News bullets and other items:
Reon Dawson and Jaron Dukes are medically retiring.
Freddy Canteen and Moe Ways recently had shoulder and foot surgery, respectively. Canteen’s status with the program is in the air; Ways should be back in 3-4 months.
Speight, O’Korn, and Morris are getting more snaps than the other QBs, but they’re all still making at least one “big mistake” every practice.
Devin Bush Jr. had his best practice of the spring on Saturday.
Harbaugh responded to Gene Smith’s comments because he felt a shot was fired across Michigan’s bow and, after waiting many hours, thought he needed to do the same. Just never, ever tell him that he likes to get in twitter wars because it’s a form of competition.
Harbaugh said it doesn’t matter to him what time of day games are played; a night game or lack thereof doesn’t faze him.
What did you see out there from your group today, and what were you looking for specifically here today?
“Uh, you know, good, competitive football fight. Getting better: in a lot of areas we are and in a lot of other areas not bad and other and all areas we need to keep improving, so…the guys are grindin’.”
Did your quarterback rotation go about how you wanted, and what did you see out of those guys?
“Uh…you know, there’s—like I told them, there’s, you know…we’re looking for a quarterback to move the team and not make the big mistake. They’re all in the mode of a big mistake a day, so we’re not—we’re just gonna keep plugging away and keep getting better, keep giving them things they can improve on, things they can take and use. Looking forward to the game setting. Maybe that’ll be another good test, but they’re getting a lot of tests right now. Strides are being made, but we’ve still got a long row to hoe.”
What does it do for your fans and for your team to come out here in this setting at Ford Field and open it up?
“I think it’s great in the way of sometimes spring practice can get monotonous. Some would even say boring. There’s no game that comes at the end of the week. It’s something different. Something to make it livelier, special—that’s what we get out of it. To have people in the stands, always felt that makes it better. Even the cameras, even the TV cameras—even if they didn’t have film in them, you know?”
They don’t anymore.
“Touché. So even if you had a camera that wasn’t actually recording anything guys would work hard. Guys would enjoy it more. People are watching, so that’s a good thing for us.”
With the quarterbacks, are you still repping them evenly or are you changing that up some?
“I’d say there’s Wilton [Speight], John [O’Korn], Shane [Morris] getting more. It’s not dead even anymore, no.”
Would it be Wilton, John, Shane in that order?
“I can’t even make an order right now. It’s to be determined still. It means a lot to all of them. You can tell in the way they play and just continuing to be able to play loose and play smart and continue to get repetitions. Continue to get looks and learn—that’s what they need to see right now. Looking forward to some game-like action. We’re going to make it game-like in the spring game. Everything’s going to be real tackle football live; the quarterbacks, everybody. There’ll be live bullets for them, so that’ll be a nice, good-size task for us. Looking forward to seeing how that plays out.”
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Even though you said there’s a long ways to go, from the untrained eye it looks like a bigger team, maybe a faster team. Do you think you have in the [last] year acquired more of the type of talent you like?
“I think we’re a better team than we were last year at this time, and whether that means that you’re going to win more games isn’t always…doesn’t always happen. So just as a football team, we have a long row to hoe, a long way to go. It’s a process and we’re in it and it’s moving along.”
Where do you think your team is better?
“Uh, in a lot of areas. I think it’s a better athletic team. I think there’s really good awareness, which a lot of times lets that athletic ability come out. I think we’re a more competitive team—all the things I think are the most important things.”
Do you see Wheatley [Jr.] making a lot of 70-yard plays like that during practice or is that an exception?
“Uh, that was a heck of a play by both him and Brandon [Peters]. It was good to see him make a play and good to see Ty do that, you know? It was a nice finish on the play as well.”
Another guy we saw make a couple plays is Ahmir Mitchell. Has he been fast to pick things up than maybe you would have expected?
“He’s doing a good job. Yeah, I mean, that’s…young guy. Young guys, it goes back to that how aware are they? How much do they know? And the more they know the more you can bring out their athletic ability. So, he’s doing a good job. He’s doing just fine.”
Have the early enrollees been doing pretty well as a whole?
“Yeah, they’ve been doing fine. Devin Bush [Jr.], thought he had one of his best practices of the spring today.”
You said the quarterbacks, each is making a mistake a day--
“A big one. A big one. A big one.”
