wants the #1?
It was actually a topic brought up with Braylon Edwards awhile back, and Braylon said he wouldn't mind Denard wearing the #1 Jersey.
It was brought up to Hoke in his presser, and he said something along the lines of "every guy is an option for it," though I think he didn't fully understand the question/misspoke, because he has previously said it is reserved for a WR (I think).
That was his way of deflecting a discussion about specific players who could be in line for it.
I honestly thought I would never have thought that I would want someone not being a WR to wear #1!! I think it is a necessary revolution for UM. I think giving it to a very select few game changers/leaders/established veterans that could possible have a heisman year!!! I don't think it should happen every 4-8 yrs or so but more importantly when a players talent warrants the covited # I think to give denard the encouragement and to instill confidence before the Alabama game could only be a good thing!!!
What jackass was asking BWC questions in the beginning? He starts with "You sucked today, have you always been this bad?" and then moves on to "The defense only did well because they didn't face Denard. Thoughts?"
regarding those questions for BWC. If it were mathematically possible to agree more than 100%, I most certainly would!
I believe the highest recorded level of agreement is 104.12%, set by Gladys Hornbladt of Lee's Summit, MO, in 1949 during a nod following her friend Charlotte's observation that Gladys's baby was the "most adorable thing ever."
The record for this century was 103.90 % by MGoUser Section 1 when Brian Cook declared a jihad on the Free Press.
as it indicates to me that (as I suspected) anyone claiming to have given 110% is a either a flat-out liar, a bald/bold-faced liar, or a straight-out urban liar
I wish BWC had answered the first question with "Was that a pretty normal question for you or do you also ask some that are good?"
Whether it was him or not, in my head I read them in Drew Sharp's voice. Those were some real ball busters.
If there was to be any reciever to wear #1, it should have been Hemingway LAST season.
As much as I love Roundtree and Denard, both as players and as people, I don't think either should wear the #1 jersey this year. It seems like these stupid reporters keep on asking Hoke and the players about the #1 jersey, trying to stir the pot. Get over your fascination with it, annoying media!
can't the coaches award it to him posthumously . . . ok that's not exactly the term I'm looking for.
ex post facto?
I bet you would have said Roundtree instead.
Denard answered 8 out of 18 questions starting with "oh yeah" or "oh man". I can just hear his voice in my head every time I read it, it's glorious.
I actually like the idea of Denard or some other star/LEADER senior wearing the number 1 if someone deserves it. I could see some other people being salty about not getting it but I think it is a cool idea.
I don't mind the jump, but have a request. When we click 'read more' it takes me back to what we've already read.
It should either say 'read again and then there will be more information' or 'read more' should take us to the point where we left off reading. I know other sites that take you to the point where you left off reading.
LMAO at Desmond...he asked Hoke a question during the presser, starting off..."Uhh, Desmond Howard, ESPN analyst....Heisman Trophy winner...." (as if to say, "In case you don't know me...")
Kudos to Heiko on that...it is a bit amusing on the video of the presser and hilarious in the transcript as done by Heiko.
Pork chops, and applesauce. Schwell.
If the NFL doesn't work out, that kid can be the next Old Spice guy. Look at that smile!
I'd like to give #1 to a big time playmaker, whether it's a wr, rb or qb. Denard Robinson is one. Plus, he's from the same area of Florida as Anthony Carter, the original #1.
*quote borrowed (without permission) from Jim Price
BWC looks like a 35 year old man. If someone told me he played football and I didn't know who he was I would say he must be a 10 time pro bowl selection getting ready to retire. I really hope he makes the jump this year... And if I was Hoke I think I would not give out a #1 jersey just to spite these annoying reporters. When you stop asking me about it, then I'll make a decision. This is how I handled giving my little sister things when I was a kid. I feel like the press has a similar level of common sense that she did... as a 7 year old.
Roundtree does not seem to be the new math or anything (read: he does not seem to be a #1 caliber receiver), but I think it'd be interesting to see it given to a block-first receiver.
What is with the odd obsession to stir the pot about the #1?
I don't feel as if anyone on Michigan's roster has the talent to wear the #1 jersey, and this thought stretches back to at least The New Math. I thought DC would be a candidate for wearing it when he got here, but he had other plans. As much as I love 'Tree and enjoyed watching Hemingway, our dreadlocked author of the jump ball, neither of them are on the level of the Braylon/Terrell/AC and... uhhh Tyrone Butterfield.
If we hold Alabama to under 100 yards rushing and BWC owns face at the LOS(causing a win), all while managing to not punch out a reporter for the last 4 years he gets my vote.
Any word on whether him getting 3" of his femur removed this summer for instant pad lowering is true? /s
I think Woodson has shown that a playmaker doesn't have to be on the offense(altho his WR/Return numbers were sick).
Hoke redirected like a pro and I don't see a need to grant it just to say we did. If Roundtree absolutely tears it up this season to the tune of 1500 yards then perhaps getting it going into the B1G game in Indy would make sense. Right now it is silly to be talking about it though.