- What Rashan Gary's return brings
- Overall depth on the line
- Josh Uche's ascendence
- Luiji Vilain and Aubrey Solomon injury updates
[After THE JUMP: Skeletons]
[After THE JUMP: Skeletons]
[After THE JUMP: Defensive line talk]
So as someone who’s had ties to both schools, why do you think this should be an annual game again, and do you still have a lake house by Brian Kelly?
“It is a — it’s a great game because it’s two really, really outstanding universities. You know, both schools have great academics, both schools do it the right way, and I think in the history of football, those are two of the very, very top schools and they should always play each other.
“And do I have a lake house? No, he’s got a really, really big one I think. No, mine isn’t like that, it’s not by him.”
Defensive line’s obviously been an elite unit the past 3-4 years, how much kinda internal discussion, in terms of how much control they have to take Saturday, do you feel like the D-line is gonna set the tone?
“I think anytime — anytime you expect to have a very, very good defense, you gotta have a very good defensive line. I mean, for the history of Michigan football, I mean, you think of the Glen Steele’s and go back. I mean, the Will Carr’s. You go on and on and on, back then, and now the last few years here with the Taco (Charlton’s) and the (Chris Wormley’s) and the (Ryan) Glasgow’s and all those guys. You have to have a very, very good defensive line in today’s football to have a good defense. And this group understands that, they’ve played a lot of football. And whenever you’ve played a lot of football, the bar gets higher and higher every year.
"They all have very, very high goals. And, this is the first game entertaining those goals. That’s all it is. That’s what happens. When you play the first game, when you work as hard as this group has worked in the summer, when you had the experience that they had last year, this is the next step. Well, now it is. It’s here. Let’s see what you have.”
How have you seen (Mike) Dwumfour kinda take to being in that sort of starter position? He hasn’t started yet, but that leadership role, I guess, as far as being the front guy there.
“Well, the thing that I think we have on our defensive line is like two years ago. I talked about that all the time. We may have eight starters. We may have eight starters, and we may have the ability with our defensive line this year, to be able to tag themselves out. In other words, some places you have to say to a person, that guy looks tired now, we better put this guy in. Well, when you have a group of young men that have earned the right to play, I like to be able to say to them, ‘You rotate yourselves. You look and watch that guy and if it’s gonna be four plays or three plays or how many we decide, you’re rotating on your own throughout the game.’
"And so I look at this defensive line as having the possibility of having seven starters possibly. And then you go from there. And that’s how important it is. And when you have that, then when you're out on that field, there is no time to take a play off. There is no time to not go at 100 percent. Because if you’re gonna be out there playing and your buddy wants to be playing, and he’s earned the right to play, then don’t you dare go out there and not go hard. Now, when you can’t go anymore, because you’re tired, come on out and your buddy will come in for you, and he’ll play the way he’s supposed to play. And that’s what we had two years ago and I think we’re working towards that again this year.”
So are we wrong to think that’s Dwumfour’s job or is — is Lawrence Marshall possibly in that?
“All the guys. You’ve got a whole group of guys in there now. You’ve got a whole group of people in that group. I look at, there’s five guys possibly that are starters for those first inside two positions. And the other thing we’ve done with the inside two positions, they’re equal. Like, when you talk about a three-technique and you talk about a nose, they’re really equal positions. One just plays on one side and one plays on the other. So, you can have the possibility of five guys that are being able to play those two positions.”
Who are those five guys?
“Well the five guys would be, as you mentioned before, you’ve got Bryan Mone, and you’ve got Lawrence Marshall, and you’ve got Dwumfour. You’ve got Aubrey Solomon and you’ve got Carlo Kemp. You’ve got five guys that I believe, starting in the spring last year and right now through this camp have really earned the right, when you say, ‘Ok, we trust you. We think when you go in there, you will play the type of defense that we expect you to play.’ ”
[Hit THE JUMP for details on depth, impressions of the O-line, a look at ND, and more.]
[image via Maize & Blue News]
[Ed. A—Thanks to Orion Sang and The Michigan Daily crew for passing along audio]
How are you enjoying the experience here so far?
“It’s been good. It’s been real good. Everybody here from an administrative standpoint to a player standpoint has been great. It’s good to be—you know, I’m three hours from home, so family comes often. But it’s Michigan, you know. It’s a dream school. But it’s been really good, so I’ve enjoyed working here.”
You were a Buckeye growing up.
“I was. Well, I wasn’t, my father was, so you kind of get born into it, but yeah, I’m familiar with Ohio State. All respect to them and coach Meyer and what they’re doing, but I was excited about this for a lot of reasons. I’m trying to convert as many family members over.”
How about your dad?
