"Kinda small but still huge" is perhaps the worst description you could give. After reading that, I have no idea what you mean.
Spring Has Sprung
Notes from Rich Rodriguez's press conference and the first day of spring practice. Follow me on Twitter (@varsityblue) for live updates.
- Injuries: David Molk and Vincent Smith are out for spring with knee injuries. Junior Hemingway and Brandon Herron had recent knee surgeries, hopefully Hemingway will be able to make it back for the end of spring practice. Zac Johnson and Mike Martin are limited (non-contact) for the spring with shoulder injuries.
- Nick Sheridan and Bryan Wright are no longer on the football team. Sheridan wants to go into coaching, but he can't work with the football team now, since he hasn't graduated. Wright's persistent back issues have led him to give up the game, and he's going to graduate and move on.
- Position changes: Cameron Gordon has been moved to safety, as has Teric Jones. This means Troy Woolfolk and Justin Turner will both play corner this spring. There's the potential that one or both of them can move to safety down the road.
- Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson are options 1 and 2 at quarterback. When Denard isn't taking snaps, he's too valuable to take off the field, and they'll give him some run at wide receiver (there's enough running back depth that they won't need him there). Devin Gardner has a great work ethic, and he'll be willing to earn any playing time he might get. Rodriguez is glad he could get in for spring, because there's a lot to learn.
- At the running back position, a number of guys are competing with Vincent Smith out for spring practice. Michael Shaw, Mike Cox, and Fitzgerald Toussaint will fill in, along with the two freshmen (Austin White and Stephen Hopkins), and there's a chance that some slot receivers get reps at that position as well.
- The team knows that they always have something to prove. Even if Michigan had performed better on the field in the past two years, there's always something to prove.
- Brendan Gibbons and Will Hagerup were the only two kicking specialists mentioned. Gibbons seems to be the favorite at kicker, and Hagerup won't arrive until fall, but will probably punt.
- Many offensive linemen worked hard to improve their bodies in the off-season, especially the freshmen Quinton Washington, Taylor Lewan, and Michael Schofield. They'll be in the mix for some playing time.
- Elsewhere on the offensive line, Rocko Khoury, Elliott Mealer, and Christian Pace will play center with Molk out for spring. Rodriguez likes to have four guys who can snap the ball. When Molk is healthy in the fall, there's a good chance that he'll be one of the best centers in the Big Ten.
- Brandon Graham will be missed from both a production and leadership standpoint. On the field, Ryan Van Bergen, Greg Banks, Adam Patterson, and even Craig Roh will play his old spot. RVB and Banks will play both inside and outside on the DL. As for leadership, the veterans will have to step up, even though there's a very small group of seniors this year.
- The defense should be able to take a step forward in the second year under the same defensive coordinator. A few schemes will be tweaked, but they'll try to keep them simpler, because there's a good chance some true freshmen will have to fill in this fall. The coaches are going to try for a bigger rotation defensively, so more guys will see the field.
- "Buying in" is not an issue for this team (anymore?), things now come down to a matter of executing properly to improve performance in games.
As for practice, most of the useful information will probably come from the pictures, but a couple quick observations:
- Vincent Smith was wearing a red jersey, but in his football gear. Dave Molk was practicing snaps.
- Nick Sheridan was hanging around watching in street clothes.
- Stephen Hopkins is frickin' huge. That kid will be a tank with the ball in his hands.
- Gardner's throwing motion looks improved from the end of his high school season. Once he is able to get actual coaching, it should continue getting better.
- I thought Christian Pace looked much bigger than he did on Signing Day, though it may have just been the difference in wardrobe (warmups on Signing Day). He didn't even look like an offensive lineman in February.
Apologies if the quality is a little worse than usual; I don't have the mad editing skillz that Paul does.
My guess is that he meant Molk wasn't very tall but was very thick.
I swear that I am not stupid. I just always end up sounding so on the internetz.
Yes, I meant that he is short, but very thick (I welcome any and all homoerotic jokes, thank you. I am a very accepting person)
In other words, when Molk says he is 270-280 range, I believe him.
FYI, Pace is listed at 259, only 11 lbs below Molk, and 16 below where Molk was listed at last season. At 6'2", Pace will probably never be 300, so I don't know why you say you think he needs 50lbs (which would put him at 309). If he puts on 25 to 30 pounds he'll be just fine, and since Molk will be here for this fall and next, we won't need Pace to step in and play for a couple years.
Look for Pace to start his 3rd year in the program (as a RS Soph) and he'll be plenty big enough by then.
Yeah, I hadn't looked up his listed weight and I had assumed that it was going to be a lot more than what he looks.
I could be entirely wrong, but I have seen both of them(Molk and Pace) up close and I really cannot believe that Pace is 259 unless he is made out of metal.
Also, I think he could be good. The only concern I was trying to voice is that the best part of his game, his quickness/athleticism, might not be the same if he adds the kind of weight I think he needs. I am not saying it will for sure, just a concern.