Is that typical of this time of year? Are you disappointed someone hasn’t separated at this stage?
“It’s, uh…it’s a process. I like that word because it really fits what we’re doing here, and continuing to do what helps a football player and that’s repetition. You get better at football and putting them in more situations that you can put them in, whether it’s third down, goal line, short yardage, red zone, two minute, all those things. Repetition: it’s part of the process.”
Are Freddy Canteen and Jaron Dukes still with you guys?
“Uh…Freddy underwent surgery the other day on his shoulder, and Jaron is going to medically retire.”
We didn’t see Moe Ways or Reon Dawson. Are they--
“Yeah, Moe had a…caught a touchdown pass and a freak thing happened, fell on his foot and looks like he’s gonna—he had surgery for the fifth metacarpal in his foot. Probably be out 3-4 months.”
And Reon Dawson? Is he still here?
“He’s gonna pursue the medical retirement as well.”
And then you said with Freddy, is Freddy just out for a while or is he still with the team?
“He’s, uh…I haven’t gotten the results back on his surgery, so I can get back to you on that.”
But he’s still a member of your program?
“I’ll get back to you on that.”
I don’t think we’ve ever asked you, but--
“When I have more information.”
What is your twitter philosophy because we watch and see things get stirred up periodically and just curious what your philosophy is with that? If you have a philosophy, that is.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t say that I do. No philosophy comes to mind.”
Just what thoughts come to mind?
“You want to know what happened with the latest one?”
“Okay. I felt like one got shot over our bow. It wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction; waited a good eight, nine hours and figured that they might consider that it could be construed a certain way toward our program, and actually some of the scribes and pundits were construing it that way, so when no explanation came, thought it was time to fire one over their bow. I consider things even right now.”
And the outcome, the athletic directors talking to each other and everything, were you involved in that conversation with Warde Manuel?
“Yeah, Warde and I talked and, uh…brief conversation. We saw it exactly the same way.”
You enjoy that, don’t you? That’s competition once again, on the field or off the field?
“I wouldn’t say that, no. I wouldn’t put it in the ‘competition’ category. At all.”
You’re pretty good at it.
“Wouldn’t put it in that category. That’s an all-important category that you’re making a huge leap to put it into and I wouldn’t. Those were your words, not mine.”
Did you hear his comments on video or did you hear the audio and I don’t know if you heard it but did you think it was less of an attack?
“I think I thoroughly have explained what the thought process was. I consider that ground to be thoroughly plowed at this point and we’re moving on.”
Going back to the younger players [like] Kareem Walker and Devin Bush, is there a guy who has particularly impressed you?
“Uh, yeah, they all have.We just talked about them. I think Ahmir’s doing a fine job; Kareem’s coming along; Devin Bush, thought he had his best practice today; Sean McKeon’s had some real good growth; Carlo Kemp looks like he’s—he was playing linebacker at the beginning [but] he’s been doing a better job and I think it’s a better fit for him at the End position. It’s been productive. Those guys are doing just fine.”
Last year you guys experimented a lot with moving guys around to different places and kind of said you can almost try out for what spot you want. Are you guys still doing that this spring or are people more set in the places you want them?
“I mean, yeah, that takes place. It’s part of the process.”
Gentry looked a lot more smooth at tight end today than when we saw him in Florida. Have you seen some serious growth from him over the last month?
“Yeah, I really have. You see it so many times with young players that the more aware they become, the more they understand what their assignment is and they grow in understanding their technique and learning the position, then their athletic ability can come out so much more and that’s taken place with him. He’s doing a fine job. Really means a lot to him, so…he’s competing like the dickens. Doing good.”
Do you like what you have on the offensive and defensive lines? From a distance it looks like a lot of big guys, a lot of talent and experience on both sides. Do you like what you have there?
“Yeah, yeah, we do. Feel like we’re real experienced in the lines and good at those positions and we’ve got some good guys coming in, too. More good guys that are coming in in this freshman class, so I think that’s a positive for our team.”
Do you have a preference on night games? Obviously Warde said no night game this fall at Michigan Stadium. Would you prefer not to play them?
“No. I was asked that opinion and it doesn’t matter to me.”
It’s a P2 card nowadays [re: the TV cameras not having film].
“Thank you. I don’t know what that means.”