“My dad—my dad was here this past weekend to come to the spring game, the spring practice, and he had a good time. He had a Michigan hat on but he had an Ohio State jersey underneath, so I was exposing him a little bit. But yeah, he’s excited. He’s proud. It’s a great program and great school.”
What did you get out last year with Fickell?
“You said how did I?”
What did you take [away]?
“Oh, well, coach Fickell’s a great person, first off. I hadn’t worked with him prior to going there but growing up in Columbus, a lot of coaches I’m close with were close with him. He’s a great human being, man. Great coach, he’s a winner, so I really enjoyed my time there.
“It was tough to leave so soon because you get relationships with these kids, but—and coach Fickell. What did I get out of it? I guess just another perspective, another high-level coach to learn from how to conduct their business, how to run a program.”
Did it catch you off guard? You were only there for one year, like you said. You’re young. Did it catch you off guard when they called you here and said we want you to coach here? Was it something you expected?
“Every year is kind of its own deal. So, I had been at Boston College for five years prior and that was kind of my—I’ve been all over the place as I’ve come up. Did I think I’d be offered a job at Michigan at the beginning of the year? No, but I didn’t think it was something out of the norm.
“And, you know, my relationship with Donnie [Brown], I’ve kept in contact with Donnie. He’s a big part of that, obviously. That’s documented. But, you know, I’m not surprised about much. Every year is kind of unique, and so it was a great situation, for sure. Appreciative of it, but I’m kind of ready for whatever.”
[After THE JUMP: Don Brown on Mount Rushmore, piranhas on a quarterback, and a child care conundrum I am intimately familiar with]
[Ed. A—Pick your poison if you’re wondering why there aren’t any MGoQuestions: is it the GI bug that has kept me up and…uh, occupied since 4 AM, or is it that my wife could go into labor at any time? I’ll be back at Schembechler Hall as soon as I can. Thanks to MGoFriend Isaiah Hole for the video.]
Do you have the deepest position?
“Well, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know, we haven’t looked at it. I think the linebackers got some good depth, some good talent. I think there’s some good young kids all over that defense that are working to make the depth that we need.
“But up front, you know we want to always have enough depth to be able to rotate, and really, that’s what the spring is for us. We want our first group to get better and come out every practice to get better, and guys behind them gotta earn the right so that you say, ‘Okay, when we get in games, this guy can go in right now. I think you’re getting that. I think you’re seeing that.”
Who’s starting to earn that right?
“Well, Kwity Paye is having a really, really good spring. Michael Dwumfour, I think, is having one of the best springs that I can remember. I mean, he’s really playing hard, and Aubrey’s [Solomon] playing hard, and Carlo, Carlo Kemp every day comes out an gets a little better, and he’s playing a couple positions. I think we’ve got a number of kids that are doing good to try and get that first group [to] feel like they’re there.”
What distinguishes Dwumfour?
“Dwumfour, it’s been he’s so quick off the football. He has a lot of Mo Hurst in him. There’s times when you see him come off the ball and you just go, ‘Whoa, that’s really good,’ and he’s a little bit thicker and a little bit bigger.
“The other thing, it’s probably Rashan [Gary] and Chase [Winovich] and Bryan Mone’s leadership that have really gotten him to step up. He’s always shown flashes, but now all of a sudden he’s getting more mature. Times when he’d play really good, really good, really good, and then all of a sudden try to take a play off or he wasn’t ready to take that next play. He’s not doing that now. He’s pushing himself way past where he usually would, and that’s a real good sign for us.”
[After THE JUMP, a 275-pound man is referred to as “little Phillip.” Football!]
Talk about Aubrey Solomon and what he’s improved?
“Yeah, Aubrey’s steadily since he got here has improved every day. Again, it’s really like it was in the past, which we take great pride in, is the older guys have really mentored him. I mean, you can see it every day. You get Bryan Mone coaching him on what he should be doing, you’ve got Mo Hurst—guys are watching the film and you’ll hear them say ‘That was really good’ or ‘Step this way’ and he’s really a great young man. I mean a great, great young man that wants to be good, and so he’s gotten the opportunity and when he’s gone in he’s played very well.”
How often did you interact with Aubrey during the recruiting process?
“A lot. A lot. Obviously you want a great player like that to come here so you have to. There’s always going to be an opportunity, so that was the big thing he saw and wanted to come.”
How was it building that relationship during the recruiting process.
“Good. I mean, it’s the same as it is with any player. You’ve got to be yourself. You’ve got to be fortunate enough to be at a school like Michigan where, to me, when I recruit, it’s a no-brainer for a guy to come here. I really believe that in my heart.