That isn't cool for them. Those guys were really good players and now they will stay on corners not doing the usual routine they had before. Covelli Center tickets were sold in 3 minutes! Most probably because of Elton john.
There is a tremendous amount of soul-dong revenge punching we owe other teams. If Hopkins wants to lead the way, excellent.
The long night of the dong punch is OVER.
Let us unleash hell.
"Cry havoc! and let loose the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial..."
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar. Anthony describing Caesar's soul bringing revenge upon Rome for his betrayal.
"You tell 'em I'm coming! And Hell's Coming with me!"
Kurt Russell, Tombstone. Pissed off because The Cowboys killed his brother.
"Cry, 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."
I've seen various phrasings.
Potato, potato.. that doesn't work near as well on the internet does it?
I buy you out. The Corleone family doesn't even have that kind of muscle anymore. They are getting run out of New York by the other familes.
Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. It must be spring (football practice) fever!
I gotta say, there's something really great about finally seeing that helmet on Gardner's head.
Do we ever have a healthy team for spring? It seems like every year multiple players are hurt and we can barely put together two squads. Last year we had no Sheridan or Minor. This year, we're missing multiple guys again.
No football team is ever complete healthy.
eh, quick Freep, I need to know the regulations regarding not yet graduated-former players-going to be coaches-watching practice from the side lines. Wait, this may come down to whether or not his feet ever actually touched the practice field for over four uninterrupted seconds.
For god sakes Rodriguez, what kind of a freak show football factory are you running here!?!
I don't know if it's just me, but Tate looked bigger, more squared off in the shoulders, I think.
Tate said on Facebook he was up to 200lbs.
Odoms & Denard
Who is going to cover these two?
Odoms is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. It started with this play:
His scrappy attitude and down field blocking are vicious. Now he's running with DRob? This kid is tough!
He already is one of my favorite Wolverines. He goes 100% every play whether he has the ball or not.
Loved watching him spring Stonum on that return. Great block.
His mechanics really do look near-perfect. This kid clearly is willing to find any imperfection in his game and work his ass off to correct it. If he matures and stays healthy, he has the potential to be REALLY good.
I know that many will cringe with this comparison, but I can see his career developing along the lines of Jimmah (albeit with a different skill set, and hopefully a hell of a lot more team success). Jimmih came to ND as a cocky HS standout who thought he was going to set the college football world on fire (insert your own Jimmah jokes here). Largely as a result of being on a crappy team with a crappy O-line, his freshman season was not what he expected and he himself admits in interviews that he did not have the maturity to deal with his lack of success. As a result, his performance suffered. Over the next few years, Jimmah improved significantly - most notably from his first to second years.
Similarly, I get the sense from some of RR's offseason interviews, as well as some of the comments made by Michigan's O linemen during the season, that Tate had some growing up and maturing to do. At least from an outside observer standpoint, I got the sense that Tate was just not used to failure, and didn't really know how to handle it (remember his "what else do you want me to do?" comment to RR when coming off the field during a game).
None of this is a criticism of Tate - quite the opposite. He was 18 years old, starting for a team that lacked many necessary parts and injured for much of the season. Just saying that if he matures and developes along the lines of past true freshmen QBs, we might see a real jump in his output, and a massive improvement in the offense.
How did they make Tate's cast invisible?
OK, looking at the roster I completely missed this. Maybe this is a typo, but those don't usually occur on these things, and if they do they are usually quickly corrected.
Brendan Gibbons, the kicker Brendan Gibbons, is listed at 6'1", 245lbs. For comparison, Obi Ezeh is 6'2", 240. Craig Roh is listed at 6'5", 249.
Either Gibbons is a monster, or we've got a kicker who will make Garrett Rivas look skinny.
Is that RR's Lifetouch photo, or are those actual venetian blinds?
He always was a feisty blocker and a pretty good slot guy but if he's beating Denard in races now watch out in the fall.
I saw a photo of Kelvin Grady taking a handoff at Spring practice. I will admit that when I heard of slots working at the RB position, Grady wasn't my first guess. Or my third. Then a story comes out talking about Teric and Gordon at Safety and briefly mentions that Grady would be taking snaps at RB. So, did Grady make a position change that MgoBlue doesn't know about? Or should we expect more jet sweeps with the slot dots like Cincinnati ran with BK?
I am just concerned that we are really young in the backfield, and those snaps to the Ninjas are taking away snaps to our running backs, who need to hone their craft. Many great running backs have said that they need to get into a rhythm to be effective in a game. Agree or Disagree? Am I just overanalyzing?
Rodriguez said that the slots would be taking some snaps in the backfield this year. In Rodriguez's third year here (and Forcier's second), I think you're going to see more versatility from the slots and running backs. At WVU, they were somewhat interchangeable. Other than Sam McGuffie in '08, we haven't really seen that out of Rodriguez at Michigan. Well, I guess we saw it a little bit with Carlos Brown, but you get the point...