“You’re going to have a great head football coach, you’re going to have a great football program, and you’re going to have an opportunity to play because we play the best players, doesn’t matter, and you’re going to get the greatest degree in the country. So what else would there be? If you like weather that’s not hot, you’re in great shape. But—so it’s not hard.”
How has Kwity Paye not only improved since he came in but how far can he go as far as what you can see?
“Kwity Paye’s another one. Kwity Paye is just like Aubrey. I mean, he has just daily improved. Again, I’ll sit there and just before I’ll say something to him you’ll hear Rashan or you’ll hear Chase say ‘No, you’ve got to step this way’ or ‘You’ve got to be lower here.’ He’s the same way; he listens in meetings, he’s got great pride, he wants to be a really good football player, and so the same thing’s happening with him. Every time he takes a rep, I sit there and say this guy’s gotten better. He gets better every day and he’s gon’ be a special player.”
[After THE JUMP: maintaining rush lanes, rolling eight deep, Chase gonna Chase]
Just talk about Mo Hurst’s game last game. Haven’t seen a lineman play that well probably in a long time.
“Well, yeah, Mo had a really good ballgame. Mo’s done some really, really good things. Obviously as a senior in big games you want to play your best and he’s been practicing that way to do that. I was happy for him. He’s capable of doing that a lot this year; he’s very explosive. The thing I’m proud of him is he’s been a good leader and he’s worked very, very hard. The guys look up to him and you want guys like that to have the reward of playing like that.”
How’s Mike Dwumfour coming along?
“Mike Dwumfour’s coming along very well. He has a lot of Mo in him. He really does. They both are very quick twitch, they’re explosive, they can run. You’ll see Mike a lot more as the season goes on. He played in this last game and I feel like we’re really starting to get with the D-line like we had before with the two-deep. They’ve worked hard in practice, and the only thing you can judge by is practice. The guys are working really hard in practice. Coach Brown does a great job of rotating them in practice like we do in-game, and they’re all starting to become that two-deep group like I want them to.”
This isn’t a criticism of Rashan, but it seems like he’s maybe a quarter step slow off the snap sometimes. Is that just because he’s playing next to a guy like Maurice Hurst?
“Well, I’d question anybody who would say Rashan’s a step slow. I bet you’d like to ask the people he’s played against if he’s a step slow. I think if anything it’s because he’s being very, very unselfish and very team-oriented and he’s knowing he’s playing the run first, and when you’re playing the run there’s a lot of times you have to react as you step as a D-lineman, and that’s what he’s doing.
“We could get all our guys to just come sprinting off the football if you wanted to but I don’t think you’d be happy with the outcome of that. I’m very proud of Rashan because he continues to try to work on his technique and continues to try to do what the defense asks him to do, and great things are going to happen because of that.”
[After THE JUMP: scouting a DeBord offense, the development of Solomon and Paye, and some good stories about Winovich]
[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap is taking us game-by-game through it.]
Sept. 27, 1997: Michigan 21, Notre Dame 14, 3-0 (0-0 Big Ten)
Materials: WH video
[Sara Stillman/The Michigan Daily, via the UM Bentley Historical Library]
Game 3 for 1997 Michigan was way too tight for comfort against a team with nothing to lose. Notre Dame had not made good on Beano Cook’s promise to win two national championships and two Heismans for quaterback Ron Powlus, but they had all of that talent still.
This wasn’t Lou Holtz’s Fighting Irish anymore. Holtz had stepped down and ND promoted Defensive Coordinator Bob Davie to be the man in charge. To fill his old job, Davie called on his friend Greg Mattison, who’d coached DL in Davie’s Texas A&M defenses, to do the unthinkable: abandon Michigan for Notre Dame.
Mattison had been Jack Harbaugh’s DC at Western Michigan, with stints at Navy and Texas A&M before Gary Moeller, on Harbaugh’s advice, put Greg in line to perhaps one day be the head man at Michigan. When Mo had to go, Carr pegged Mattison, not linebackers/special teams coach, former Michigan player, and much longer-time assistant Jim Herrmann, as Carr’s replacement. Mattison had recruited half of this young defensive front, and designed the 4-3 under defense. Also consider important offensive pieces like Chris Floyd, Chris Howard, Jerame Tuman, and Mark Campbell, not to mention Steve Hutchinson, came to Michigan as defensive or two-way players. This betrayal did not go over well in Ann Arbor.
[After the JUMP: Lloyd does not bite his thumb at Mattison, sir]
“Here we go. That’s four hours out there; my knees feel really good. I feel great.”
Do you do conditioning for this?
“It’s conditioning every day we’re out there for me. But it’s going good. It’s going good.”
What do you like about the depth of your guys? Obviously not as many proven guys.
“Yeah, and that’s something we really are working on and the depth’s gonna be a real key because, as you know, we have a real belief in rotating guys. That was a big positive for us last year and really that’s why the first unit we’re very optimistic about because they played so much last year. Now we’ve got to develop another group to be able to come behind that new first group. They’re working very hard, but that’s gonna be a big key for us.”
What have you noticed out Rashan mentality-wise and intelligence-wise?
“Rashan comes out every day like he’s a senior, and he’s done that throughout the winter conditioning. You know, he came out and came off this last season and I really think it had a lot to do with Taco and Chris Wormley [and] the way they mentored him, and they set a great example for what you have to do to be successful.
“Rashan is a tremendously talented young man. He’s got great character, and he just stepped forward from the start of conditioning to right into spring practice. Every day he comes out and tries to lead by example. You would never be able to tell that the young man is going into his sophomore year. He’s having a real good spring.”
He said that he was looking forward to nitpicking himself a little bit more. He said he was hitting the film a lot harder. What have you noticed about him in that aspect?
“No question, he has. That’s why I say he acts almost like he’s a senior. A lot of times when you’re a sophomore coming off a good season as a freshman you’re kind of ‘Okay, I got it, I got it’ but he’s really critical of himself. He listens to every coaching point. I mean, when that happens, you’ve got a special, special young man.
“And he leads the other guys by that. They see him doing some really, really athletic things on the field and watch him do it and all of a sudden that’s like somebody saying this is how you do it. He’s been a very good example for everybody.”
[After THE JUMP: Kemp hype! Winovich hype! Mone hype! Carl Myers hype!]
On September 7, 2013, Ryan Glasgow stepped onto the turf at Michigan Stadium in front of 115,109 fans (and another 8.65 million watching at home) for what was undoubtedly the biggest game of his life. Six minutes and 30 seconds of game-time later, Glasgow stepped into the turf at Michigan Stadium; just a redshirt freshman playing in his second game, he was double-teamed by future first-round NFL Draft pick Zack Martin and future third-round pick Chris Watt on the second play of Notre Dame’s second drive with such brutal swiftness that one of his shoes got stuck in the turf and failed to make the six-yard journey downfield with the rest of Glasgow.
The Notre Dame game was the first in-season wake-up call for a player whose time at Michigan has been shaped by a series of well-timed conversations and self-aware redirection. “We’re watching film that Sunday, getting coached hard—I mean, just got absolutely destroyed, but I think that served a purpose,” Glasgow says. “It kind of made me realize this is college football. People will just destroy you on the other team if you’re not ready to play.”
That there have been plays for a coaching staff to critique involving Glasgow in a Michigan uniform is amazing considering the mind-bending alternative, and that has nothing to do with his status as a former walk-on or any depth issues present in the early Hoke years. That Glasgow played football at all is shocking considering his parents’ stance on the sport.
Glasgow’s parents, Drs. Steven and Michele Glasgow, decided when their children were young that they didn’t want them to play football. Hoping to steer their kids toward something less violent and aggressive, they first presented them with the opportunity to play other sports as an outlet for their energy. In second grade, though, Ryan turned the pressure up on his father.
He approached his father one day and told him that he wanted to play football. The local youth league didn’t start until kids were in fifth grade, so it came as something of a surprise that Ryan was pitching his case so early. Ryan’s father told Ryan to talk to his mother, and Ryan informed him that she said Ryan needed to talk to him. He told Ryan they stood together on the issue and would prefer he not play, and Ryan went for the ace up his sleeve. “I said, ‘Why do you want to play football?’ And this floored me, actually, and this was a manipulative thing that he said,” Ryan’s father says. “He said, ‘Dad, I want to play football because you played football.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s not going to work, Ryan.’” (Dr. Glasgow played football at Penn.) His father told Ryan that he and his brother Graham were physically gifted enough to play many other sports.
Ryan dropped his head and started walking away when his father asked if there was another reason he wanted to play. He turned, his eyes lit up, and he said, ‘Dad, I want to run into people!’ His father then asked if there were any other reasons Ryan wanted to play. He had one more reason at the ready: ‘I want to knock ‘em down, dad,’ His father burst into laughter and told him that he could play. Ryan couldn’t believe what he just heard. “I said, ‘Look, if you think the greatest thing in the world is going out there and running into people and knocking people down then yeah,’” Dr. Glasgow recalls. “‘I mean, if we’re not letting you play football then you’re just going to be doing that some other way, so at least you should be out there with coaches in an organized sport and learn how to channel it and sort of go from there,’ and that was it. That was how they got permission to play. We had really planned on not letting them play; it was a very important thing to him.”
[After THE JUMP: “They can test how fast, how high, how much you lift, but some kids, they’re just football players.”]